San Francisco/NorCal Commuter Rail, Crayon Edition

sf bart mk 2

Better late blech.

This one was like pulling teeth, thanks primarily to a laptop and vector graphics editor that just did not want to behave, and the slow and horrifying realization that this thing wants to suggest a world beyond itself and I would therefore have to sketch several more maps to get this thing to look the way I wanted. Some of those might be fleshed out later.

Resources: this BART expansion map, the 1924 Rand McNally maps of California, the 1921 Official Guide to the Railways, this Marin County interurban map and 1937 Bay Area map from the Greater Marin, these Central Valley interurban maps, these 1932 Bay Area streetcar maps, this Peninsular Railway map and service outline, and quite a few local railway historical society websites.


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California Regional Rail Sketch

california regional

The kids love that circuitboard aesthetic.

This is a sketch of a regional rail system for the state of California. I don’t ever expect to fully flesh it out or make it pretty so I might as well post it here as is.

I drew this for one and only one reason: I’m working on a crayon map of the SF Bay Area that’s spiraled out of control, so now it doesn’t cover just SF, but also Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Yuba City-Marysville, Stockton, Modesto, and Merced. And now, since the shown area is so big and covers metropolitan areas, I figured I’d draw a separate map showing all the different regional/intercity services. Furthermore, in the fantasyland the network depicted exists in, there’s a hierarchy to the different services not unlike what’s in (say) Germany, where you have an S-Bahn for local services in a given metropolitan area, and a statewide regional network serving places further afield. And I had no idea what exactly the regional network looked like, so I had to draw the whole thing to make sense of it.

Sources: the Rand McNally 1924 maps of Northern & Southern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona, and this 2013 Census Bureau map of metropolitan/micropolitan area boundaries.

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BART Fare Map

bart fare map

It’s three in the morning and I can’t sleep, so I drew this. Partially because BART could use one of these, as its fare structure is distance-based and not zone-based, and partially because depicting the BART lines as fanning out from San Francisco says more about the nature of the network than the X-shape we’re used to.

I’m very tired.

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Chukyo Rail Map

nagoya rail map


This is way overdue.

Mostly finished last summer, then put to the side until Meitetsu rolled out a station numbering plan, which you and I both know was only a matter of time. They finally did last week, which means I could actually complete the blasted thing properly.

Mostly useful as a refinement of and dry run for the design language I want to use for the Tokyo map, once I get around to it. Also to my knowledge only one other English map of the entire Chukyo railway network exists, for whatever that’s worth.

(In one of my less sane moments I realized I could easily stitch all these maps together to make one giant map of Japan’s entire railway network, but such a map would face almost Borgesian usability challenges. A map of all the country’s limited express trains would probably make more sense.)

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Xrail Strip Map

xrail elizabeth line

Why are we calling it the Elizabeth Line. Why why why why why why bloody why.


Not in the right frame of mind to work on Big Maps right now, so here’s a strip map of Crossrail. Yes, it’s got fare zones. Light yellow & light orange (Paris colors) work a heckuva lot better than white & light gray (London colors); more soothing and less jarring. I’m not dignifying Zone 2/3 with its own special color if it’s only got one station in it; placing Stratford on the border gets the message across well enough.

I still maintain they should assign letters to each tube line and numbers for each Overground line. (Tradition schmadition. Some traditions are stupid. Also when they started assigning letters for each line in the Tokyo Metro no one started calling the Ginza Line “Line G.”) Elizabeth line, barf, is Line 1; Xrail 2 is Line 2 (literally the only reason we’re starting with Xrail); Thameslink is Line 3; Overground starts with 4 and goes up, ‘cept for the Romford-Upminster Line, it’s a glorified shuttle slash branch line, it gets to be Line 1a. Great for colorblind users, great for deciphering that giant orange mess, and more and more of an imperative as Tee Eff Ell swallows more and more suburban rail lines. Also, if I spelled out the names of every tube line the type would be very small indeed.

Just assume every station has street-to-train step-free access. Updated & included proper step-free access info. Sources are here and here, and are contradictory.

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Taipei Metro & a Few Other Things

taipei metro with station numbering

Whoo boy check out them rivers.

This map only exists because I was annoyed by something. The Taipei Metro will roll out a station numbering system next year. This wouldn’t be a problem except (a) I don’t like that the lines are labeled according to color instead of number (so Daan Park, f’rinstance, is R06 instead of 206), (b) you’d think they’d have learned to account for future line extensions from the last time they tried this (BL1 isn’t the terminal station on Line 5; the next station is BL40), and (c) they’ve been really lousy about infill stations and such (the next station on the hopefully soon-to-open airport line after the one labeled A2 isn’t A3, but A2a, then A3, and this is before the system’s had a chance to embed itself in the public consciousness).

So here we are, an attempt to fix the present situation that, as tends to happen, went out of hand once I started accounting for future extensions and so forth. The way the lines converge around Taoyuan Station would probably suck for color-blind users. I would have included the TRA line right there on the map but the Sanying Line got distorted pretty bad and it would have done some serious weaving. I was considering redrawing the Taoyuan portion of the map entirely but I then had problems getting everything to line up properly. As a mea culpa, here’s a bonus rough draft of some signage.

taipei metro signage

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Wellington Metro, Again

wellington metro

Once more, with polish.

It’s that Wellington Metro map I drew when my computer was in the shop back in late December, as rendered on Inkscape. This’d be for like a small tourist brochure or something, the back half of which would be a combination of ad space and nearby attraction information (museums, stadiums, unis, parks, beaches, the Beehive, Weta, &c.).

More fun with icons and station numbers. I’m also really starting to like Myriad as a transit map font. It’s very friendly in a professional sort of way.

Normally I try to avoid placing station labels at an angle, but it’s the cable car, I think I’m at least somewhat justified.

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