What IS an "Underground" Train Service?
Thursday, 7 January 2021
Triumph : Thameslink "Tube" Transformed (3)
Under the ground? Urban? Busy? Multiple track? Complex Stations ans Interchanges? Above all, frequent "turn up and go" services?
The above picture shows a Northern Line train on Dollis Hill Viaduct on the single track branch from Finchley Central to Mill Hill East ...
... an almost rural terminus.
There are good, historic reasons why it is like it is, but it really does not fit with the London Underground station (or line?) stereotype.
Even the great Metropolitan line service gets a bit thin and weedy at the edges.
Chesham every 30 minutes.
Watford every 15 minutes ...
So, does it matter that bits of the Thameslink network now included on the Underground map are no more frequent than every 30 minutes?
Here is the Sutton loop, part of the original Thameslink service pattern.click on ANY of the maps for a larger view)
It does call at all stops.
But would you want to use Thameslink to get to Sutton from Central London? You might, if your were starting at St Pancras ...
The "problem" is as old as the Underground itself. How would an unaware visitor think of getting from Waterloo to Wimbledon, for example?
Whatever, 'tis a complex and tedious journey with much interchange stress and potential for ghastly errors. Much simpler is to catch a South Western Railway train from the main line platforms at Waterloo and it will take you approx 15 minutes.
But the frequent local service South West from Waterloo does not appear on the Underground map although it is far more frequent than any of the Thameslink lines.
So, is the answer to make more use of the all-systems London map - all National Rail lines colour coded according to London terminus?
You can either be comprehensive or comprehensible but never both!
There is just too much information. As a record of what is available, it is a triumph of the cartographer's skill - maybe not at Watford ...
Harry Beck's masterpiece Underground diagram has now been compromised by clutter; and the combined map suffers from the same problem in spades. Is there any way of making things simple for the non-expert user?
Next Undergrpound map blog : Friday 8th January