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Submitted by Philip, who says:
I’ve designed this schematic map of what Victoria’s passenger rail network looked like in 1928. It was absolutely huge, with 114 lines and 1,185 stations.
The map is built around the seven main lines (thicker 15pt lines) with branch and other lines thinning out (10pt) to create a basic visual heirarchy. This emphasises services rather than infrastructure, as it also shows where passengers were required to interchange.
Line groups are in one of six colours according to the main line to which its timetable was aligned. For example, the Clarkfield – Lancefield Line is shown in the colour of the Bendigo Line because passengers wishing to travel on this service would take a Bendigo train to Clarkfield and change to another train bound for Lancefield. The timetables of both lines were harmonised so that waiting times were minimised.
The only exception to these rules is the Overland or ‘Adelaide Express’ as it was previously known. This is the single brown line that extends west along the Serviceton Line from Flinders Street Station. The reason for showing this separately is that it had a different stopping pattern specific to this service, and was designated as a separate line by VR (unlike the other interstate trains to Albury, Mount Gambier and Pinaroo).
It’s worth noting that despite the comprehensive scale of the network, many of these lines only had a couple of trains per week or were part of goods trains. The timetables of the period show how low the service levels were for most of these areas.
Transit Maps says:
Now this is the kind of epic historical mapping project that I can get behind! Philip’s done a great job of clearly and concisely showing this sprawling network – the decision to use just a few colours to denote the main trunk lines and their branch lines works spectacularly well, stopping the map from looking too crazy or multi-coloured. I also really like the light grey suburban lines sitting below the main route lines, providing valuable context without being too overpowering or distracting.
I’d perhaps like to see the labelling a little bigger: my own experience tells me that on massive maps like this it’s important to get type as large as you can, especially if you’re selling prints! I’d also be interested in seeing a version with coastline and the border with New South Wales, as quite a few stations (while nominally “Victorian”) are north of that boundary, and just one station – Pinnaroo – in South Australia. Showing borders could help hold the composition of the map together and provide some geographical context, but the schematic distortion may also be too great to allow this to be done convincingly.
There’s also a few minor errors here and there – the end of the suburban line at Hurstbridge extends past the terminus station dot; and the 90-degree curves between Murtoa and Jung aren’t nested properly, to name two that quickly stood out to me.
Head on over to Philip’s blog for more detail on the making of the map – a really interesting read.
This article first appeared on www.transitmap.net
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