Sydney maps: real and fictional

Posted: February 12, 2014 in Transport
Tags: ,

Maps have the power to shape the way we look at places. The London Underground map famously took on its iconic form that resembled an electrical circuit in the 1930s. It did away with a geographically accurate representation, opting instead for one with more evenly spaced stations and lines that all ran horizontally, vertically, or at 45 degree angles.

It isn’t the only option for a non-geographically accurate map. Max Roberts created maps in different styles for a number of different cities, large print copies of which are available for purchase from his website. A circular map for Sydney’s Cityrail network was one of them. It places Central Station in the middle and then has all lines radiating outwards. Though some design choices were made for asthetic rather than informative reasons, it also does show where Sydney has orbital lines, which connect outer parts of Sydney to each other rather than directly to Central. The Cumberland Line joining Blacktown to Liverpool, the Northern Line joining Hornsby to Strathfield, the Carlingford Line joining Clyde to Carlingford, and the Bankstown Link joining Lidcombe to Bankstown are all orbital lines. With an actual map that has most lines running horizontally (East-West) away from Central, these lines are ordinarily shown vertically (North-South).

Click to enlarge. (Source: Tube Map Central)

Click to enlarge. (Source: Tube Map Central)

More recently, the creation of Sydney Trains to replace Cityrail has meant a new rail map for metropolitan Sydney. The new Sydney Trains map lacks much of the detail of the previous Cityrail map, such as locations of transport interchanges, accessible stations, park and ride facilities, etc, opting to go for a more streamlined map. Even putting aside the decision for how much information to convey, this new map suffers from a number of shortcomings, demonstrated by a “fixed” version of this map posted on the Transit Maps blog.

But what about opting for something in the opposite direction? The following map, created by Bernie Ng, shows what the Sydney public transport network may look like by 2020. The North West and South West Rail Links are shown as completed (though the NWRL is shown as connecting up to the Sydney Trains network, rather than operating as an independent shuttle as is planned), along with both the extension of the existing Inner West Light Rail to Dulwich Hill and completion of the CBD and South East Light Rail. In addition, major bus routes, such as metrobuses and the 2 T-Ways radiating out from Parramatta are also displayed.

The rail network shows not only all the different lines that formed part of the old Cityrail network, but shows separate lines for different stopping patterns. The Illawarra Line out to Cronulla, for example, shows 2 lines, one for all stop services and another for express services. This is possible following the revised 2013 timetable, with its harmonised stopping patterns. It also uses a clockface icon to denote any stations with frequent all day services, and also whether this is 7 days a week or just on weekdays. The other major change is the creation of a “Destination Wheel”, with letters instead of numbers for all the different lines.

This map shows the Sydney network as proposed for 2020, with new rail lines in the outer suburbs and new light rail in the inner city. It also displays major bus routes. Click to enlarge. (Source: Bernie Ng.)

This map shows the Sydney network as proposed for 2020, with new rail lines in the outer suburbs and new light rail in the inner city. It also displays major bus routes. Click to enlarge. (Source: Bernie Ng.)

Some maps take the existing layout and leave it unchanged, merely altering the labelling. The Icy Trail map does exactly this, Icy Trail being an anagram of City Rail. Every label on the map, from station names, to line descriptions, to usage instructions, are anagrams. This leads to some very interesting place names like Inverse Acquarium City (Macquarie University), Scream Qualified (Macquarie Fields), Thy Nerdy Son (North Sydney), and Civic (Civic).

Click to enlarge. (Source: CharonX)

Click to enlarge. (Source: CharonX)

The labels on a map can even be changed to match those of a different map. For example, the following map takes the map of Metro Trains in Melbourne and replaces the labels with ones more familiar to a Sydney audience. Here, the station close to the MCG, home of the Melbourne Olympic Games, has been renamed “1956 Olympic Park”, while the City Loop is now called “City Circle”. Even the arrow meant to indicate the Northern orientation has been changed to point towards “Sydney” instead. There are many other examples in here, many of which only someone familiar with both the Sydney and Melbourne rail networks would notice.

Melbourne for Sydney train users. Click to enlarge. (Source: Author withheld)

Melbourne for Sydney train users. Click to enlarge. (Source: Author withheld)

And though completely unrelated to rail maps, the following set of maps, first published as the front page of the UNSW student newspaper Tharunka back in 2011, shows show people from different parts of Sydney view people in the rest of Sydney.

Sydney from the perspective of different parts of Sydney. Front cover of Tharunka, the UNSW student newspaper. Click to enlarge. (Source: Unknown)

Sydney from the perspective of different parts of Sydney. Front cover of Tharunka, the UNSW student newspaper. Click to enlarge. (Source: Tharunka)

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Comments
  1. TandemTrainRider says:

    Gotta say I *love* the last one, especially the depcition of “The Shire”. Having lived there for 15 years I think that’s exactly right: residents see themselves as personifying “real” Australia, everyone else sees them as Bogans. Everyone probably right too!

  2. michblogs says:

    Ya left out Cowan.

  3. yetihunter84 says:

    Having lived in Sydney for a year, “Melbourne for Sydney train users” is amusingly close to the truth.

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