This year marks the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, the oldest subterranean railway in the world. A major exhibition at the London Transport Museum opens this week, celebrating one of the most distinctive elements of the Tube – design. The multicoloured lines on the iconic map make order out of chaos, and also provide inspiration for artists and scientists alike. Here are some of our favourite re-imaginings.
The Real-time Tube Map
This fascinating map plots the live location of each train on the Tube network, using departure data from Transport for London. Matthew Somerville created it in 2010 at a ‘hack’ weekend – a gathering of designers and web developers who create projects from scratch over several days.
The History of Music Tube Map
Pop, rock, punk and funk are all there on this brilliant Music on the Tube map, which charts 100 years of popular music thanks to the efforts of the folks on the Guardian’s Culture Vulture blog. Each station is an artiste, and it’s fun to see where Michael Jackson intersects with Basement Jaxx and Bob Dylan links up with The Rolling Stones.
The Geographically Accurate Tube Map
Have you noticed that stations on the London Underground’s map can appear to be in different parts of the capital, yet are minutes away by foot? The map is designed to be easily read and understood, but this geographically accurate version from Project Mapping reveals the true locations of the stops, relative to each other.
The Electric Tube Map
The recently-completed Overground network (the orange line on the map) can take you in a complete ring around the city, albeit with several changes in between. Taking this as artistic inspiration, The Electric Tube uses concentric circles for the orbital sections of the Circle Line and Overground network and straight lines for the Central and Piccadilly Lines. It accurately shows where each train line connects, and uses a sine wave for the Northern Line’s Bank branch which crosses the Circle Line no fewer than three times. The map was the brainchild of Oliver O’Brien from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London.
The Bikes on the Tube Map
Bicycles are only permitted on certain parts of the Tube (mainly lines outside of the centre, such as the Circle and District lines) and at certain times (outside of rush hours). This handy map from Transport for London points them out, as well as detailing the lines on which carrying a fold-up bike is allowed while a regular bike is not. An invaluable resource for cyclists wanting to take the Underground to speed up part of a journey.