Five Cool London Tube Maps

The London Underground is the oldest subterranean railway in the world; it celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. The multicoloured lines on the iconic Tube 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 map key from a 1908 Tube map. Photo: TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

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.

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  1. Mary Lou says:

    I loved using the Tube as transport throughout London on our vacation there. I also loved walking thru the city. I am usually not fond of mass transit but did well using the Tube. Buses were easy but ground transportation was very congested.
    Even if we had to wait for a 2nd train, they run so close together that it did not delay us that much.

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