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Network outline

October 2008

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The map is the brand

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A rail network map isn't just about how to get from A to B. A rail network map is about the identity of the business or organisation running services on those lines. It's what makes one operator distinct from more>

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First Scotrail offers two maps for the price of one

So London is an fried egg...

TOC map:
December 2008

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The new UK rail network maps established an oval as a shape that portrayed central London. This was also the conclusion in the design of the new London Overground map below. When the underlying structure in the map and the central London oval were lifted, there in the middle is a fried egg. Unlikely though that Paris will be a frogs leg...

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This map which appears in Scotrail timetables is two different maps joined together.

On the left, the Strathclyde map is single-colour and shown as a network. On the right, the Edinburgh services are identified as services and shown as colour-coded multiple lines. On the left, line-coloured ticks are used for stations and black circles for interchange stations. On the right there's a mixture of line-coloured ticks and dark blue strike-throughs.

The map has also been stretched vertically causing bad distortion.

The Scotrail slogan is 'making your journey easier'.

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Shows Train Operating Company and Open Access Operator routes as at the December 2008 timetable change.

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Goodbye to multiple languages

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I don't know anyone who thinks that having two or more languages on signs and documents makes communication easier. Political correctness has gone too far in Wales where welsh and english language place names are often so similar that signs are almost patronising.

Welsh rail maps are usually multi-lingual, but they only cover Wales. What about the rest of Britain? Why not have a map for each language? So here's a Welsh version of the Passenger rail network diagram 'Cynllun rhwydwaith rheilffyrdd'. It gives a fascinating new view of how we look at, and perceive, Britain.

There's also a Welsh only version of the Valleys network map. More>

Translations and support gratefully received from Phil Wilks, Kieran Joglekar, Geraint Rowlands and many others.

Putting the M in Manchester

The massive letter Ms that announce the entrance to the city centre on roundabouts and road sides form the centrepiece of Projects new Manchester rail map.

In the hunt for what makes a map special, the answer was this truncated diamond which echoes the major thoroughfares.

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The map is the brand

A rail network map isn't just about how to get from A to B. A rail network map is about the identity of the business or organisation running services on those lines. It's what makes one operator distinct from another, it's what gives different systems their individual identity.

We can pontificate that the brand is about values, visions, focus and relationships. But on the street it boils down to issues like punctuality, cleanliness, value and comfort. And all of those values could apply to any provider of transport services. Corporate branding as realised in symbols, logos and colour schemes may provide identity and recognition - but ultimately is it just wallpaper?

Only the map can ever present the individuality of the brand in a graphic form and so should be promoted positively as a major component in the corporate identity. So customers and staff alike can rally around it.

For train operating companies and other organisations the route is everything. It is the element that needs thought and time and craft to fashion into a true icon.

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