Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

All the colours of the rainbow

Posted in Commuter, Customer service, London, Metro by Chairman Pip on 26 December 2010

There was a letter in the new issue of Modern Railways that gave me pause for thought. It went into the current version of the tube map that features the full current London Overground network, which is displayed on the map by a double orange line. The author of the letter makes the following point about the Overground:

Now that Transport for London has an Overground as well as an Underground, it bears a remarkable similarity to many German cities with their S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks accessible using the same tickets. However, whereas the S-Bahn networks have clearly identifible (numbered) routes and services, the Overground is just presented as one great set of orange lines on all published route maps.

This is valid, especially as the Overground network will expand further next year when the South London Line is should the incorporated to form the Orbital route. But, there are five lines in the network, so should they all be lumped together like that, or should they all be assigned their own distinctive branding, as the lines of the Underground are? It would certainly make it easier for people using the system to ensure they are using the correct part. Given that Crossrail is to form part of the TfL network, as its operation will be franchised by London Rail as an operating concession similar to the existing Overground deal, perhaps we should start thinking about this and the Overground together like an S-Bahn, or even the RER, and have the map altered to reflect this.

The proposed TfL map for 2025, featuring a large number of in progress, planned, proposed and cancelled projects. Should the planned heavy rail lines be separated individually by colour in the same way as the tube lines?

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