The Crossrail Roundel

“When they see the Roundel people expect quality. We thought hard about putting it on the Overground. We’ll think hard about where it goes in future.”

– Sir Peter Hendy, London Transport Commissioner

For some time now we’ve known, roughly, what Crossrail’s stations will look like on the inside, thanks to a visit to their mockup station back in 2011. One key design question has, however, remained – will Crossrail get a roundel?

The image at the top of this article represents the answer. It will, and it will be purple, with a blue bar. Crossrail will also use TfL New Johnston as its primary typeface.

Beyond Branding

This may seem like a rather inconsequential or frivolous topic for a post. One for those particularly interested in the minutiae of railway branding, but in truth the fact that Crossrail is to be fully integrated into the TfL family is actually worth highlighting. For as Crossrail’s TBMs tunnel beneath London, and its stations begin to take shape (more on both of those shortly) it is easy to forget that there are still some important questions that remain to be answered politically and strategically about the line.

The funding question may have dominated the discourse whilst the line pushed for approval, but it mustn’t be forgotten that Crossrail will also push well beyond London’s borders. In doing so, it will take TfL – and more importantly their authority and systems – with it. At a time when TfL and the DfT have yet to agree on what role London’s transport authority will have with regards to franchising, that’s potentially a very hot political potato.

TfL currently intend to run Crossrail on the concession model that they have used so successfully for the Overground, and Overground COO Howard Smith’s move to Crossrail further highlights the operational similarities the two networks are expected to have. The use – and success – of that model has contrasted greatly with the approach that the DfT have taken to franchising, and as TfL push for further control over franchises such as South Eastern the boundaries (and differences) between DfT and TfL services are likely to be subject to increasing attention.

Debate over the subject of electronic ticketing seems also likely to re-emerge in the coming months. Here again, the difference between the relative success of TfL with Oyster, and the DfT’s near-stillborn ITSO protocol, is likely to be highlighted. The DfT have so far proved reluctant to allow Oyster to spread much further beyond its current borders, and indeed last year actively blocked a deal between Abellio and TfL to extend it as far as Hertford East. FCC’s desire to extend Oyster as far as Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City was also rebuffed. Crossrail was always likely to get the Oyster protocol, regardless of the DfT’s preferences, but the fact that it will be a full member of the TfL family effectively guarantees it – and if it’s good enough for Crossrail, the question will be asked, surely it’s good enough for other Franchises as well?

Making A Statement

The quote at the head of this article is taken from our series of posts on the future of the London Overground back in 2011. Sir Peter was talking about the careful thought that TfL put into how they should brand the Overground, having taken over the rundown franchise from Silverlink. It is as true now as it was then – when it comes to branding their services, TfL don’t do things without forethought. With Crossrail that’s doubly true, for all the reasons highlighted above.

This is thus more than just a roundel, because it tells us that Crossrail will not be a railway that just happens to be run by TfL, it will be a fully-fledged member of the TfL family. That suggests that there are some interesting times (and debates) ahead in the world of suburban services not just on the subject of Crossrail, but also beyond.

jump to the end
There are 290 comments on this article
  1. Steven Taylor says:

    Although subjective, I like the new Roundel. Although the colours do merge somewhat.

    It could be a useful safety feature, if you had too much to drink for example, the colours would merge warning you to take care.

  2. Anon5 says:

    Thank goodness. I loathe the existing Crossrail logo. Glad to see the roundel take precedence. I think the shade is different enough from Dial A Ride’s roundel, although it often amuses me how similar Overground is to Coaches especially on directional signs at Victoria tube station.

    As for the news that TfL is looking for a company to run the Crossrail concession are we to assume the Crossrail name won’t be applied to the initial Shenfield – Liverpool St services to give TfL time to bring those stations up to scratch? I assume a shadow name will be used much as SouthCentral was used before Southern felt confident enough in the 377s to launch the real brand.

  3. StephenC says:

    Good to see the roundel, but does this imply that the “Crossrail” name is staying? I’ve always hoped that it ws a construction name, as its really not that good as a name. I’d much prefer something ending with “Link” to match with Thameslink (and no, not Crosslink!)

    I also agree with a Twitter comment I saw, which suggested Romford to Upminster would make sense to be a part of the same concession (but isn’t in the published docs).

  4. John Bull says:

    I’m actually surprised that that its two-colour, but TfL have confirmed that this is the “official” design as things stand.

  5. Anon5 says:

    I think because of the 20+ year wait Crossrail has become so embedded in Londoner’s psyche that, failing a major disaster, it won’t change. It’s simple enough to say and remember and does run across the tube map. It does however put paid to TfL’s “London” prefix that saw Croydon Tramlink rebranded London Tram and then London Tramlink I think.

    Will the roundel appear on all stations from Maidenhead to Shenfieid/Abbey Wood or do some remain in the hands of existing/future franchises much like how Overground runs and brands Penge West but only calls at Southern-branded Peckham Rye?

  6. Anon5 says:

    John I thought all logos had to be two colour other than corporate TfL, buses (because of history) and I guess anyone sponsorship partners who insist on changing the guidelines to suit their specifications.

  7. Rich Thomas says:

    I’m actually surprised that that its two-colour, but TfL have confirmed that this is the “official” design as things stand.

    Isn’t Buses the only single-colour modal logo (all-red)? They all otherwise have a Corporate Blue bar don’t they?

  8. MIlton Clevedon says:

    One inaccuracy in the article: While Abellio might aspire to secure the Thameslink franchise via Hertford North, it has (so far) been blocked by DfT on having Oyster north of Broxbourne to Hertford EAST in Greater Anglia-land.

    Separately, FCC has been blocked on Oyster to Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City, although First Group supported extension of Oyster.

    Why is DfT so reluctant, when ‘Oysterisation’ appears to stimulate strongly positive passenger responses to a more accessible rail system? Is it loss of revenue control to TfL? Yet each Oyster extension also allows each TOC to participate in potentially higher footfall and revenue volume.

    (Also see Roger Ford’s astringent comments in recent Modern Railways, on DfT’s blocking of the Oyster scheme to WGC where he is a local resident…)

  9. Walthamstow Writer says:

    And I see that alongside the roundel announcement that the procurement process for the concession has started. The most interesting bit for me is the proposed, but not confirmed, sequence of service build up. The Phases are

    Liv St – Shenfield in May 2015 then

    Heathrow to Paddington (mainline platforms) – May 2018 (when the Crossrail concession takes over the Heathrow Connect service)
    Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Abbey Wood – December 2018
    Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Shenfield – May 2019
    Full through service (including services to Maidenhead) – December 2019

    I assume the above methodology is deemed to be least risky in the context of getting the various signalling technologies to talk to one another at the eastern and western “boundaries” between tunnels and existing routes.

    Not quite sure I agree about the ticketing thing. ITSO is clearly on its way courtesy of Southern Railway including a new PAYG facility that will be linked to a bank account / credit card and charges calculated off line in a back office. This is, of course, the direction that TfL are headed in as well. The TfL ticketing infrastructure will be fully able to read ITSO spec smartcards later this year and will accept those cards which hold valid “product identities”. Assuming Southern get their new PAYG to work reliably I would expect an earlyish stage to be acceptance of Southern’s PAYG Key product on the TfL network. I suspect this might appear as a “feature” of the 2014 Fares Revision alongside the introduction of Contactless Bank Cards (CBCs) on TfL’s rail modes and NR within Greater London (plus appendages) and daily capping on CBCs.

    We have to wait for 2015/16 to see what delights the South East Flexible Ticketing Project (SEFT) delivers. We can rest assured that Crossrail will have to cope with all of these initiatives. It remains to be seen if Oyster reaches Heathrow and Maidenhead or whether CBCs / ITSO / SEFT rule the roost.

  10. Brock says:

    So presumably TfL rather than National Rail PAYG fares between Stratford and Shenfield. TfL fares already apply between Paddington and West Drayton – will they be extended to Maidenhead? And what about Heathrow?

  11. John Bull says:

    You’re absolutely right Milton – I was conflating my Hertfords. I’ve tweaked the article. As to the dual colour – I’ve just had a suspicion it would be single colour ever since I first started hearing rumours it would be purple. Wasn’t sure that purple + blue bar would work.

    Yes, the context for this was, of course, the Concession announcement.

    @Walthamstow Writer: I don’t deny that we will see ITSO – its “too big to fail” now if nothing else. I just think that there’s more to that battle than technology – its going to be about fare structure and ticketing as well.

  12. mr_jrt says:

    It is a tricky one, isn’t it?

    Overground is now synonymous with all-stations slow intra-London metro services, which Crossrail is certainly not. Had they chosen a more generic brand for Crossrail then it could have come in handy for the South Eastern suburban services that are going to have to operate semi-fast a-la Crossrail to placate the existing punters of Kent, and I suppose it could have perhaps also been useful for a rebranding of Thameslink’s inner suburban and metro services.

  13. Paul @bitoclass says:

    Purple has long been on the cards, but it’s good to see it come to fruition.

    I think it works quite well with the corporate blue, although I agree they are quite similar. Hope it means purple trains etc too 🙂

  14. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Milton – I think the DfT view is a simple one about Oyster. Oyster is proprietary and ITSO is an “open” spec allowing more competition in equipment and system design. Way back when I was involved with Prestige the TOCs were terrified at the prospect of a technology and supplier lock in which is perfectly understandable. TfL now seem to be of the same view hence the termination of the Presitge PFI and vast investment in Future Ticketing to get out of Oyster and move to contactless bank cards. DfT are simply following a “commercial competition” line and will argue that they are protecting the taxpayer’s purse long term. I don’t believe TfL will be spending money to improve Oyster in the future.

    Oyster may well work but it is not designed to take over the world. I believe it has a limit of 16 zones within its design so the extent of “out of London zones” (actually pricing points) is very limited given it has to cope with Watford, two bits of Greater Anglia and a bit of C2C. Under rail devolution it will have to cope with Dartford and Sevenoaks too. TfL do not price the bits of Greater Anglia where Oyster has recently reached. Ironically Greater Anglia don’t price Hertford East either as FCC price “Hertford Stations”. It is this which blocked Oyster to Hertford East. Given the way NR pricing works with “priced stations” I can’t believe we will see a large drop in fares by the adoption of a TfL pricing structure to places like Shenfield or Maidenhead. I believe London Midland continue to price Watford Junction because it is used for fares to many other places along the WCML. Therefore adopting the TfL fare scale would have a big impact on fares (and revenue) elsewhere. TfL would be required to “compensate” the TOCs for the revenue loss.

    @ JB – not quite sure what the “fare structure and ticketing” point is. Could you enlighten me / us?

  15. Long Branch Mike says:

    I do like the Crossrail Roundel, but as aforementioned, worried that it’s constituent colours are too close. It probably stands out enough from other roundels, in a directional signage setting in a TfL station for instance, to be easily & quickly identifiable though.

  16. Long Branch Mike says:

    Out of interest, do you think they’ve thought about how future Crossrail’s will be identified in the roundel? ie Crossrail 2, 3…, or will each Crossrail line be given a unique name, but use the standard Crossrail roundel colours?

    For that matter, as has been mused elsewhere here, Thameslink should be similarly branded with the Crossrail roundel. I realize Thameslink has different ownership & operators, but for the user, Crossrail as a brand means cross London rail service.

    That is all.

  17. John Bull says:

    Mainly what you actually begin to get at in the second part of your last comment.

    I think the smartcard debate is rapidly becoming a gateway to a larger argument over the general problems caused by the fare and ticketing structure on National Rail.

    Oyster’s major selling point to the passenger has always been as much about the promise that it will automatically give you the cheapest fare, even if its actual benefit to a TOC (TfL or otherwise) is the journey data and streamlining of the ticketing process.

    Put simply the good people of Hertford East want Oyster not because they like the beep it makes as it gets them through the gate, or because its more likely to survive a trip through the washing machine than a paper travelcard, but because they know it’ll give them the best possible price at any given time. They trust the economics of Oyster more than they trust the economics of the TOCs.

    As you rightly highlight though, the problem is that the further Oyster – and indeed TfL – step outside the boundaries of the capital, the more the ability to deliver on that promise is compromised. Oyster thus becomes a very useful tool in any argument over reform of the fare structure, in the hands of TfL and others. This is because it highlights the ludicrous complexity of the current structure, as much as its cost – and complexity is a far harder thing to justify than cost is.

    Basically I’ll be surprised this year if we don’t see some kind of TfL assault on the NR fare struture, and implicitly on the way costs and information are distributed, using the need to simplify things for Oyster as a justification for that. I suppose that’s what I’m getting at.

    Hopefully that makes sense!

  18. Anon5 says:

    I think they are right to keep Crossrail separate from Overground and any future TfL take overs of existing services.

    As you say Overground is now synonymous with all-stations and high frequency services which is why I also think the brand risks being damaged if they use it on semi-fast or half-hourly services on say the SE London/Kent metro services. Either bring those services up to Overground standards or choose another name.

    I also think the Thameslink name should be restored irrespective of who wins the wider franchise. It is engrained in the psyche despite First Capital Connect’s rebrand. Just as Southern still operates Gatwick Express and GA Stansted Express as separate brands. (I’m not advocating half-empty Gatwick Express stock btw, just talking about the brand.)

    The only benefit of the FCC rebrand is it hasn’t entirely tainted the Thameslink brand during the ongoing construction work.

  19. john b says:

    Completely OT, but I wasn’t the one who started the discussion 😛

    As a lifelong Londoner who’s been in Sydney for a few years, the whole “we can’t extend Oyster because pricing” conceit is bizarre and fiefdom based.

    If public transport wasn’t dominated by feudal idiots, then stored-value ticketing would be incredibly easy. London only managed it because Ken had taken over the buses and was able to dictate that there would be a flat fare and no touch-off, which is still the worst possible way of dealing with stored-value on buses (as Melbourne is finding out).

    So Oyster at launch was TfL’s fiefdom and was sensibly defined. And it worked. Remarkably well. And the Underground was included painlessly (in principle) when it became part of TfL. Afterwards, the system was gradually upgraded and kludged and fudged to the point where it could deal with Watford and with the DfT’s scumbag intransigence on the southern franchises. Which in some ways is a shame: a simpler technology would have compelled the acceptance of a zone system that was absolute, with NR being treated the same as TfL.

    Every single time Oyster hasn’t been extended, it is because the people sitting in the DfT are the most idiot scumbags in the entire UK transport ecosystem. Every time anything even vaguely bearable has happened in the context of transport in London post-WWII, it has been because the LCC, GLC or Mayor has fought tooth-and-nail for it. To his immense credit, Boris is finally stepping up to the plate and realising that he will have to properly fight for transport in London if he ever wants enough votes to be PM.

    It’s got sod-all to do with zones. The Prestige system could easily zonalise the whole former NSE with no discernible loss of functionality; it would also be an excellent simplification of fares. It’s only the perverse insistence on fare structures that make Ryanair seem straightforward that rule this out (again, because the DfT, rather than TfL, is in charge of the places that exist solely to serve London and have excellent public transport solely for that reason).

    Meanwhile in Sydney, the original plan was to bring in a system built by some flash new consultants, which allowed the stupid vagiaries of 150 years to be included, rather than zonalising everything. It failed miserably. The new version has worked by beating literally everyone around the head to make everything be zonal, then to build a simple zonal system based on Prestige. It’ll probably work at first, and then become complicated later by various idiots who don’t understand that suburban railways require zonal systems to work.

    Everyone involved with Oyster/Prestige deserves to be bought a pint by every Londoner; everyone involved with ITSO/DfT deserves to be kicked in the balls by every taxpayer.

  20. Paul says:

    Thameslink is fine as a brand for a route, i.e. as a subset of the future combined ‘Thameslink/Great Northern/Southern/Bits of Southeastern’ franchise, but I don’t see it being very relevant to services such as Southampton to Brighton, indeed anything that doesn’t cross the Thames. Will be interesting to see what they eventually do…

  21. pezedtee says:

    @John Bull “Wasn’t sure that purple + blue bar would work.”

    Well, for those of us who belong to the 10% of all males who are red-green colour-deficient, it doesn’t. The two colours are indistinguishable.

  22. john b says:

    Sorry for overlap; our host JB makes the same point as me, but in a way that’s rather more gracious to DfT.

  23. Si says:

    There’s lots of questions that can be raised here about the shuttle lines (Rom-Upminster, W Ealing-Greenford, Slough-Windsor, Maidenhead-Marlow, Twyford-Henley) and where they will fit wrt Crossrail TOC (likewise the still officially proposed Paddington Mainline to Reading relief-line services) and the branding – will they have Crossrail rondels without direct Crossrail service?

    Oyster’s limited number of zones makes things interesting in the West – especially with the grey area over Heathrow pricing (will it go into zone 6?). Zones 7-9 might get you to Maidenhead, but what about Reading, Twyford, Henley and Marlow (would the latter two get Oyster?).

  24. john b says:

    Si: no confirmation of Reading yet, so moot. Doubtless down to whatever mad shenanigans go down between TfL and DfT about Crossrail pricing. Absolutely no chance LHR will go into Zone 6, but I’d be amazed if it didn’t end up being the same fare for both train rides (since under current plans, expensive one gets you nowhere and cheap one gets you to Canary Wharf).

  25. Fandroid says:


    I’m not sure how Crossrail, as currently advertised by TfL, is going to be at all different in style from London Overground. The Crossrail team have vigorously defended the notion that it is going to be an all-stations Metro, hence the logic of using the Roundel to show it is part of the ‘family’. It might be designed to be faster than LO, but the average punter will understand that it’s just the same thing with a different colour scheme.

    Having done a trip or two recently on the West Anglia lines and being impressed by how well loaded they were north of Hackney, it occurred to me that a canny TOC could do a deal with TfL to rebrand its metro services as part of London Overground. Then it could stand back and watch the paying public turn up in droves just as they have done for the real thing.

  26. John Bull says:

    Sorry for overlap; our host JB makes the same point as me, but in a way that’s rather more gracious to DfT.

    Only because they know my email address.

    Joking aside, I don’t think its so much a “good guy”/”bad guy” thing when it comes to TfL and the DfT so much that one organisation has a clearly defined objective (and strong governance) when it comes to rail and the other doesn’t.

    As someone put it to me the other day, summing the situation up rather nicely:

    “The DfT’s problem is that they hated Richard Bowker so much they abolished the SRA. That was stupid. They should just have abolished Richard Bowker.”

  27. David P says:

    Seeing the roundel makes me slightly hopeful that if they are going to use it, and are really and truly making Crossrail part of the TfL family, surely they will provide more the just a half-hourly service at the stations. And yes, my station is Hanwell – the one station on the whole Crossrail network that is still set to be lumbered with 2 trains only per hour.

  28. stimarco says:

    The DfT need to grow a pair and tell the government that the franchising system is fundamentally broken. Devolution and concessions make far more sense.

    I see a national “Intercity” concession galloping towards us on the horizon for the fast / express services, with everything else essentially devolved to regional transport authorities. That means fares would be defined by the regional authorities, rather than by TOCs.

    I wonder if there isn’t also a case for a broader “Home Counties Transport Advisory Group” (or similar), made up of representatives from TfL and the various county councils, which would provide strategic guidance for the south-east region. This would reduce accusations of London-centric planning.

  29. JM says:

    David P

    I have always wondered if you can build another entrance at Hanwell towards the Uxbridge Rd. Given the high traffic on the Uxbridge Rd each day, I’ve always thought the lack of accessibility must be the reason for the poor frequency.

  30. Si says:

    John B (not-Bull): While Reading hasn’t been confirmed as a definite, Crossrail plans have a supplemental service from Paddington Mainline that will be run by the people who run Crossrail – just like the peak only service into Liverpool Street Mainline. It’s not moot.

    As for Heathrow, I’m fairly certain that the Heathrow Tunnel is being sold for a nominal fee as part of the airport’s contribution. And while HEx removal hasn’t been confirmed, it’s certainly the case that T4 will be Crossrail-only. If Crossrail is to have Oyster, Heathrow would need Oyster (inc T5) to stop people being caught out. Whether the platforms will continue to have a premium (zone ‘H’) or be part of zone 6 is a question that isn’t rhetorical.

    Fandroid: as David P has pointed out, it’s not an all stations service, nor have Crossrail stressed that (‘Metro’ they’ve stressed, yes) – in the West, there’s a mix of service patterns and Hanwell (which would get 4tph under the HEx takeover plan) will only get 2tph under the official plans. It’s more akin to the Met Line in peaks, though more confusing and getting from one station to the next one will often involve a change!

  31. ngh says:

    RE LHR pricing /zone.

    Isn’t the issue that Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. (the recently renamed BAA) took on the debt to fund the infrastructure works for Heathrow Express in return for being able to operate the services at prices set by them until the debt is paid off in 2023 (I can explain how project finance deals works in full detail if people really want). Hence the high prices will remain till 2023 at which point it may drop into Zone 6.
    (H. Connect is a joint venture with FGW and this is how CR is getting Heathrow access to begin with).

    [Oslo Gardermoen has a similar arrangement to LHR as Avinor paid for the diversion of the existing rail line]

    Heathrow Airport and the Heathrow Express are run by different subsidiaries of HAH with different priorities…
    (the first with getting people to the airport easily, the second to repay the rail debt (and make a profit on top).

    Heathrow also needs to cut the number of vehicle journeys to the airport to reduce air pollution* and getting people in via electrified rail is the most efficient option so an option could be to pay off the rail debts early, slash the prices to get people out of taxis, cars and coaches.
    (*Especially if the want to build a 3rd runway and new terminal)

    I believe the proposed CP5 Heathrow western rail access (to GWML) would be differently funded (i.e. donations to NR as the costs are much lower) and ticket pricing would be for the rail operator to decide.

    As HAH (ex BAA) no longer owns Gatwick or Stansted there is now a greater competition element to Airport access.
    Gatwick will improve with the additional platform, ECR rebuild, Thameslink etc.
    Stansted could improve with CR1 making Liverpool Street more immune to disruption, CR2 / other TfL proposals to 4 track most of the route which would further improve reliability and possibly service levels

    And what probably really scares them:
    Boris Island could have comparatively cheap to build rail access extend CR1 SE branch, SE locals and HS1 (before the 6 track rail access proposal put forward by the designers is built) from Day 1 when it would start out as a comparatively small operation which might make financing it easier.

  32. Fandroid says:


    Yes, I discovered that my assumption about an all-stations service (in the West) was wrong after reading David P’s post and scratching around on the Crossrail website.


    Your point about the Heathrow Holdings debt and Si’s idea of the sale of the tunnel as part of the airport’s contribution to Crossrail are not incompatible. Their ‘contribution’ is mentioned as one of the investments for their 5 year business plan. Crossrail is the only non-car acccess mentioned in that plan. The only other airport access enhancement planned is actually likely to encourage more car use – extending the ‘pods’ to all of the north-side business car-parks (admittedly while saving some bus emissions).

  33. Andrew says:

    If Oyster in its current form was extended to Brighton, Cambridge or Reading, which it was never designed for, it would show up restrictions in its implementation that couldn’t be fudged in a way that smaller commuter towns might get away with. Thameslink and Crossrail look to be taking different means to overcome this for the moment.

    The Crossrail roundel may be a sign that TfL don’t want to go as far as Reading anyway, not just that they don’t want to foot the bill for electrification and the new station.

  34. ngh says:

    Re Fandroid 06:00PM, 12th March 2013.

    (Had started typing before Si posted)
    Agree they are compatible (if everyone can agree to the changes or rather the price for those changes that is!)

  35. Walthamstow Wroter says:

    @ Fandroid 1640 – while I like the deviousness of your plot I wonder if the public would really be taken in by a pseudo Overground operation that just looked like the Overground but was not like it in substance. I’d not be fooled by orange stickers plastered on the Chingford Line while it remained unstaffed with old trains in poor condition and little sign of anything other than an occasional dirty mop. I was musing the other day and concluded that the Chingford line is now in a worse state than it was under BR when I first arrived in London. The 4 tph is a decent service level but the stations and lack of staff are just yuk.

    I expect people will be satisified with Crossrail, even an all stations one, provided it is frequent and reliable. I think the proposed phased operation will be called into question once we get much nearer a start date. It’ll cause some interesting challenges as to what service levels operate initially through the tunnel and then subsequently. For example will the Abbey Wood branch have a better service for the first 6 months (to give a high service level through the Z1 section) than subsequently when trains also head out to Shenfield.

    @ John B – well it’s nice to know that lots of beer is headed my way given I kept the “LT flame burning” for SVT and Smartcards for several years before we had Prestige and was then involved for many years subsequently. The actual history is more complex than you portray it. While I understand the invective against the DfT there are wider issues at play and it is really down to politicians, of all hues, rather than the departments they are supposed to direct.

    Some politicians are better than others at working out how to pull the right handles to make things happen. I also struggle ever so slightly with the notion that consultants designed something contrary to what Cityrail (or whoever) wanted in Sydney / New South Wales. I could perhaps understand the criticism if fares structure options were part of their brief and they failed to propose a zonal system. Nonetheless something as revolutionary as a switch to a zonal system needs political support to happen even if the idea, as it did in London, started as an idea from the transport operator. Although Ken loved to take credit for Oyster it was on its way long before Mr Livingstone stood as Mayoral candidate. I will resist the temptation to keep going on about fares structures in this reply to you as it’s all politics really.

    @ JB – thanks for the extra info. I’m not sure about TfL mounting a fares coup anytime soon. There was a short exchange at the LA TC last week where Mr Hobbs expressed a preference for a single zonal tariff rather than the 3 we currently have. He did acknowledge that it was unlikely that convergence would happen any time soon. The reasons cited were differing fares regulation controls and the DfT’s desire to maintain commercial freedom for TOC franchisees. Therefore we are locked back in to politics again and whether there is any prospect of a wider move by the DfT to devolve bits of Southern, FCC, Chiltern and SWT to TfL control. I can’t see that happening nor can I see DfT moving to concessions for what are operations that usually generate substantial premium payments back to the DfT. The only tiny prospect is whether the DfT’s Fares and Ticketing Review actually recommends something revolutionary for the Home Counties and / or other urban areas. I’m not holding my breath as this government shows little appetite for anything revolutionary nor any great enthusiasm for really boosting public transport.

  36. John Bull says:

    The only tiny prospect is whether the DfT’s Fares and Ticketing Review actually recommends something revolutionary for the Home Counties and / or other urban areas. I’m not holding my breath as this government shows little appetite for anything revolutionary nor any great enthusiasm for really boosting public transport.

    To be fair to this government I don’t think its any different from any government in that regard. Transport planning is hard, incredibly easy to get wrong and even if you get it right then it’ll be ten years before anyone notices. Modern politics, by its very nature, demands people who are prone to short-termism.

    I really don’t envy those experts and bureaucrats at the DfT who genuinely try and effect change – and there are plenty of them. How do you do that when you’ve got someone new at the top of the organisation every other year?

    Transport organisations are like football clubs. Stability can be just as important as ability. There’s a direct relationship between how long a single man or woman is in charge and success. How many Transport Ministers has Sir Peter Hendy outlasted now? Or if you want to confine it to poltical figures what’s the Mayor-to-Minister ratio?

    When it comes to things like Crossrail, I genuinely don’t think its the case that TfL are naturally better at running railways these days than the DfT. I just think the environment within which their railways – and the people who run them – are cultivated is currently better, and that’s a terrible shame really not just for London, but for the country at large.

  37. Greg Tingey says:

    “Beyond Branding”
    Indeed, DafT will fight to the last ditch to prevent Oyster & the “Concesion” model to spread, not matter what Xr1 does, because if that model succeeds, there’s nothing for them to do, or interfere in or screw up totally (iEP) is there? [ snark]

    Milton Clevedon
    Because if they allow Oyster, then they don’t control it, & can’t insist on their over-late, over-cost ISYSO vapourware, can they. It’s a stupid little (not so little) turf war, & we are all suffering for it. Ask any GOBLIN user.
    & John Bull
    “Too big to fail” – like RBS you mean [snark again]

    John B
    Every single time Oyster hasn’t been extended, it is because the people sitting in the DfT are the most idiot scumbags in the entire UK transport ecosystem Oh thank you so much for that, can we quote that permanently, in future?
    My friend who works in DafT would agree, incidentally, having tried & failed to stop IEP …..

    Johm Bull
    Having had the misfortune to hear a lecture by Bowker, I tend to agree … however, DafT have shown (elsewhere) that they are total idiots, if not perhaps, the scumbags referred to by others!

    It’s called the : “London Passenger Transport Board” !

    Logging off – back later ….

  38. Michael Jennings says:

    >Transport planning is hard, incredibly easy to get wrong and even if you get it right
    >then it’ll be ten years before anyone notices.

    It’s also not a glamorous portfolio if you are a politician or even an ambitious civil servant. So you have both hard, and no incentive to get terribly good people doing it.

    This is one good thing about the present Greater London arrangement. The mayor is high profile, but doesn’t have all that much power. One of the things he does have power over, though, is transport. This seems to have led to TfL being run pretty well.

  39. Fandroid says:

    Walthamstow Wroter (?).

    My West Anglia LO rebadging wheeze did assume that TfL might demand a high standard in return for selling a few orange stickers (and some lines on the Underground map). It was just that a really commercially minded TOC might decide that the guaranteed growth in passenger numbers might give a good payback on investments in new rolling stock, station staff and efficient operation.

  40. timbeau says:

    “If Crossrail is to have Oyster, Heathrow would need Oyster (inc T5) to stop people being caught out. ”

    With some operators, and the glee with which they punce on anyone whose made a mistkae, it seems that they make the fares system difficulk to understand for that express purpose

    “It was just that a really commercially minded TOC might decide that the guaranteed growth in passenger numbers might give a good payback on investments in new rolling stock, station staff and efficient operation.”

    But if you’ve got 100% of the market, nothing you do will incvrease or decrease your market share, so why bother

  41. Martin Petrov says:

    Am I misunderstanding regarding the 2015 Liv St to Shenfield service – is that purely going to be to the surface level platforms, or will they be into the Crossrail platforms (via Whitechapel?)

  42. Anon5 says:

    If Overground, DLR and Tramlink are anything to go by there is no reason why Crossrail 2 and 3 would be named as such inside the roundel or use different line colours. The generic brand will be Crossrail with different lines crossing the tube map. Platform and train maps might differentiate between each line as the Overground, DLR and Tramlink do. Admittedly they each take a different approach with the DLR and Tramlink splitting every line option.

    I think there are still examples inside tube stations of roundels on the head-height station panels which are coloured to match their tube lines ie yellow for Circle and purple for Metropoltan but these have largely been replaced by generic signage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the large platforms roundels matching the line colour although I think the Victoria line had its own rounders when it first opened.

    As for train services. Surely there’s no reason why TfL couldn’t win the self-contained Thameslink services on which the new Desiros will run, operate the trains on the full line but only run stations within the TfL boundary. Brighton, Gatwick etc would continue to be run by the operator who wins the larger Southern franchise.

  43. Mark Townend says:

    I made a slight tweak to the logo design, separating crossbar and halo elements by narrow white strips.

    I’m glad the distinctive purple has made a comeback, as various route-maps on the project website have shown the line in a confusing array of different colours.

    For Crossrail 2 I suggest a dark teal derivative, or perhaps that’s too close to the DLR colour?

  44. Anon5 says:

    When do we think the new roundel will be rolled out? Can we expect to see the X-logo on the hoardings along Oxford Street covered in roundels and the website revamped into TfL style or will neither happen until tunnelling is finished and the next stage of publicity material is ready to roll out?

  45. Greg Tingey says:

    Actually, the Chingford line is in better shape than it was even 6 months back!
    NS/Abellio have started a cleanup & tidy & paint-lick & it shows.
    (Almost) all the vile pigeons have now gone from WC, for a start ….

  46. Tim Burns says:

    Mark Towend. Sadly the white border to the cross bar is against TfL design specs, at least as far as paper and the web are concerned. Will be interesting to see if CR2 will just be branded Crossrail it not

  47. HowardGWR says:

    Mrs Howard (also GWR) thinks your amendment to be simply first class.

    Let’s hope they are watching. You’ve got ‘it’ mate!

  48. john b says:

    WW: in the NSW case, the first bunch of consultants told the NSW government that they could build a stored-value card without first creating a unified zonal fares system (even though the ferries, trains and urban buses were all owned by the NSW government, they were bitter and separate fiefdoms with pricing based on 150 years of history). It turned out that they couldn’t. So the following decade has featured the political shenanigans required to build a zonal system, followed *finally* by the current roll-out of the Opal Card.

    And I’d be very happy to buy you that beer. Point taken on DfT Rail as an organisation with no defined purpose or accountability, rather than an organisation staffed by bad people, though.

  49. The other Paul says:

    I don’t know if TfL will lead the revolution, but the clear thorn in the side of NR, politically imposed since privatisation and fudged over by McNulty, is the ticketing regime. The fare structure not only baffles most passengers, it completely distorts the economics of the railway.

    At risk of heading off-topic, a significant problem is the overcrowding of many long distance trains to the point where they are wholly unpleasant for everyone aboard, with an inherent unwillingness to either stop issuing tickets or to prevent more people from boarding. In BR days, busy trains were “reservations only”, and boarding was controlled. Simultaneously we see very light loadings on long distance trains at other times, when more sophisticated yield management could surely use lower fares to fill seats with more punters, or simply persuade people to travel at a less convenient time. “Carting around hot air” is always going to be bad press and bad news for a railway, particularly a publicly subsidised one.

    Eurostar and most international rail operators have got this worked out – one-way fares, all booked to specific trains, and easily changeable for flexibility if required. Trains can even have a standing or “unreserved” allocation as on the Shinkansen, but crucially there is always a point at which no more tickets can be sold and no-one else is allowed to board. Technology makes this stuff easy, which brings us neatly back to the ticketing discussion….

    Smart cards are good tech for metro networks where it’s about a flat fare from station A to station B, but you’ll always reach a point where you want to have different classes, reserved seats and different prices for different trains both to reflect the differences in speed/service or simply to yield manage. This is something that Crossrail is going to need to deal with, certainly if it gets to Reading, but also at places like Slough, and probably Heathrow.

    Longer distance and even rural branch services are going to be better served by print-at-home or mobile tickets than by smart cards. I know ITSO allows pre-booked tickets to be “loaded” onto cards but I really can’t see why this would ever be used in preference to print or mobile for single journeys, or even for seasons on longer distance services. It’ll be much easier to buy/exchange mobile-based tickets than on smart cards, and the cost savings are obvious.

    The big question is, where will the boundary between one structure and the other be, and who will decide on that?

  50. Mr A says:

    I thought Crossrail was just a working name for the duration of the project but actually with the roundel it works quite well. London Overground wouldn’t be suitable as there’s a good proportion not in London and a named line doesn’t work outside of the Underground.

    Anyone have any other ideas for an operating name?

  51. DW down under says:

    pezedtee @
    04:19PM, 12th March 2013 wrote:

    ‘@John Bull “Wasn’t sure that purple + blue bar would work.”

    Well, for those of us who belong to the 10% of all males who are red-green colour-deficient, it doesn’t. The two colours are indistinguishable.’

    PZT: a hearty hear, hear from a fellow afflictee.

    I had to look hard to distuinguish the purple from the blue. I wouldn’t notice it when rushing along a passageway heading for a train.

    It leaves me wondering where the whole colour vision thing will sit under DDA from 2019? I have been heavily discriminated against all my life with this (and Asperger’s Syndrome), and it’s time we afflictees fought back!!!

    DW down under

  52. Ian J says:

    @DW down under: But why do you need to distinguish the purple from the blue when rushing along a passageway? Isn’t being able to distinguish the purple from the red of the Underground or the orange of the Overground the more important difference? And if red-green colourblindness is to be considered grounds for discrimination I hope TfL’s roads division are planning to replace all those traffic lights…

  53. DW down under says:

    Mr A @ 01:13AM, 13th March 2013 wrote:

    ” I thought Crossrail was just a working name for the duration of the project but actually with the roundel it works quite well. London Overground wouldn’t be suitable as there’s a good proportion not in London and a named line doesn’t work outside of the Underground.

    Anyone have any other ideas for an operating name?”

    Why does a named line not work well outside of the Underground? The W&C was just as effective before as after LUL took over. And names such as North London Line and East London Line are meaningful (AFAIK) to London’s Joe Punters.

    But to give Crossrail a name reflecting its core, as do Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Victoria …. it could be called:

    a) Paddipool; or
    b) Liverington;

    Or reflection its direction, as does the Northern:

    c) Eastern Line;
    d) London Western Line; or
    e) East Western Line;

    Or reflecting its role:

    f) Heart of London Line;

    Or to honour Her Majesty:

    g) The Elizabeth II line.

    Now there’s a few to chew on. Our collective creativity should be a wonder to marvel about.


    DW down under

  54. Anonymous says:

    looks exactly the same as the taxis and minicabs roundel

  55. DW down under says:

    Ian J

    Traffic lights have taken our needs into account for over 60 years, maybe even since the 1930s. The red has a lot of yellow, and the green a lot of blue. No dangers there. I have worked as a professional driver and accumulated more than a million km with no traffic light difficulties. But NO, I can’t work for the railways – even today, not as a volunteer on a line that doesn’t use signals!

    The point is that if blue is the corporate colour, and purple the line colour, and I can’t tell the difference: then I will need words as well as the coloured symbol to ensure I’m not following a direction to a corporate facility when I’m looking for the entrance to a Crossrail station in the usual London weather.

    BTW, I had no problems with the current Crossrail logo.

    Thanks for your concern

    DW down under

  56. Anon5 says:

    If current policy is anything to go by TfL signs inside tube stations use a word alongside a roundel (for other divisions such as DLR) and a coloured line for other tube lines.

    For example step off the Victoria line at Victoria and you’ll see directional signs with the words Circle and District underlined in green and yellow; National Rail with the BR logo and just before the escalators Coach Station with the Coaches (almost LO) roundel.

    Bank has similar directional signs for other tube lines and DLR roundels with the words DLR.

    I imagine the only places you’ll see the Crossrail roundel on its own will be outside stations and on dedicated Crossrail platforms where the type inside the roundel will be large enough to read. Everywhere else the roundel will be accompanied by the word Crossrail.

    One design oddity comes on local bus maps where Overground stations are marked as a filled orange square with white roundel and blue bar so to distinguish them from Underground when the maps fade. This style of logo is like the late 1990s style used for Buses and River services and still sometimes seen on the front of buses next to the wheelchair sign.

  57. Simon says:

    @DW down under

    It’s got the great big word “CROSSRAIL” slapped across the middle of it in all caps.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Why does everything need its own Roundel? On the tube they were quite happy with the same identity for the Met and the Victoria, Bakerloo and District etc. but now need bespoke roundels for the Trams, Overground, DLR and now Crossrail, after all TfL covered all the buses in red paint because they wanted a common identity (I assume this decision was Olympics related), TfL has lost direction information wise, if I’m travelling on the Victoria Line everything is branded Overground – so I get off at Blackhorse Road for Crystal Palace, or Euston for Barking, or Highbury & Islington for Watford do I? Now if Overground 1 was Gospel – Oak Barking, Overground 2 was Euston – Watford Junction, Overground 3 was H&I – Crystal Palace it might be more helpful to the travelling public than coming up with yet another colour combination for the next roundel – what about white roundel on red background?

  59. DW down under says:

    Simon @
    11:34AM, 13th March 2013 wrote:

    “@DW down under

    It’s got the great big word “CROSSRAIL” slapped across the middle of it in all caps.”

    Thanks Simon.

    I’d actually noticed that. 🙂

    I was raising the issue of where the roundels are used without words, relying entirely on colour distinction to convey information.

    At interchanges, there can be a lot of information to convey, and the colour key can be an effective shortcut. (Think of “a picture paints a thousand words” – and of the legal issues over trade marks and logos). So, I’m raising the alarm, along with PZT, so that re-consideration can be given to this idea.


    DW down under

  60. Alan Griffiths says:

    Martin Petrov 08:22PM, 12th March 2013
    “Am I misunderstanding regarding the 2015 Liv St to Shenfield service – is that purely going to be to the surface level platforms”

    That’s right. Crossrail concession will begin on two exisiting routes (Shenfield & Heathrow T4) at the same time as the new franchises that they are being subtracted from. Passengers will have time to get used to the concession operator. Paddington to Abbey Wood will initially run separately on the new infrastucture, so that they can be sure all is working well before it gets busy. Only after that will they add in the trains from the branches.

  61. Paul D says:

    It may be boring, but perhaps there is a case for New York Subway/Paris RER style A, B, C, D, E… labels being used for Crossrail and London Overground?

    If you think of the NY Subway, you have collections of lines/routes using a colour, with letters or numbers identifying the specific services. Transposing to London, the Overground’s line colour is Orange, with Service A from H & I to Crystal Palace, B from DJ to WC, C from DJ to NXG etc etc. This in turn could help clarify the onboard maps too – either keep it as is and label the A, B, C etc services or split it into parts showing the interchanges with other services.

    I think the DLR is pretty well ingrained as it is, but for consistencies sake the same thing could be done with that too.

  62. Philip Wylie says:

    Again I feel disappointed that Maidenhead (not a natural terminus) to Shenfield/Abbey Wood is the ongoing mantra. Also a little wary of the Roundel which could put a brake on flexibility and purpose. If Crossrail is to access the mainline platforms at Paddington, it could, for example provide a regular Reading/London congestion-buster, fast, 12-car service. Much better to have something going NW/SW from Paddington, too.

    If the there is to be constant warring re Oyster boundaries, why not cut Crossrail back to Slough and add another useful branch? (although Slough still beyond Z6).

  63. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering about the whole tfl / National Rail issue for Crossrail while in Paris at the weekend. While waiting for a RER train I saw a refurbished unit that has the livery on the double doors split. One is in SNCF style colours, the other in RATP metro green. Made me laugh as while at first glance it seems crazy it actually works.

  64. DW down under says:

    In light of some questions about why Crossrail needs its own roundel, below is a policy statement from the TfL website:

    “The corporate identity of TfL and its transport divisions is based on the roundel design which first appeared at Underground stations in the early 1900s.

    Each division, or mode, has its own roundel. These form key elements of their corporate identity, communicating that while they are part of TfL they also operate independently.”

    BTW JB, the roundel info for Crossrail doesn’t seem to appear on TfL’s website. The media statement about lauching the Request for Expressions of Interest for the concession to operate Crossrail does not show it.


    DW down under

  65. Anonymous says:

    “TfL has lost direction information wise, if I’m travelling on the Victoria Line everything is branded Overground – so I get off at Blackhorse Road for Crystal Palace, or Euston for Barking, or Highbury & Islington for Watford do I?”

    However did you cope before TfL took over those services when they only had a National Rail??

    However do you cope now with all those other National Rail logos? Do you think they should put the national timetable numbers next to each station on the diagrams? Lest anyone mistakenly think they can just get off at Seven Sisters for a direct train to Barnstaple.

    Also, the use of Underground lines on their own is just as bad. What is to stop people coming from Walthamstow thinking they should change at Kings Cross St Pancras for Sloane Square because it shows on the diagram as a Circle line interchange?

    It is almost as if TfL expect people to have a modicum of common sense and intelligence, have some idea of their route in advance rather than just get on the first train and magically intuit which line their destination will then have no sense of intuition on where they need to change, or use the tube maps displayed inside the trains, on the platforms, and in the ticket hall dispensers.

    As much as I can see the case for labelling different Overground routes, the idea that the system is impossible to navigate without them is so incredibly absurd and self-righteous.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I note that the RER in Paris all has common branding, even though some bits of it are owned by RATP and other bits by SNCF. It also manages to show the sections of all the RER lines that pass through central Paris on the standard Metro map, regardless of whether they are run by RATP or not. I think roundel branding of some sort of Crossrail is good, although I am starting to think the number of different coloured roundels is a little confusing. What concerns me is that TfL have this idea that it is a corporate branding and a great reluctance to acknowledge the existence of transport services that are not run by them. In particular, leaving Thameslink out of the branding and off the Tube map (if this happens) in not a good thing, given that it is ultimately a fairly similar thing to Crossrail. I think there might be something to be said for Thameslink branding being the same colour and shape as Crossrail branding, but with the word “Thameslink” instead of “Crossrail” in the middle. I doubt it will happen though.

    We don’t seem to do numbered and lettered lines in London, but it is all names. Tourists get a bit confused by this sometimes. They will often look at the Tube map and then talk about the “Red Line” or the “Brown Line”, whereas Londoners only use “Metropolitan Line” and “Bakerloo Line”, to the extent that we barely think of the colours on the map a lot of the time.

  67. Anonymous says:

    The first thing that struck me is how similar it is to the Taxi Roundel? There is a slight difference, but it is minimal, and they are likely to be seen in close proximity at stations such as Bond Street.

    I don’t see anyone else mentioning that though … even before it was launched I had commented that they would not be able to keep the colours for that reason, but they seem to have ploughed on anyway. I have always thought the taxi logo should be a black circle to reflect the predominant taxi colour, maybe this is a chance for a change …

  68. timbeau says:

    “TfL covered all the buses in red paint because they wanted a common identity (I assume this decision was Olympics related), ”

    Nothing to do with the five ring circus – the “80% red” rule was introduced in 1997 – in fact it was relaxed during last summer to allow extra buses to be drafted in for the duration.

    ” the taxi logo should be a black circle to reflect the predominant taxi colour”

    That would show up well on a black taxi……..

  69. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ Anon5

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen the large platforms roundels matching the line colour although I think the Victoria line had its own rounders when it first opened.”

    I have a semi-complete set of Underground line lapel pins, which are all in the line colour, ie bar & ring red for Central, orange for Overground. Sadly, I thought they’d always be available at the Transport Museum Gift Shop… Hopefully they’ll come out with a Crossrail lapel pin in a year or 2.

  70. Belsize Parker says:

    I find it curiously British (or should that be English?) that we pay no attention whatsoever to the way in which other major European cities have come to grips with the issue of how to describe ‘high-frequency cross-city trains that are faster than the Metro/U-Bahn’. Everywhere else (Paris, Madrid and all German and Swiss cities) makes do with a ‘two-name’ model: Metro/RER, Metro/Cercanias and U-Bahn/S-Bahn. When telling people how to get from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon, you say that the RER (a concept, rather than a specific line) is quicker than the Metro. If ‘Crossrail’ now equates to ‘RER’ in London, what’s wrong with branding the high-frequency ‘inside the Oyster zone’ bits of the Thameslink route as ‘Crossrail’ too? [And you could change the Underground roundels on Farringdon’s Thameslink platforms to purple while you’re at it!]. In what sense does it matter which particular operator or indeed regulator is responsible for the ‘London RER’? Are we in the business of promoting corporate images here or trying to convey the ‘style’ of service that the passenger can expect?

  71. Long Branch Mike says:


    “Everywhere else the roundel will be accompanied by the word Crossrail.”

    Won’t each Crossrail station have the Crossrail roundel but with the station name in the bar?

  72. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Anonymii of 1.56pm & 2.09pm

    “I think there might be something to be said for Thameslink branding being the same colour and shape as Crossrail branding, but with the word “Thameslink” instead of “Crossrail” in the middle.”

    A great idea.

    “how similar it is to the Taxi Roundel?”

    To my eye, very similar.

    One generally accepted graphic design principle, especially for government agencies (I work at one over the pond) and any publicly distributed material they produce, is the need to account for those with disabilities, in this case, colour blindness.

    Another principle is to make each branding element distinct, to avoid confusion. Given people on this forum are already noting the close colours of the Crossrail & Taxi roundels, and the need to use thumbnail size roundels without text in the bar, on TfL maps for instance, this colour issue is indeed a problem.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Crossrail roundel colours change for these reasons.

  73. Valentine says:

    I think they probably needed a blue bar to indicate it belongs to the TFL ‘family’ as you say. The overground also has a blue bar for possibly the same reasons?

    The svelte purple shade has probably been chosen to blend in with the kind of pastoral (pasterurised?) colours of the tube map. It’s very cool, although personally I’d have preferred a roundel in velvet but there you go.

    Actually, whilst on the subject of maps, why don’t TFL build some flat-screens into the walls at stations? Sort of like a super-sized i-pad. These large flat screens could replace the paper maps they currently display.

    Then the live map could automatically update to show any delays or line closues as they are happening. If a line is closed it could be shaded out. If it is suffering delays it could flash. That sort of thing.

    Then, someone arriving at a station and consulting the map could instantly see where any problems are arising and alter their journeys.

  74. Mark Townend says:

    @timbeau, 02:24PM, 13th March 2013

    I don’t think the roundel actually appears on (any?) black cabs themselves, so a black circle for taxis on signage and other publicity shouldn’t be a problem.

    @Valentine, 03:12PM, 13th March 2013

    ooohh tactile platform roundels in purple velvet! Nice, though I prefer your interactive screens. How about purple furry dice in the drivers’ cabs (if there are any drivers!)?

  75. timbeau says:

    “Won’t each Crossrail station have the Crossrail roundel but with the station name in the bar?”

    The usual practice is for signs outside the station to have the name of the network prominent (“Underground” or whatever), with the station name less prominent, since you are assumed to know at least roughly where you are – or at least be more interested in the means of getting away from there.
    Inside the station, it tells you the station name but not which network you are on, as presumably you know how you got there.

  76. Alan Griffiths says:

    Long Branch Mike02:53PM, 13th March 2013
    “Won’t each Crossrail station have the Crossrail roundel but with the station name in the bar?”

    I’m looking forward to buying a T-shirt with FOREST GATE on it. Or being given one by the concessionaire on the day it begins running the all-sations Shenfield to Liverpool Street service.

  77. Anon5 says:

    The wording on taxi crossbar has changed several times to include taxi, PCO and I believe private hire. The roundels appear as small stickers on the rear windscreen of both black cabs and mini-cabs.

    As for similarities have you seen River and Cycle Hire? Both use a light blue roundel with dark blue bar, the latter presumably to fit the Barclays sponsorship scheme. Just as Overground and Coaches use a similar shade of orange. The other oddity is (or at least was) the Woolwich ferries displaying Streets rather than River roundels.

    As I mentioned previously the new Crossrail roundel is similar to Dial-a-Ride. How easy is its colours to differentiate if you’re colour blind? One would hope this is distinctive enough. I once saw the magenta Dial-a-Ride roundel used on a roadworks sign for Streets…

    Many years ago I attended a talk at the LT Museum in which the London Overground and logo was unveiled. The head of design at the time stated that the DLR and Tramlink departments of TfL resisted the idea of large LU-style platform coloured roundels with the station name inside the crossbar as adopted by LO. They preferred the National Rail style hanging signs with the roundel to the left of the station/stop name.

  78. Delenn says:

    I have been thinking about rebranding the Thameslink services as Crossrail, but only once they have been sorted out once and for all. Once the upgrades are all completed, and the speed improvements (!) through the core implemented, would it not be sensible to settle on Crossrail branding, with CR2 as discussed becoming CR3 on the ground. Makes sense to me!

  79. Anonymous says:

    There is definitely a risk of too many ‘branded networks’: underground, overground, DLR, tramlink, crossrail, thameslink, various rail franchise. It’s very messy and quite poor in terms of organisation. Really, we should just have 4 networks: the Tube, crossrail/thameslink,trams and other rail services. Many other metros have a line which is light rail – they see no need to make into a separate network like the DLR. I also struggle to see, from a passengers POV, which makes the LO a separate network. It’s not much different from the SSL bar the fact it’s mostly orbital (and it’s largely an inner-London system anyway). Operationally from Tfl’s position, fine, but the new Line 4 in Sao Paulo’s network is also run differently from the rest of the system (privately), yet it’s not chopped off.

    Crossrail and the Thameslink upgrade offer a great opportunity to simplify and consolidate London’s rail-based transport system; instead I fear it will just become even more a dog’s dinner with more ‘networks’.

  80. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Interesting set of comments about identity and how it relates to the various bits of the network. Much of what we have is simply the result of history and past demands to have differentiaton. When the DLR was built it was deliberately nothing to do with LT – it was a LDDC project. It was only some years on that the pragmatic decision was taken to shift DLR under LT / LRT control when the government wound up the LDDC. By then DLR had become accepted as an identity and, as a smaller unit with a local focus, DLR has worked hard to develop its local relationships. I suspect that local people would object to the name being removed.

    The National Rail network is the real complication. Even under BR there were divisions or regions or sub brands that people could identify with. When I first moved down south my first commuting experience was slam door stock on the Chingford Line and even back then the “Jazz Trains” name was being resuscitated as a promotional tool. Of course Network Southeast, although creating a uniform image to the public, created the line naming which was carried forward into the franchising process. Personally I am perfectly happy that TfL simply shows the National Rail “arrows” logo on maps and line diagrams.

    TfL has grouped together all of its rail activities under Mike Brown who is MD for LU, DLR, Overground and eventually Crossrail plus any devolved concessions that it gains. As Anon @ 2234 suggests perhaps the rationalised approach would be –

    LU line names as now plus “Docklands Line” replacing the DLR. “TfL Rail” would be used to replace the Overground, Crossrail names and any inherited names on new concessions. Naming will have to be sorted out for the potential South Eastern inners and Greater Anglia inners as I assume the South Eastern and Greater Anglia will remain for the longer distance / country area lines. What, if anything, you do about a lower level of line / route / service naming under the “TfL Rail” name I will leave for others 🙂

    Of course the one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is Intellectual Property Rights. Branding and naming for things like Thameslink and Crossrail I would expect to be fully covered by IPR even though I accept Thameslink is not actively used by FCC on the network although it is used a differentiator with the Great Northern services. TfL takes a very strong line about things like the roundel and the use of colours as line / network descriptors. I expect they’ve thought long and hard about how to “look after” Crossrail now and into the future.

  81. Chris Richmond says:

    @Belsize Parker
    “I find it curiously British (or should that be English?) that we pay no attention whatsoever to the way in which other major European cities have come to grips with the issue of how to describe ‘high-frequency cross-city trains that are faster than the Metro/U-Bahn’. Everywhere else (Paris, Madrid and all German and Swiss cities) makes do with a ‘two-name’ model: Metro/RER, Metro/Cercanias and U-Bahn/S-Bahn. When telling people how to get from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon, you say that the RER (a concept, rather than a specific line) is quicker than the Metro. If ‘Crossrail’ now equates to ‘RER’ in London, what’s wrong with branding the high-frequency ‘inside the Oyster zone’ bits of the Thameslink route as ‘Crossrail’ too? [And you could change the Underground roundels on Farringdon’s Thameslink platforms to purple while you’re at it!]. In what sense does it matter which particular operator or indeed regulator is responsible for the ‘London RER’? Are we in the business of promoting corporate images here or trying to convey the ‘style’ of service that the passenger can expect?”

    The first problem in the UK is that somewhere along the privatisation road, the idea of ‘competition’ on the railways was misinterpreted as a consumer concept rather than just an operational one. With very few exceptions (eg Birmingham to London), consumer choice is near impossible; there is no user market within the railway system. You either choose the train or you choose another mode of transport. As such, consumers don’t care who is running the trains, as long as they are run well.

    The real ‘competition’ is purely at a trade/industrial level, where private operators compete to run individual parts of the system. It would have been a much better idea if this was done anonymously as far as the consumer was concerned – ie keeping operators names off the trains and stations (No Firsts, Virgins, NatEx, Connex etc). You could still have brand differences across the network to identify geographic routes or types of service, but these would remain constant regardless of who the operator may be. It would save a lot of re-branding costs every time an operator goes bust or loses a franchise. It works in other areas of the UK transport network (and, of course, abroad), and is common practice in other industries that use a franchise method.

    The second problem is that we don’t seem to want take notice of how other cities operate successful integrated transport systems. An inner ‘metro’ service with an outer ‘regional express’ service, each running through the core, seems to work really well, with the regional through services limited to 25-30 miles from the city centre, and with each spur of each route running at least 4-6 tph. In London, Crossrail seems to be on the right lines but Thameslink is just so off the right lines that it seems implausible. Destinations are too far away (why not limit to Gatwick, Luton, Stevenage, Tonbridge etc and offer the Bedfords and Brightons faster and more frequent services to the terminals?), there are too many spurs with potentially low frequencies, and too many suburban routes completely ignored.

    So yes, please let’s have an integrated brand for our ‘RER’, irrespective of who the operator may be, and please let’s understand, document and implement what the principles of these services should be in terms of distance, frequency, speed and usability.

    And a good start would be to put the lines on the effing map…

  82. stimarco says:

    On the subject of TfL’s branding, I do have a couple of thoughts…

    The “Thameslink” / “Crossrail” split doesn’t really work for me. Crossrail 2’s proposed route is a diagonal route that will also cross the Thames, so we really need a single, unified, umbrella name for these. A London equivalent to “RER”.

    I nominate “Crosslink”. It embodies both the ‘cross-London’ and ‘linked services’ aspects of these services.


    As for the roundel: I wonder how many of readers are aware that the Met and District lines originally dallied with a filled diamond instead of the roundel?

    The roundel has served us well, but it’s never a good idea to treat any corporate identity as sacred. (The original “identity” for the LU was the Yerkes group’s “UndergrounD” signage.)

    A couple of variations of the “roundel” could be created that replace the current circle with different shapes – even stylised images – as needed. Graphic design tools have come on a long way since the days of Letraset and manual typesetting; we should not limit our options to Edwardian design technology. (Also, I do like Mark Townend’s use of white space between the elements: what I’m about to suggest would work better with that visual separation.)

    The key to the following is the absolutely fixed nature of the central bar with text. This stays the same throughout and provides the visual ‘link’ between the variations.

    * A variation on the filled diamond could be used for the mainline-gauge routes, like Crosslink, Thameslink, and London Overground. These could be used to separate the older, slower, modes from the newer, faster options currently being built / planned.

    * A modified form of the present roundel, but a filled disc, rather than hollow, could be brought back for the existing London Underground network, with the disc’s colour showing the line’s colour. (For platforms that are shared with multiple lines, the disc would be striped accordingly.)

    The DLR would use another, stylised silhouette of the Cutty Sark above the bar, with the lower semi-circle of the TfL roundel below.

    For the Tramlink network, I’d go with a positively heretical option: add a very stylised ‘pantograph’ (basically a wonky triangle positioned at a suitably rakish angle) just above, and at one end, of the central bar.

    And now I really need to stop procrastinating…

  83. The other Paul says:

    @Chris Richmond
    “Crossrail seems to be on the right lines but Thameslink is just so off the right lines that it seems implausible. Destinations are too far away”

    Your argument is tempting, but surely the problem with both Thameslink and Crossrail (at least to the West) is that once you get out so far, providing the uniform high frequency service that you want in the core becomes overkill if you limit the number of outer routes. TfL reckon that terminating 14tph at Paddington is better than running them onward to Newbury, Oxford and Milton Keynes. Network Rail knows that they can’t physically terminate 14tph at St Pancras, so they have to go to Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough. There just aren’t enough short-haul destinations (particularly that can ever take 12 car trains) to take the services.

    Who’s to say that the Crossrail model is better? If this is truly about capacity it’s incredibly wasteful of it at Paddington to have so many services arriving from opposite directions that all need to be turned around. This discussion normally descends into ridiculous statements about “the wrong kind of train” – the train design needs to facilitate the service pattern, not vice-versa. The convenience and capacity gains of regional cross-city services vastly outweigh the inconvenience of a sub-optimal seating layout.

    Although TfL have resisted the pressure so far, it seems feasible to me that a successful Thameslink combined with the HS2 requirements at Euston will give us Crossrail trains running to MK and Northampton, if not Newbury and Oxford. Capacity demands at Paddington itself will push the latter.

  84. DW down under says:

    Chris Richmond @
    11:48PM, 13th March 2013

    You suggest that the Bedfords and Brightons should be excised from the Thameslink model and assigned to terminal stations instead. In their place, shorter distance services take up the Thameslink paths.

    Looking at the BedPan line, it’s my experience that the WHOLE route is a commuter route. Not only that, but there’s no short distance services running into a terminal (ie St Pancras) that could be displaced by the Bedfords. Indeed, the terminal capacity available to the MML is derisory in these days of rising demand.

    So while there may be some scope for making the substitutions south of the river (and that would be limited by route capacity, at grade junctions and such like), I see NO scope north of the river. As it is, only 8tph will feed from the GN routes, and these are the mid-distance commuter routes and inner suburbans. Against an environment of growing traffic, Kings Cross is likely to reach saturation within the current decade.

    DW down under

  85. stimarco says:

    Anyone who has ever flown into Rome’s Fiumicino (a.k.a. “Leonardo da Vinci”) airport and taken the train might recall the double-decker stopping service that also terminates at said airport.

    That service runs all the way through Rome (calling at all its major through stations) and out the other side, ending up at Orte, which is a full 51 miles outside Rome. It’s very similar to the GWML services in serving a large commuter belt spread out along a river valley. (Both Rome and Orte are on the river Tiber.) The entire journey is about 110 km. in length from end to end, but the stations get noticeably further apart as you get further from Rome.

    Rome has a slightly more extreme version of London’s “through services” dilemma: there’s literally not much to the south-west of Rome except a few seaside towns and a port. Fiumicino airport’s station forced the closure of the remaining stretch of the line into the coastal town of Fiumicino itself.

    The resulting network is a real mess: some of the lines listed on their metro maps (usually those with an “FR” prefix) were originally built as narrow-gauge tramways as building full-on railway lines through the cruel and unusual geography of the country has always been difficult. (And that’s before you take the deep strata of archaeology into account.) The new “Line C” metro currently under construction is mostly a conversion of one such tramway that originally ran all the way out to Fiuggi and beyond. The work will involve burying the urban section in new tunnels, but the suburban and rural stretch will mostly follow the old tram alignment where possible.

    While London does at least have a Home County or two between it and the coast, the fact remains that it’s still stuck in the south-eastern corner of island of Great Britain, rather than in a more conveniently central location. Paris, on the other hand, is a hell of a lot further away from geographical obstacles like oceans and major mountain ranges than London or Rome, so we should be wary of pointing at the likes of Paris (or Berlin) in discussions such as these. If the UK’s capital city were Birmingham instead, there’d be rather more validity to such comparisons.

    So we’re stuck with trying to solve a problem that few other cities have to solve: how to balance services that cross London from north to south and west to east. The suburbs to the north and west are arguably already well served by the Underground, which is why the GWML has so few stations before it reaches the M25. Short of transferring one or two of those lines to Crossrail, the only viable alternative is to just ‘spam’ distant stations with trains, or terminate them short at Paddington (or, as I suspect is more likely, OOC).

  86. DW down under says:

    stimarco @
    04:12AM, 14th March 2013 wrote:

    “Short of transferring one or two of those lines to Crossrail, the only viable alternative is to just ‘spam’ distant stations with trains, or terminate them short at Paddington (or, as I suspect is more likely, OOC).”

    Absolutely no need to SPAM distant stations.

    There’s plenty of scope for Crossrail to include Chiltern Line services and WCML mid-suburbans (Bletchley/CMK), if there’s not enough traffic from the GWML stoppers.

    I’d like to see XR1 Heathrow Connect extended from Heathrow 4 to Feltham and/or Ashford, and then on to serve suitable destinations that our south-of-river (SWTs) experts might wish to examine. I’d also like to see the West Drayton (triangle jct) – T5 – Staines connection become part of XR1 phase 3. Perhaps the trains can loop Heathrow Central – T4 – Ashford – Staines – T5 – Heathrow Central?

    Why – to provide the much needed, long talked about, conspicuous by their absence links from the W, SW and S to Heathrow.

    DW down under

  87. timbeau says:


    ” I wonder how many of readers are aware that the Met and District lines originally dallied with a filled diamond instead of the roundel?”

    That was exclusively a Metropolitan variant, delibertaely chosen to be different from the Combine’s logo, which originally appeared on London General’s buses and spread to the Underground when they came into common ownership, including, but only after 1933, the Met.

  88. Anon5 says:

    The book a Logo for London shows an early DLR roundel. The cross bar is light blue and outlined in white as it cuts across the roundel. The words Light Rail appear. I believe this logo was meant for the DLR before the decision was made in the 80s for it to be in control of the LDDC quango.

    There’s also a river version with three wavy crossbars.

    TfL Rail already exists. It’s the small management team inside TfL that overseas the contractors of Overground, DLR, Trams and Airline. However from a public point of view it’s not as easy to say as Overground.

    The DLR went through many years of being the Docklands Light Railway and the Docklands with the sub-script Light Rail. Many older locals in the east end still calls it the Docklands but again it’s going to take a lot for people to swap from the ease of saying the DLR to the Docklands line. I’m not saying it can’t happen.

  89. Anon5 says:

    And to add TfL Rail had its own brown roundel prior to the introduction of the Overground brand. I’m not sure if it still exists in the corporate environment.

  90. DW down under says:


    According to “The Story of London’s Underground” by John R. Day and John Reed, 11th edition, 2010, p.106, the diamond was used by the Metropolitan and East London railways. Oddly, the book uses South Kensington to illustrate the point. The website quoted by Stimarco shows the same format for Queens Rd, Bayswater – now Queensway on the Central Line.

    I have the impression that it wasn’t one of those Yerkes vs the rest things.


    DW down under

  91. Anonymous says:

    It’s more of a mouthful, but Docklands and City sounds better imo than just ‘Docklands line’. It’s also bit more accurate. In truth though there may come a point when the DLR needs to be split to increase frequencies on branches, at which point renaming becomes more feasible.

  92. John Bull says:

    Pretty certain you’ll see the diamond “roundel” on the bay platform at Moorgate at the moment. Think they put it back for when the heritage services were running into there.

  93. DW down under says:

    1) I have lodged a complaint with TfL about the colour combination for the mooted XR1 roundel. Have had an acknowledgement and complaint number. Will keep LR posted.

    2) I agree that TfL probably has got too many portfolios with individual identities.

    a) They already have an organisation called London Rail. It is the umbrella organisation for the various rail activities: LUL, LO, Tramlink, DLR, Crossrail, devolved routes.

    b) But if to use that publicly for TfL administered non-LU railways is deemed conflicting, then how about:

    c) “London Trains”

    DW down under

  94. DW down under says:


    And if the ideas put up on LR for the DLR to be extended to East Finchley come to fruition, isn’t the “Docklands” bit a tad historical. I think it’s time to consider starting to use “London Light Rail” (LLR). And maybe the resolution of the Wimbledon Loop problem is to convert the Wimbledon-Sutton section to an LLR line?

    Likewise, maybe an LLR conversion would suit the Greenford line after XR1 starts, connecting at Ealing Broadway (with terminal platforms west of the overbridge)?

    These two isolated sections would then get cascaded cars from the core LLR operation.

    DW down under

  95. Anonymous says:

    LUL is not part of TfL London Rail although it shares the same MD.

  96. DW down under says:

    Strictly speaking, it’s a very flat structure with each operation coming directly under Transport Trading Ltd.

    To quote TfL:

    ” Rail for London Limited

    A wholly owned subsidiary of Transport Trading Limited. It will carry out the infrastructure upgrade for the North London line and enter into a concession agreement for the London Rail Concession.

    Company No: 05965930
    Place of registration: England and Wales
    Registered Office: Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
    VAT No: 756 2770 08 ”

    So RfL enters into the agreement for the London Rail concession (with LOROL) which trades as London Overground. All clear, now??? 🙂

    So I’m sorry if I misinterpreted and misrepresented the complexities and personalities involved.

    Anyway, I was making a point about naming, not organisation – and was suggesting either “London Rail” or “London Trains” as a branding for all the non-LU, non-DLR, non-Tramlink railway activities administered by TfL.

    DW downunder

  97. Sleep Deprived says:

    For all the people complaining about maps, it is to do with simplicity. You are probably complaining about this map not having national rail (thamelink) on:

    Please bear in mind that there is also this map (which you will find at EVERY underground station):

  98. peezedtee says:

    @Sleep Deprived

    For a start, the “London’s Rail and Tube Services” map (formerly “London Connections”), while no doubt on display somewhere at each station, does not appear nearly as much as the Tube Map and is not widely distributed. It is not what people are given to carry around with them. You have to specially ask for a copy and booking offices sometimes can’t find a copy when you want one. Only randomly here and there is the folder openly on display, so really you have to be aware that it exists.

    Secondly, it is not what people like me have been pressing for because it is too big and too complicated. It contains far more detailed information than most people are likely to need.

    The point is not that we need to have the whole national rail network superimposed, but to have included on the map that most people use on a daily basis certain lines whose absence is positively misleading to the unitiated, most particularly in the central area. Top of the list are the Thameslink core and Moorgate-Finsbury Park.

    The passenger does not care who operates which trains. From the passenger’s point of view, the absence of the Thameslink core from the map is completely ridiculous. City Thameslink is for all practical purposes a useful tube station serving Fleet St yet it is not on the map. And I wonder how many people wanting to get from Blackfriars to Farringdon go all the way round the eastern end of the Circle line (journey time 16 minutes) because they do not know there is a direct train every few minutes (journey time 6 minutes) via a line that is not on the map.

  99. timbeau says:

    @Sleep Deprived

    But a map can be so simple as to be useless – as anyone who has tried to walk around London with nothing but a Tube map will have found. The standard Tube map makes simple jourmneys like Kings Cross to Blackfriars, or Moorgate to Finsbury Park, look needlessly complicated. Operational considerations should be irrelevant to a traveller.

    DW down under

    “the diamond was used by the Metropolitan and East London railways”.
    The ELR (and the Northern City) were operated by the Met at that time, so they used the Met’s logo.

    “Oddly, the book uses South Kensington to illustrate the point”.
    Nothing odd about that, South Kensington was the limit of the Met’s share of the Inner Circle, and the two northernmost platforms were owned and operated by them

    “The website quoted by Stimarco shows the same format for Queens Rd, Bayswater – now Queensway on the Central Line”.
    This is odd – the Met station* was always called Bayswater, but Queens Road (now Queensway) was CLR.
    The only illustration of the diamond at QRB is here – it’s a painting, not a photo, and appears to be a subsurface station rather than a deep tube, so I suspect some artistic licence.

    *the current District Line service is in fact an extension over former Met tracks of the original District Service, , partly replacing a separate Met service to/from South Kensington.

  100. timbeau says:

    Meant to add – the simplest Tube map is the in-car diagram on the Waterloo and City Line, but no-one would pretend that it is very useful!

  101. SND says:

    Interesting article and discussion. Personally I favour the following:

    1) Keep the DLR and Tramlink with their current names.

    2) With regards to London Overground, I think that all the inner London services that terminate within Greater London should be operated by TfL and rebranded under the Overground moniker. The problem is the services from towns outside London, which can’t really be rebranded under the Overground badge as it would be silly. The only logical solution I can see is to re-instate the idea of Network SouthEast as it was pre-privatisation, as I don’t think it’s really possible to undo London from SE England given how large it is and how many people commute from all parts of the region into it every day. This would also help with the whole Thameslink thing, which at the moment is giving the impression of trying to be all things to all men. Simply make it part of a revived NetworkSE, perhaps with some kind of small Thameslink branding on the trains themselves to make them stand out a bit. This idea would require some form of renationalisation of the rail network however, so at the moment it’s just an idea. While it would probably be simpler to just have every overground rail service in London put under the NSE banner, it would be a waste of money having to rebrand the Overground stations and I like the Overground as a concept anyway.

    3) Crossrail is simpler – call is Crossrail, label the lines Crossrail 1, Crossrail 2, etc. and treat it as an RER style service. Brand all the stations it serves as Crossrail stations and leave it at that.

    This isn’t the most coherent answer, apologies for that. You might end up with a lot of layers. So London’s rail transport network would end up roughly thus:

    TfL’s domain:

    1) Underground, DLR, Tramlink – self-contained networks, each doing their own thing

    2) Crossrail – covering the Crossrail lines only, promoted as an RER type thing

    3) Overground – would cover inner London suburban networks not on Crossrail routes

    You would be able upon arriving at a station to tell if it was a Crossrail or Overground or Underground one by the colour of the roundel. There would be cases where Crossrail and Overground services served the same station, in which case Crossrail roundels would take priority.

    Then under another authority [preferably some kind of state run rail operator – this is very hypothetical and shouldn’t be taken too seriously]:

    4) Network SouthEast mk 2 – would cover all of the old NSE network including Thameslink. All stations in the areas it served with the exception of Crossrail ones would have NSE branding.

    5) Taking my idea of a new state run operator into account, revive the InterCity brand and use that again.

    Ergo you would arrive at Victoria in the future, emerge from the Tube and be presented with the following options:

    a) the Crossrail 2 line

    b) Overground services to regions of South London

    c) Network SouthEast services to the south coast, Kent etc.

    This is about the best sense I can make of things, but it’s just speculation on my part anyway so I’m not sure how it would work in practice.

  102. Sleep Deprived says:

    The London rail and tube services map is available on every underground station platform (I think it is one of the standard ones that has to be there), it may even be on display at most ticket hall areas.

    I think your comment highlights the problem, where do you stop. To most people uninitiated with the system even the standard underground map is very busy (espcially the small paper version). Keeping the map to TfL lines is at least consistent.

    @Peezedtee & Timbeau
    You argue that the Moorgate-Finsbury Park line and Thameslink should be included, but why not the river bus services first? Or areas where the national rail and Underground shadow one another, or just routes that also serve underground/overground/DLR/Tramlink stations etc. I think the rail services map is useful as it does show the links but it also highlights just how complicated the system actually is if you try and show just the main rail options.
    Ultimately the map has to be useful to both the seasoned traveller and the casual user. Increasingly it also has to be useful to someone who cannot understand the langauge and is in London as a tourist. In that case I would heartily recommend the maps in this publication:

    Indeed, have a look at the map on page 8 of this publication (, is that what you are after? If so stations (in central areas especially) tend to have lots of these. I always take a couple to give to friends when they come to visit London.

  103. JM says:

    If the idea is to create a successful brand then anything like Crossrail (and you can add Metrolink and a lot of other UK transport systems) are extremely cliched and too generic seeing as Glasgow, Edinburgh and probably any other UK city that creates a similar system in future will try to use the same name). Something that uniquely applies to London would be better in my opinion like Merseyrail, Supervila in Rio or even an acronym like most US systems use. On this basis you’d be better off naming Crossrail, ‘Thameslink 2’ – at least everyone in the world will know you’re talking about a London rail service.

    I get the feeling though that ‘Crossrail’ will become the de facto title and definition for cross city surburban rail services in the UK regardless of the intellectual property so London Crossrail. Many people will just end up calling Crossrail 2 ‘Chelney’ regardless of the official name. You will end up with a situation that if more are built, each line will probably require it’s own name anyway.

    I think in the longer term, the DLR will be absorbed into the ‘Underground’ branding anyway with possible extensions particularly if ideas like one I read from Jim Steer about connecting H&C to the east/west DLR ever take off.

    For wider TFL branding one blanket coloured roundel per service type would surely suffice. white for underground, red for buses, black for taxis and private hire, blue for river services, green for cycling (even if Barclays sponsorship means you are required to use electric blue) etc etc. I don’t see any confusion subsequently with colours on the tube line when navigating the website.

  104. timbeau says:

    The problem with the tube map is that the Underground is not just a city centre Metro like that of Paris, but extends far into the outer suburbs and even beyond. To provide detail of all services in that region you do need something as complex as the London Connections map.

    But most visitors have little interest in Acton, Epping, Ickenham, Oakwood or Uxbridge – a map showing ALL rail services in Zones 1 and 2, with arrows pointing to particular touristic locations further out such as Heathrow and Hampton Court, would much better serve their needs.

    Conversely, for those interested in tarvel in the suburbs, the intricacies of the central London tubes are irrelevant – not sure how much Central London detail you could lose, you would certainly need the Circle Line, the main line termini, and other major points from which suburban lines split off like Earls Court.

    Reviving Network South East might seem a good idea for the suburbs, but it still has anomalies. Railways are long wriggly things which are specificaly designed to connect places together, defying boundaries. Where do you stop? London Midland’s service from Euston to Crewe is definitely outer suburban in nature in Hertfordshire, but not when it gets to the Potteries. Chiltern’s stopping services are indeed outer suburban in nature at each end, but Solihull is a suburb of Birmingham, not London. NSE stretched to Kings Lynn, Worcester and Exeter: none of which are really commuter belt towns..

  105. JM says:

    To add, regarding maps, generally feel the Tube map should cover Underground services, Overground, tram and ‘CRossrail’ services within TFL zones. Each non tube service can use bold lines in colours relevant to their TFL branding removing a potential colour clash (like the Air Line does currently). The London Connections map works on the same basis already.

    A river service map in use at every station may help raise it’s profile

    Given the technology, an app for people to build their own maps for convenience ie adding the particular types of service they require giving you information about remaining time on their journey.

    Encourage the use of Oyster via phone app to the level the current Oyster is used and the gps could even tell you how busy your next train is…

    Thinking as I type a bit here.

  106. SND says:

    Yeah that is a problem with the NSE Mk2 idea. You’d have to draw a line somewhere. In that case I can’t think of a better solution other than drawing the line somewhere and being firm about it. In the case of the Waterloo-Exeter route I’d fully redouble that and put that under my proposed InterCity brand, it wouldn’t be part of NSE past Basingstoke.

    The relatively short distance between London and Southampton/Portsmouth/Brighton/Dover et al means none of those main lines really feel like intercity routes even though some of them [esp. the Southampton one] meet the criteria. You could put those under the NSE banner and they’d feel ‘right’ in that sense. I’m not sure how far into East Anglia or the Midlands you’d push the boundary though. Nominally I’d stop NSE’s boundaries at Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Stevenage, but it’s not possible to please everyone in this type of scenario so there would be alternatives suggested.

  107. JM says:

    Neither the Metro or RER map of Paris go close to covering the whole Parisian network. St Lazare has a lot of local services not featuring on any tourist maps.

  108. Anonymous says:

    I worry for anyone who thinks the London Rail and Tube services map is in anyway useable. It is the standard tube map with other National Rail services contorted to fit around its design. And in that way it is a significant reduction in clarity from the London Connections map, which was a National Rail one with the Underground and DLR contorted to fit but at least made better sense at that scale, and especially in south London.

    I still carry a 2010 National Rail Oyster map in my bag for when I need something. It is much smaller than the London Tube and Rail one, vastly clearer, it is only the omission of the East London Line that lets it down.

  109. Steven Taylor says:


    I find the London Connections map ideal and always carry one in my rucksack. Although why they had to rename this I have no idea.

    For a newcomer to London, it may be confusing, but as London has so many railways, any map will be `busy`.

  110. Anon5 says:

    From my experience the general public talk about taking the Underground, tube or mention a specific line ie: “Take the Underground to…, the Victoria line was awful this morning, catch the Central line from Oxford Circus… etc.”

    For as long as I can remember South Londoners generally [ie not geeks like us lot!] called services provided by British Rail, NSE or the privatised operators as “the train”. You caught “the train” up to London, not Network South East or British Rail. Those names only came into use when something went wrong. Sometimes, particularly when speaking to Tube-blessed north Londoners you might have heard reference to catching the “overground” [note the small ‘c’] “overland” or “mainline train”. Since privatisation people do mention their operator but usually only when emphasising a negative point. In my office someone catches the “train to Orpington” but when they’re delayed getting into work it’s because “Southeastern were awful this morning”. They never say “I’m catching Southeastern home”.

    Compare this to what’s happened with the Overground. Suddenly an existing network gained its own identity. People using this service now talk about the Overground not the train. Why? Because a strong reliable brand was created off the back of the Underground using a mix of existing lines, improved frequencies, better facilities and new trains. I know ordinary people [again, not geeks like us!] living on the ELL extension who feel proud to be on the Overground and to have that roundel at their station. They like the walk-through trains, the feeling that it’s almost like a tube but not quite. Rebrand the rest of the suburban network Overground as it stands and you’ll diminish the brand unless you can guarantee high frequencies and a certain level of quality.

  111. Mark Townend says:

    Operationally, where inner suburban services share infrastructure, depot and terminal facilities with longer distance trains, the ‘single operator per route’ policy makes a lot of sense, with resultant cost savings and resilience in the event of perturbation, through more flexibilty in adjusting staff rosters etc. For example when the various GW franchises were combined many of the Reading based Turbo drivers were trained on HSTs. Although only occasionally required to drive Inter Cities in their normal rosters, the opportunity to relieve and turn back Bristol or Cardiff drivers within statutory hours at Reading is an important tool to help recover services after disruption. On the other hand suburban operations are nearly always run using different rolling stock to that used for longer distance services and SWT even employs a distinct sub-branding, with predominantly red trains appearing on its inner suburban network compared to the blue and white of its longer distance lines. Therefore in many cases it would seem sensible to move forward with the current or broadly similar franchise OPERATING boundaries in the South East, but require those companies to work under TfL direction and branding within the inner suburban area. That would require a hitherto unknown level of cooperation between Dft and TfL in setting combined service specifications and commercial conditions, although if such services destined to be devolved to TfL, additional concessions under the London Overground model may lead to wasteful operational duplication.

  112. peezedtee says:

    @Sleep Deprived
    No, the map in the tourist brochure won’t do. It has far too much on it and does nothing to draw attention to the fact that, within the central area, there are certain lines that happen not to be LU lines but which for all practical purposes can be treated by the passenger as if they are, i.e. they are within the TfL ticketing system and run at frequent intervals.

    “I think your comment highlights the problem, where do you stop.” I have already explained one criterion that could be applied – the inclusion on the Tube Map of tube-style lines whose absence is positively misleading to the unititiated, i.e. without which people will make unnecessarily slow and long-winded journeys out of ignorance. The Thameslink core is a obvious example. Another might be London Bridge to Greenwich, if we are taking the map out that far, since Greenwich is a tourist hotspot and people might otherwise think they have to go there on the DLR.
    Moorgate-FP is also a contender, the only problem there being that it doesn’t run late into the evening or at weekends, so that fact ought to be indicated — although I notice that it isn’t so indicated on the tourist map.

    There was also yet another map, which I haven’t seen recently, showing all lines with a service above a certain frequency (possibly 15 minutes, I can’t remember). That comes a bit closer to what is needed, though I think max. 10 minutes would be better. But then the 4tph individual branches of the Overground wouldn’t feature either — which just goes to show how arbitrary the whole thing is.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Steven Taylor: “For a newcomer to London, it may be confusing, but as London has so many railways, any map will be `busy`.”

    It is not confusing and busy because the network is, it is confusing and busy because the design is awful.

    The London Rail and Tube map is not simply a renaming of the London Connections map, it is a totally different design being produced by TfL rather than ATOC. Instead of producing a map designed to best show all forms of rail transport in London, it instead just takes a regular tube map then adds everything else subservient to that design, giving an inordinate priority to TfL services (including the Tramlink), and causing National Rail services to have all manner of weird bends, compressions, and stretches, to fit into it.

    Put fetishisation aside and I would expect those who think the Beck-derived tube map is the best way of showing TfL services is in the minority, let alone making it the central basis for showing all rail services within Greater London.

    And as busy as any map may be, the London Connections one was usable. The one I refer to (which unfortunately does not seem to be online anymore) is based on that design and I would consider it rather clear. Although it does, as an ATOC design, put their services first and so the tube and DLR are shown in a subservient position instead.

  114. Kit Green says:

    stimarco 12:02AM, 14th March 2013
    I nominate “Crosslink”. It embodies both the ‘cross-London’ and ‘linked services’ aspects of these services.

    Is this nostalgia for the Crosstown Linkline?

  115. timbeau says:

    Crosslink was the name of a short lived Anglia railways service that ran from the Anglia main line (various points of origin, but usually Chelmsford or Ipswich) to Basingstoke via the North London line, using, uniquely, the Kew West chord. It only ran between 2000 and 2002.

    As for what lines should appear on an inner London map (Zones 1 and 2) , Charing Cross to Greeenwich should of course be there. Not sio sure about when Undergroudn lines shadow NR ones – there is an argument for it, but Metropolitan fast services are not shown separately, (although they are where the stopping service is provided by the Jubilee) So should fast services between Tower Hill/Fenchurch and Upminster? Euston and Watford Junction? Kings Cross and Finsbury Park?

  116. Anonymous says:

    Surely there is no problem in designating boundaries to NSE. It still exists @

  117. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 5 – to be strictly accurate the Overground brand did several things. It replaced the “Silverlink Metro” brand which had horrendous negativity attached to it; it replaced the Underground brand on the “core” East London Line and it supplanted the Southern brand on parts of National Rail that are now served by East London Line trains. It also brought TfL controlled rail services to parts of Hackney – one of the long term aims of the ELL project. Many of those things have a positive connotation so it is perhaps no surprise that the “Overground” is successful and people desparately want “Overground” trains in their areas.

    @ JM – I agree about Paris having a large rail network outside of the Metro and RER. I used to use the lines out of Gare du Nord when visiting friends. It always felt a bit “odd” to be using “the other railway”. However Transilien (SNCF Paris Suburban railways) have now extended colour coding and line lettering to the entire Parisian network to sit alongside the RER, Metro and Trams. There is now a more coherence to how the system is presented to the public.

    And isn’t it lovely how almost every thread of comments comes back to a ferocious debate about what should be on a map of the London rail system? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  118. Alastair Palmer says:

    @anonymous 4.34pm ‘The London Rail and Tube map is not simply a renaming of the London Connections map, it is a totally different design being produced by TfL rather than ATOC.’

    Not sure about that. When I got one earlier this week at Liverpool St, it was only available from the National Rail information point and has the NR name and logo on the front.

  119. Greg Tingey says:

    It is a “Map of theLondon Rail Syaytem”
    IT MUST HAVE ALL London’s rail services shown – if they don’t run late or weekends, then let that be shown also, by shading/colouring/whatever.
    Leaving bits out is NOT an option,because you are then making th exact same “no_thameslink” mistake as alluded to.
    It IS NOT A MAP of theLondon Rail System, is it?

    Quite frankly one needs two or three maps on one sheet:
    Zone 1 & 2 (ish)
    Zones 2-7 (Includes Watford,Epping, Dartford, Windsor(?)
    The whole of SE England

    Simples, job done.

  120. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 1634 / A Palmer – I am happy to be corrected but I believe the current Rail and Tube Map was one of the results of the “Rail Summits” held by Boris Johnson. He, perhaps foolishly, made reforming National Rail services a totem of his first term and then palpably failed to hold a much vaunted “rail summit” for months and months. This is presumably because there was a huge “behind the scenes” row about just what “control” the Mayor actually had. Nonetheless a summit was eventually held but not much of any substance happened from what I can recall. The new map was published to align with the eventual roll out of Oyster PAYG to NR lines across Greater London and was initially called something like the Oyster Rail services map.

    I believe the old London Connections Map actually showed something akin to service patterns from the respective termini and also the operator’s colour. Thus you could see where South Eastern trains ran to from Victoria or what stations FCC / Thameslink served. I think at some point there was also a “high frequency services” map which showed the NR lines / stations with at least 4 trains per hour but that concept didn’t last very long.

    I found a very old London Connections Map the other day. It dates from the early days of NSE and shows Thameslink as “under construction”. Strange to think of it not actually in use – how would PoP have kept himself busy back then? 😉

  121. peezedtee says:

    @Greg Tingey
    The “Map of the London Rail System” already exists, but the point is that it is not fit for the purpose we are discussing, which is to produce a replacement for the handy pocket-sized map (“Tube map”) that most people carry around with them and which is far and away the most widely distributed map. This would not purport to be a complete “Map of the London Rail System”, which can of course continue to be produced separately in its existing large fold-out form, if people want it. It would cover all stopping services (at least in, say, zones 1 and 2) that run to a turn-up-and-go, Tube-style frequency, irrespective of operator. It could be called something like “High-frequency tube and rail services”. There would be no need for it to include the outer extremities: Amersham and Chesham for instance wouldn’t qualify anyway because they have only a half-hourly service between the peaks.

  122. Anonymous says:

    Alistair, you are confusing a leaflet that includes the map with the map itself.

    A quick glance and the London Rail & Tube side with London and the South East Rail Services one should make it apparent they are produced by different bodies. The Rail & Tube one uses TfL’s New Johnston font and stations being shown as dashes sticking out from one side of the line, while the London and the South East map has semicircles on both sides for the stations and uses a different font.

    Here is the what I guess was the last ATOC London Connections map:

    And a London Rail and Tube map:

    The former, though not perfect, seems to aim for straight lines wherever possible while the latter has so many twists and bends you have have to follow along the lines with your eye (or fingers) rather than be able to see at a glance how two stations are connected.

  123. Steven Taylor says:


    Re London Connections Map

    I agree with your comments. I re-read my earlier post and it does not make sense as I was referring to the earlier map.

    Of course, the map has been completely redesigned & I agree for the worst. I suppose after over 50 years using the railways all around London, I do not really need a map as I know the Network so well but I like one in my rucksack just in case. I should not have done a quick post after 2 pints down the pub.

  124. Steven Taylor says:

    Re London Connection Map

    I have a copy of the latest AZ Master Atlas of Greater London, and it has a updated London Connections Map dated December 2011, which is a year after than the last paper version was available at stations. This includes last DLR extension and Overground extension Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington.Is this still produced somewhere?

  125. ChrisMitch says:

    We are back on the maps again! Hooray!

    @Anon 1805
    Both the maps you link to are atrocious aren’t they!
    Just the fact that both of them appear to downgrade the route from Clapham Junction to Victoria into a branch of the line to Olympia make them both pretty useless.

  126. Anonymous says:

    I think I leaked this to the site about a year ago! You read it here first

  127. Alan Griffiths says:

    John Bull09:25AM, 14th March 2013
    ” diamond “roundel” on the bay platform at Moorgate at the moment.”

    Yes, I saw one this afternoon.

  128. Anonymous says:

    To an extent TfL is a prisoner of the tube map, getting rid of it would be like drowning kittens, the roundel does give an assurance about a type of service – the most common question on the National Network is ‘does this train stop at …..?’ especially now that nearly everything is a multiple unit, and intending passengers continue to worry that the train is a semi fast and will sweep through the station without stopping – I would bring back London Country as a brand – but instead of buses use it for trains, thus all outer suburban services would be branded as London Country, everything inner suburban (including Overground) would be Metro and operated by TfL, the Metro services should be numbered and have fixed stopping patterns, number blocks could be allocated to different groups of services, the line numbers would be displayed at stations and on maps, the ‘heritage’ (that is the London Underground) would stay as it is.

  129. Valentine says:


    The platform logos as purple pyramids – stare into them and a green puff of smoke disipates to reveal: Abbey wood 3 mins.

    The front of the train arrives, like the nose of the wicked witch of the east.

    I hope the light design on the front of the train is friendly. Lights are like eyes, like on buses and cars. The train arrives with welcoming eyes and the cheshire smile of the Miyazaki cat-bus from My Neighbour Tortoro.

    The Heatherwick buses have blank eyes like docile androids. Bad!

  130. Anonymous says:

    “There was also yet another map, which I haven’t seen recently, showing all lines with a service above a certain frequency (possibly 15 minutes, I can’t remember). ”

    Probably the first one in this collection – you do remember correctly

  131. Staionless says:

    There is also NR’s own London & SouthEast Map, which is, to say the least, curious – not least in the way it shows the

  132. Paul says:

    All this talk about maps, presumably if that branch of the Northern line was still shown on the ‘tube map’ that piling rig mightn’t have drilled into the GN&C last week!

    Seriously doubt that professional civil engineers use drawings where someone in LU has deleted important information because it no longer belongs to them, unless anyone knows different of course…

  133. Anonymous says:


    “Round-cross-big-rail. ”

    Like it! Forward, friendly, in yer face!

    “The platform logos as purple pyramids – stare into them and a green puff of smoke disipates to reveal: Abbey wood 3 mins.”

    Hey, slick and graceful….

    “The front of the train arrives, like the nose of the wicked witch of the east.”

    Yeah I’ve been out with her!

    “I hope the light design on the front of the train is friendly. Lights are like eyes, like on buses and cars. The train arrives with welcoming eyes and the cheshire smile of the Miyazaki cat-bus from My Neighbour Tortoro.”

    Or a class 365

    “The Heatherwick buses have blank eyes like docile androids. Bad!”

    Bummer, man. Wrong side of the mushroom…

  134. timbeau says:

    Paul 0023

    many a true word spoken in jest


    (from the Finsbury Park thread)

  135. DW down under says:


    Paul’s 1st line was: “All this talk about maps, presumably if that branch of the Northern line was still shown on the ‘tube map’ that piling rig mightn’t have drilled into the GN&C last week!”

    I think he was referring precisely to that incident. Maybe ’twas just a tad early in the morning and the eyes were still getting their focus going for the day??? 🙂

    DW down under

  136. DW down under says:


    Then again, maybe I missed your point. My bad!

    It just goes to show, to quote: “Derbyshire specialist All Foundations … ” – what do they specialise in? Stupidity?

    It’s OK to drill into HS1? It’s OK to drill into a main line railway tunnel? It’s OK to drill into the old Post Office tunnels? It’s OK to drill into sewers and water mains? It’s OK to drill into underground munitions stores – Ka-boom !!! 🙂 But it’s NOT ok to drill into LU tunnels. Well at least they got one thing right.

    And I suppose there was a narchitect, a brain dead builder, a greedy developer and a slack local authority involved somewhere. BTPlod and friends’ report will certainly make interesting reading. I trust JB has set aside an edition of the Blog for that!

    DW down under

  137. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 22.06
    Almost. What we want is a “return” to the old SR headcode-system, where the code indicated the route. OR the train displays it’s individual TRN – which appear on the drivers worksheets /signalling panel- displays anyway.
    One could have a very simple system with letters for terminus, & a 3-digit code for service
    A Fenchurch St
    B Liverpool St
    C Kings Cross
    Ca Moorgate
    E St Pancras
    F Euston
    G Marylebone
    H Paddington
    I Victoria
    J a Charing X
    Jb Cannon St
    K London Bridge
    L Thameslink
    La Blackfriars terminators
    M Thames Tunnel/ELL
    Future Xr- services would, of course, be Xa, Xb, etc …..

    What about it?

  138. Greg Tingey says:

    Or, perhaps, more onomatapoaetically ….

    Fe Fenchurch St
    Li Liverpool St
    Kx Kings Cross
    Mo Moorgate (or Ku)
    St St Pancras
    Eu Euston
    Ma Marylebone
    Pa Paddington
    V Victoria
    Cx Charing X
    Cs Cannon St
    Lb London Bridge
    Sl Thameslink
    Bf Blackfriars terminators
    Tt Thames Tunnel/ELL
    Stratford terminators from the Lea Valley would probably have to be Ls

    Future Xr- services would, of course, be Xa, Xb, etc …..

    What about it?

  139. Sleep Deprived says:

    It’s difficult to say in advance but generally the best (publicly available) reports on incidents like the Moorgate one tend to come from the RAIB.

    It will be interesting to find out who signed off on the piling in that location…

  140. DW down under says:


    The headcodes are all very interesting. But what do you propose they be used for?

    At one point, we were grappling with making the multiple routes possible intelligible to an infrequent user, or a non-English speaking visitor.

    Allocating line Letters and Numbers might assist.

    As for terminating station, while some of our spellings might be as mysterious to visitors as theirs are to us, I think it better that it is displayed as fully as possible. And please don’t make Loughton, Loughborough Junction or Leicester Square a terminus!!!! 🙂

    I’d suggest that because there are more “core” main line local routes in London, that the alpha codes be allocated to them; and the numeric to the Underground.

    As the French have line 6bis and the like, so we can have line 2a or line Gb.

    Then I suggest that the remaining one or two digits out of 3 become the stopping pattern descriptor.

    I won’t try to use illustrations – I think you all are intelligent enough to form a mental picture. These numbers and letters DO NOT replace the line names, but are an overlay for the unfamiliar or non-English-speaker/reader.

    DW down under

  141. timbeau says:


    Paul pointed out the incident – I meant to highlight the last two paragraphs of the article in the link, which suggests that the surveyor’s research had indeed been somewhat desultory

    “Planning documents relating to the site at 99 East Road revealed that during earlier ground investigation one of two test 20m bore holes was stopped at 14m when it hit a man-made obstacle. The ground investigation report speculated that the structure possibly related to the London sewer network as there were no London Underground lines in close proximity to the site.”

    As I understand it, this incident was potentially considerably more serious than the Central Line incident 25 years ago or so. The drill in that incident was only a small one for taking soil samples, a few inches across but, hit by a tube train at full speed, did enough damage to the cab to write the vehicle off (and would undoubtedly have killed the driver if it had hit him). The drill in the Old Street incident looks to be much bigger, maybe a foot or more in diameter. The railway operators were very lucky to have the advance warning provided by the water leak.

  142. answer=42 says:

    On the subject of digging and finding the (fairly) unexpected, Crossrail itself is not immune:

  143. Mr Shape says:

    “Diamond Roundel.”

    Is that not contradiction in terms?

    Maybe it should be a Diamondel?

    Although, if you look at it carefully, it isn’t actually a diamond at all – it is a square.

    So should it be a squarel (or maybe even a sqariel, anyone remember them?

  144. Littlejohn says:

    Talking of digging and finding the unexpected, does anyone remember Quatermass and the Pit?

  145. Sleep Deprived says:

    It is actually possible to read the site location report (including the damning line about hitting a man made obstruction but there are no lul lines in proximity) on the council website on the planning permission page.

  146. Anonymous says:

    Sllep deprived

    is there a link? – I’m not even sure which council it is. (Looks it up) – it seems to be Hackney, which is said to be the only borough north of the river to have no Tube stations. (In fact three of the four entrances to Manor House are in the borough)

  147. Fandroid says:

    I suspect that the errant drillers, All Foundations, or whoever set out their drilling positions, will be clobbered under the (much maligned) Health & Safety legislation, not to mention some fairly serious damages claimed by Network Rail.

    They should just be glad they didn’t hit a National Grid cable tunnel!

  148. Anonymous says:

    Steven Taylor: “I have a copy of the latest AZ Master Atlas of Greater London, and it has a updated London Connections Map dated December 2011, which is a year after than the last paper version was available at stations. This includes last DLR extension and Overground extension Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington.Is this still produced somewhere?”

    I believe that was the last one produced. The Rail Summit Walthamstow Writer mentioned was in March 2011 of which one of the outcomes was “A new, clear and combined Rail and TfL Oyster map for London that will soon be appearing at rail and tube stations. Designed by TfL and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) following passenger research, the map replaces the train companies’ London Connections and TfL’s Oyster maps, making it easier for Londoners and visitors alike to navigate the city” (source: ATOC).

    As well as not being particularly clear, neither is it particularly new. It is simply TfL Oyster map but with the National Rail lines coloured by TOC rather than terminus, and the limited and peak only routes added (such as the London Bridge Wimbledon loop). I would love to see the research where passengers apparently complained they want to easily know who operates a train rather than where it goes.

    Presumably that December 2011 version was a final update to provide in advance to atlas makers and similar while the “new” one was being produced, hence no printed version of it. The map dates, obviously, being for the timetable period the map represents.

  149. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Quatermass and the Pit

    Yes fond memories of the mid-60s colour film palette & underground spaces when I saw it as a youngster in Canada. Probably kicked off my anglophilism, and my fear of insects.

  150. Greg Tingey says:

    Apparently, as the investigation train was approaching the site of thepreviously-noted water ingress ….

  151. Greg Tingey says:

    According to the published reports ….
    As they neared the point from which the water was gushing, a piling drill from the building site above the tunnel broke through the roof and crashed onto the line.

    The driver told the control room: “There was a tremendous amount of flashing… like a huge Roman candle.”
    Which tells you all ….
    That the broken-off auger bitts short-circuited the 750V third-rail – nust have been a good light-show!#
    I thnk the eventual RAIB report is going to make entertaining reading!

  152. DW down under says:


    Back to detail again, my good engineering friend. [Pedant mode on]

    On the GN&C it’s 650v DC.

    [Pedant mode off]

    Yes, indeed, good reading. I could find no mention in the planning application of how the footings/foundations were to be provided. That’s almost the first thing a local authority looks for down here!!

    DW down under

  153. Pete D says:

    Up here it’s building control’s job to check not the planning office to check footings which are covered bu building regulations

  154. Pete D says:

    Up here it’s building control’s job to check not the planning office’s job to check the proposed footings design, Plans submitted to BC are not made public.

  155. Fandroid says:


    thanks for the light-show information. I suspect a hit on a National Grid cable would have sent the drilling rig into orbit as well.

    It was careless of them to drop the bit into the tunnel. You would normally expect to be able to withdraw it, not to concrete it in as part of the rest of the piling. I suppose we should all be grateful that they did lose it. Otherwise, I can imagine them shoving a steel reinforcement cage down the hole and then pouring concrete after it.

  156. Anon5 says:

    Does a Photoshop whizz fancy taking the artist’s impressions of the Crossrail trains and giving them an LO-livery makeover with the orange stripe and doors coloured purple instead?

    A similar mock up of a DLR train in corporate livery appears here.

  157. Karl, Dover says:

    There is an obvious mistake with the ‘Tube and Rail Map’ in the visitor guide pdf. (dated summer 2012/13).

    Tottenham Court Road underground is Central Line only. There was a period when no Northern Line trains stopped there, but how long ago did that end?

    Oh, and no Overground line to Clapham Junction through south London.

    That apart, it’s a useful page to print and use.

  158. Graham Feakins says:

    This is the TfL ‘London Connections’ Map (showing as far as I can see everyting up-to-date):

  159. Anonymous says:

    Well not everything. It does not show the limited services from Streatham Hill to London Bridge via Tulse Hill, Clapham High Street to Kennsington Olympia, Beckenham Junction to Cannon Street, West Ruislip to Paddington or even c2c services going into Liverpool Street.

    But Karl was referring to the map in this leaflet:

    The map is dated June 2012 so showing the South London Line into Victoria rather than as an Overground breanch is correct, though the Northern Line closure at Tottenham Court Road was the previous summer so that is a glaring error. But at least is shows Haydons Road.

  160. Anonymous says:

    Not wishing to out-pedant DW down under, but documentation on the NR website (eg Gauge Capability Electric Multiple Units LNE Route) says Moorgate-Drayton Park is 750 V DC,

  161. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 02:01AM, 17th March 2013 wrote:

    “Not wishing to out-pedant DW down under, but documentation on the NR website (eg Gauge Capability Electric Multiple Units LNE Route) says Moorgate-Drayton Park is 750 V DC,”

    And NR’s ECML RUS states that it is 650v, which would be more consistent with tube systems. I think the reference in the gauge capability guide, the purpose of which is to establish route clearances for operations, is nominal rather than specific. (A bit like stating that units on the section should be suitable for 750vDC third rail operation.) But nonetheless, it shows that one NR hand doesn’t know what the other NT hand is doing. Is that something new? 🙂

    Hmmm ???

    DW down under

  162. Tim Burns says:

    Hmmm. The London Rail and Tube Services map should (in my view) colour National Rail lines by termini. This would probably give useful information to passengers, especially south of the river. Though as I write, I find myself wondering whether there would simply be lots of duplication.

  163. Ian J says:

    @Tim Burns. The earliest version of this map (when it was the “Oyster Services Map” did just that as can be seen linked to at the end of this post:

    I think it is a more helpful and passenger-focused approach than the current one, but presumably upset the TOCs who labour under the delusion that their “brands” matter.

  164. Anon5 says:

    I liked that map. If TfL ever takes over the role of “franchising” rail services in Greater London (and slightly beyond) I can see this style map making a comeback. It puts the focus on the terminal and not the operator.

  165. Anon5 says:

    Terminus not terminal lol.

  166. Anonymous says:

    The difference between TOC and terminal colouring in south London is actually not that great as it only applies to Victoria services, plus the Southern service from South Croydon to Milton Keynes.

    Waterloo services are all South West Trains ones, Charing Cross and Cannon Street ones are all southeastern, and Blackfriars are all First Capital Connect ones. Also all London Bridge terminating ones are Southern.

    So the difference really becomes whether Victoria services get their own colour, or share the respective southeastern and Southern ones. You also have to decide whether the outer South London Line is a Victoria or London Bridge service, for which the TfL Oyster map used the latter.

    Giving Victoria services their own colour means a lot of duplicated lines. Only Victoria to Lewisham, Balham and West Croydon to Sutton and beyond, and the the links between Balham and Streatham Common, and between Selhurst and East Croydon will be unique.

    And the South Croydon to Milton Keynes line duplicates others for its entire length, meaning triple lines in South London as but for those two connections mentioned it otherwise shares with both London Bridge and Victoria ones all the way from South Croydon to Clapham Junction.

    The problem with this duplication is it adds mess to what is an already messy design because of the refusal to move away from the tube map design. It also leads to a misleading impression of the routes with multiple lines having much heavier services than those with single lines.

    There are five parallel lines (not counting the Tramlink) between Selhurst, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, and West Croydon on the TfL Oyster map which are very difficult to follow. This compares to three on the Rail & Tube services one, but where Selhurst to East Croydon is separated from the two lines from Norwood Junction to West Croydon.

    For all the benefits of terminal colouring it also has drawbacks. On this particular map design the use of TOC colouring has simplified it significantly. And the first priority of a map should be to allow for route planning between any stations, not just to terminals.

    The terminal aim could just as easily be achieved by adding them to the station index. e.g. “West Coydon . . . . . . D6” could become something like “West Croydon (OG, VIC, LBG) . . . . . . D6”. That way you can still get an at-a-glance way of seeing which terminals any given station services while maintaining clarity on the map.

  167. Ian J says:

    “Blackfriars are all First Capital Connect ones”: Really? What about the South-Eastern services to Blackfriars, which are currently shown mysteriously merging into the Thameslink ones midway between Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations.

    “the first priority of a map should be to allow for route planning between any stations, not just to terminals”: but the first thing you need to know to do that is where the trains actually go. On the current map someone looking to travel to a station on the Hayes branch, for example, has no way of knowing where trains to the branch come from before Lewisham – they could go to any of London Bridge, Blackfriars and Victoria.

    The Selhurst/Croydon area is hard to compare directly because the service pattern changed with the opening of the East London Line Extension, but to my mind it is useful to be able to see on the Oyster map that, for example, East Croydon and Selhurst had a through service to Shepherd’s Bush but that Purley did not. Someone at Purley wanting to get to Shepherd’s Bush and using the Oyster map can see they should change at East Croydon: someone using the current map might be tempted to wait for a direct train that never comes.

    The Oyster map was not a masterpiece of cartography and the treatment of mutiple services along the same line was inconsistent, but the basic principle of multi-coloured lines representing services along the same line to different destinations is well understood because of the popularity of the Tube map. And I don’t think that people feel that, say, the northern half of the Circle line has a more frequent service, or is hard to understand, just because it has three colours running along it. Categorising services by where they go rather than who runs them implies that passengers’ journeys are more important than corporate organisation.

    I would be interested in whether user testing has ever been done to find out the proportion of map users who use the station index, either on this map or the tube map. I bet it is tiny. Would it be a better use of space to replace the station index on the Tube map with a central area tube and “National Rail frequent services” map?

  168. Antje says:

    Merge “Crossrail” and “Overground” and call it the “Suburban”. Sorted.

  169. Anonymous says:

    Really? What about the South-Eastern services to Blackfriars, which are currently shown mysteriously merging into the Thameslink ones midway between Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations.

    It is not that mysterious, they are actually southeastern services as far as Blackfriars from where First Capital Connect take them over. I accept you point on them, though. To the public they are Thameslink sevices, but the bureaucratically they are jointly operated.

    but the first thing you need to know to do that is where the trains actually go.

    Firstly, where people want to go could be anywhere on the network, not just a specific terminal. Secondly, neither map shows where trains go because even the terminal coloured ones showed a single line for everything rather than separating out each route.

    On the current map someone looking to travel to a station on the Hayes branch, for example, has no way of knowing where trains to the branch come from before Lewisham – they could go to any of London Bridge, Blackfriars and Victoria.

    They can. Just because two stations are not directly linked, it does not mean you cannot change trains.If you include the change at Lewisham there is effectively a 2tph service to Hayes from each of Victoria, Charing Cross, and Cannon Street. Obviously the Victoria route is less efficient, though it would be even if it had direct trains, but map colours offer no help in saying which is the shortest route.

    And sometimes the direct services are not the best. It is faster to get from Crystal Palace to London Bridge by going to Norwood Junction and changing onto a fast service that it is the direct train. Though the direct train via Forest Hill is much faster that the direct one via Tulse Hill, even though the map makes them look roughly the same.

    A map is not a timetable, and in general the National Rail network is not a turn-up-and-go one. Even in north London there are stations with only half-hourly services. Using a map in isolation to plan a journey is a terrible idea.

    The Selhurst/Croydon area is hard to compare directly because the service pattern changed with the opening of the East London Line Extension

    I was looking at the (final) March 2011 version which has the Overground to West Croydon.

    it is useful to be able to see on the Oyster map that, for example, East Croydon and Selhurst had a through service to Shepherd’s Bush but that Purley did not. Someone at Purley wanting to get to Shepherd’s Bush and using the Oyster map can see they should change at East Croydon: someone using the current map might be tempted to wait for a direct train that never comes.

    Do you really think that most people are that stupid, or just that the map should be dumbed down to suit the lowest common denominator with no regard to how well it serves the majority?

    But as per my earlier point, even a terminal-coloured map does not show routes. By your logic there will be people waiting all day at Epsom Downs for a train to Mitcham Junction (no shared trains) or at Anerley for Tattenham Corner (trains run fast).

    The TfL Oyster map also only shows normal weekday off-peak services. There are routes with just one train per day, or situations like Hayes where trains run fast from Ladywell to Charing Cross and slow via Lewisham to Cannon Street during the day, but flip during the peaks. After 7pm trains only serve Charing Cross. What you want the map to be able to do is impossible if you want it to remain usable.

    A map is not a timetable.

    And I don’t think that people feel that, say, the northern half of the Circle line has a more frequent service, or is hard to understand, just because it has three colours running along it.

    The service frequency on the Underground is irrelevant because it is a turn-up-and-go service, people expect that regardless of the number of lines shown on the map. That is very different to National Rail where frequency is a concern. It is not uncommon that you could arrive at a station to find yourself having to wait half an hour, or even an hour for the next train to anywhere.

    Between Selhurst and East Croydon stations there are just 3tph, yet the use of two lines for them gives the perception a reasonably regular services.

    Categorising services by where they go rather than who runs them implies that passengers’ journeys are more important than corporate organisation.

    I do not disagree, though when it comes to the Overground many are happy to apply a double standard. But then I never said TOC colouring is in itself is a good thing, only that in the case of the transformation of the TfL Oyster map into the Rail and Tube one it made a great improvement to clarity and usability. And that as a compromise between the tangled mess it was, and the difficulty of navigating a map where lines are not separated at all it performs reasonably well at many major junction stations of clarifying routes.

    I would be interested in whether user testing has ever been done to find out the proportion of map users who use the station index, either on this map or the tube map. I bet it is tiny. Would it be a better use of space to replace the station index on the Tube map with a central area tube and “National Rail frequent services” map?

    I apologize for returning to those on the Purley platform, but I would imagine there are far fewer of them than there are people using the map index. Again though it is misleading to say that because people are not using the index now when it has no extra information that they would no do so if it did convey something useful.

    The way railway service information and routes, especially in south London, is provided is in general terrible. And this is compounded by the fact that stations can be on different routes for peak, daytime, evening, and Sundays. Having a single map to be everything to everyone and still be useable is impossible.

    Personally I would love to see a single simplified network map supplemented by a series of local route maps. Similar to how the bus network uses a combination of a road map and local spider maps. Something like the final ATOC Oyster map, which does not separate TOCs or terminals so it is just single, and usually straight, lines connecting everywhere to give an overview of the network. Then tube style maps for different parts of London with separate route lines so you can see which stations connect directly and where to change. A single map on that scale would be far too cumbersome, but breaking it down into areas should make it workable.

  170. Anonymous says:

    In response to all these comments on maps, usability, purpose and information pollution and the like, may I recommend the ‘Tube Map Central’ site:

    Very interesting, as is the accompanying book. Slightly design, rather than transport orientated though, although this is quite clearly stated as the aim of the book.


  171. Sleep Deprived says:

    To answer an earlier query, the planning application for the building whose piling rig hit the GN&C lines can be found here:

    The link to the report is given on that page, it is: Readers may want to skip to page 11.

  172. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Sleep Deprived

    Very interesting. The key words for me? “Further investigation into the structure will be required prior to any piling design.”

  173. Ian J says:

    @anonymous: I accept that skip-stop and fast-slow service patterns mean that no map can perfectly convey the pattern of services (the Metropolitan Line on the Tube map has the same limitation), but colouring by train operator causes exactly the same problem, as well as the one you mention about it sometimes being faster to change or go by a different route.

    Line colour is just one dimension of information on a map, but colour is one of the most important tools available to the map designer to convey information because the human mind picks out patterns in different colours very easily. So the question is, what information should be conveyed with colour? I would argue that the particular train operating company which operates a service is probably the least important of all the pieces of information a map can convey to a passenger. The “joint” SouthEastern/Thameslink services are a case in point: do 99% of the passengers even realise that their train operating company changes as they pass from Blackfriars to City Thameslink? Do they care?

    “Do you really think that most people are that stupid, or just that the map should be dumbed down to suit the lowest common denominator with no regard to how well it serves the majority”

    How are you defining the majority here? Apart from anything, a majority of passenger journeys on the South London rail network involve a London terminal.

    By definition maps are for people who do not know how to get to where they want to go. So yes, they should be “dumbed down” to the point that people who do not know what services are available or how they fit together can deduce from a map roughly how to get where they want to go. Yes, they will ideally supplement this with reference to a timetable, but if you are standing on a platform with probably only a limited range of destinations available on the timetable posters and three trains in different directions on the departure board, any clue is better than no clue. “You must change at East Croydon to get from Shepherd’s Bush to Purley” is a useful piece of information. It is information that is conveyed by the old Oyster map and not by the new map.

    Not knowing that information is not “dumb”, it is being badly informed, and if passengers are not well informed it is not their fault, it is the fault of the information available to them. No map can convey the full complexity of South London’s service patterns, but maps that convey more information have to be better than maps that convey less, even if at first glance they look more complex. My instinct is that people are pretty good at following dintinctly coloured lines even through complex junctions.

    @anonymous 2: Thanks for the link to Maxwell Roberts’ site. Interesting quote: “asking people what they like and dislike about maps will not tell you how quickly and accurately they can use maps to plan their journeys. If you want to know whether a map is easy to use, don’t convene a focus group or devise a questionnaire. Ask people to plan journeys and time them, and record their errors”

    To return to the question further up the thread, what user testing did ATOC or TFL do to convince them this was a better map than the previous one?

  174. Anonymous Duck says:

    It was to me like a Red Flag

    “Further investigation into the structure will be required prior to any piling design.”

    But it could have been intend to mean OR intrepreted in three ways.
    catch all, limit liability.

    If you pile you have to look at this local area.

    If you pile you have to do a full non destructive survey of entire area.

    As an old suspicious engineer, this would go to the top of the risk register!?

  175. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ Ian Sergeant

    Tbf to the report writers, it wasn’t a bad report as such. You could see where their specialisms lay in the way it is written, I doubt they had any inkling there was a railway there.

  176. timbeau says:

    ” I doubt they had any inkling there was a railway there.”

    The report does mention the possibility – but it seem the people doing the piling didn’t follow the recommendation

  177. peezedtee says:

    @Anon 11:42 18/03 “A map is not a timetable, and in general the National Rail network is not a turn-up-and-go one. Even in north London there are stations with only half-hourly services. Using a map in isolation to plan a journey is a terrible idea.”

    But the kind of map I want to see is for precisely those services for which you DO NOT NEED a timetable, i.e. that run sufficiently frequently to be turn-up-and-go, the question whether they are National Rail or not being irrelevant from the passenger’s point of view. The only NR services covered would be those with an all-day frequency of at least every 15 minutes (if that is the definition you choose, though I personally don’t really think a 15-minute gap is good enough to be called turn-up-and-go but it is regularly described as such by London Overground).

    We who take this view want it to be a replacement for the Tube Map, and the passenger would apply to it the same expectations as to the Tube Map now, i.e. they assume (a) that they can turn up and go without looking at a timetable (which is why the outer reaches of the Metropolitan ought not to be on the Tube Map), and (b) that all trains call at all stations, except where otherwise stated.

    It is true that not many NR services qualify, but I thought it was the few that do qualify that we were talking about.

  178. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Sleep Deprived

    Agreed, this looks like it’s been written by chemists. I would have thought though that the planning officer, on reading that paragraph, would have insisted that no work take place until appropriate maps had been consulted. This appears not to have been the case.

  179. timbeau says:

    @Ian S
    “Agreed, this looks like it’s been written by chemists”
    So was “Reshaping Britains Railways”

    “But the kind of map I want to see is for precisely those ………with an all-day frequency of at least every 15 minutes ”

    The old “Overground Network” map did exactly that: showed all 4+tph services in London

    This is the south London part, which shows
    Waterloo to Hounslow via Brentford, to Staines, to Teddington via Kingston, to Surbiton, and to Epsom,
    Victoria to Epsom, to Sutton via Norbury and West Croydon, to East Croydon via Norbury, to Crystal Palace, to Bromley South via Sydenham Hill, and to Peckham Rye
    Blackfriars to Streatham via Herne Hill and to East Croydon (non stop from London Bridge)
    London Bridge to Crystal palce via Tulse Hill, and to Reedham via Forest Hill
    Charing Cross/Cannon Street to Dartford via Greenwich, to Crayford, to Blackheath and to Hayes

    It results in some oddities, like the apparent termini at Crayford, Crystal Palace Streatham, Teddington and Hounlsow, in each case because a 4tph splits there into 2x2tph .

    If there was a matching North London version I have been unable to find it

    Surely it would not be impossible to show NR lines on the tube map, for example as a narrower line (about the width of the border used on the DLR perhaps) They could all be one colour – the only need is to show that a more direct route may exist than by using TfL’s offerings.

  180. peezedtee says:

    Yes, that’s exactly the sort of thing required. I wonder why this useful map was never distributed? Or to put it another way, what was the purpose of going to the trouble of designing and producing it if the public never got to see it?

  181. Anonymous says:

    It was distributed, I still have a copy of it. It never lasted though because the Overground Network scheme did not go beyond the pilot and was eventually dropped completely.

    Instead a map was produced (the current Rail and Tube one) to show high frequency services. This used black outlined lines for National Rail lines and station names with a minimum of 4tph, and grey outlines and text for others. It even replaced sections of Underground lines that had a lower frequency with similarly hollow outlined versions in the line colour rather than the usual solid colour.

    I am not sure if this was distributed as it was only a TfL map, but it was used as station posters.

  182. Ian J says:

    @Anonymous: the all-London high frequency services map is still online at . It doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2009, has some odd visual glitches and inaccuracies (I’m pretty sure Radlett has 4tph through the day), and it is less clear than the Overground Network version partly because it doesn’t colour code the National Rail lines by terminal. It feels like a half-completed project that was abandoned when the ATOC-TFL agreement came in.

  183. timbeau says:

    The Radlett anomaly also appears at other borderline stations – unless a lot of trains are mysteriously terminating one stop short of Epsom, Dartford, Shenfield etc. Curiously, the NR fast service to Watford Junction is shown as 4+tph over the border, as is the Met (although the arrangements at Chalfont are out of date)

  184. peezedtee says:

    I wish the powers that be would update that map (most obviously with London Overground) and reissue it. A pocket version could include just the central area, say roughly zones 1 and 2 or slightly beyond. The pocket version should then be printed in vast numbers and widely distributed instead of the present Tube map.

    My main quibble with it would be that 4 trains per hour is not always the same thing as every 15 minutes.

  185. Ian J says:

    An yes, remember that. Quite liked it and it worked on the whole – in my view. Thanks for the link.

  186. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: You are right, the borderline must indicate only 4tph services within Greater London. Another odd choice and one not indicated in the key, which does find space for the mysterious statement, highlighted in red, “Underground and DLR trains run every 5 to 10 minutes throughout the day from most stations in central London”, which is wrong on several levels.

    (and just to clarify that I didn’t leave the comment above this one, not that it matters)

  187. timbeau says:

    Two more concepts for “improved” tube maps

    The second one shows NR lines as well, in a manner similar to the way I suggested earlier

  188. Fandroid says:

    A good debate here. I side with the notion that ‘poorly informed’ is not the same as ‘dumb’. London has a fantastic asset in its rail network, but it is very complex. Very many people are new to the city. They can probably cope with the Tube map because it’s similar to those in loads of cities worldwide. What they (and many Londoners) find challenging is the surface rail network and how it fits in with the Tube.

    The London Overground concept is a very successful attempt to make some of that surface network comprehensible to Joe (or Jose) public. I suspect that the only way to make it all understandable is a form of online mapping where the punter can switch in and out of the features he/she needs. Perhaps someone should launch a cloudsourcing competition to see what comes up and what is most successful for ordinary users.

  189. peezedtee says:

    @Fandroid “What they (and many Londoners) find challenging is the surface rail network and how it fits in with the Tube.”

    …. or even being aware that it exists at all!

  190. Fandroid says:

    The two maps that timbeau gives links to are really only variations on the Tube map. Harry Beck seems to have started an eternal competition between graphic designers all trying to put their own mark on his original. The greater challenge is to make the whole lot more comprehensible, not prettier!

    Thinking about it a bit more since my last post, I wonder if a lot more cannot be made of branding. (Like London Overground). Currently, each NR station is branded (or not!) in the colours of the franchise that is responsible for cleaning it (cynicism alert). Would it not help the new punter to have each station badged, reasonably prominently, with the logos of every franchise/concession/direct operator that runs services from it? At least it would then link with that London Rail map. Even the LO branding is limited in its usefulness. I haven’t checked, but I assume that the non-LO stations on the South London Line, such as Denmark Hill, don’t have an LO roundel prominently displayed outside (nor a Thameslink/FCC one). I know those franchisees are only temporary tenants, but perhaps clear branding is another argument for a better system. As it is, we are lumbered with the National Rail symbol, which is fine in, say Ipswich, but is only very marginally useful in London.

  191. Andrew says:

    Merseytravel don’t distinguish between “their own” and “other people’s” railway lines on their map.

  192. Fandroid says:

    I find that Merseytravel map a bit confusing, especially the City Line. It suggests that one branch includes services to London!

  193. timbeau says:


    What’s wrong with that? Some London Midland and Virgin services between Liverpool and Runcorn do indeed continue to London – just as some services between Charing Cross and Waterloo East continue to Dover. It is a Merseytravel map, showing all train services in Merseyside – including, but not exclusively, those operated by Merseyrail (the Wirral Line and the Northern Line). particular This is exactly what is being suggested is needed for London – a Travelcard is valid on Thameslink between Elstree and East Croydon, but most Londoners, let alone tourists, ae oblivious to the fact.

    The Korean map above suggests one way of showing non-TfL services – not sure I like the overall style, but the inclusion of NR services as narrower/fainter lines is something that could be made to work on the tube map.

  194. Fandroid says:


    I was expecting a local services map. Neither Virgin nor London Midland badge their services as City Line.

  195. Anonymous says:

    They don’t brand as city line but they both provide local services, just as they both do within the West Midlands. The map demonstrates what the destinations of trains could be. The city line also extends to Blackpool which is hardly “local” to Liverpool, but there is an hourly train through St Helens and Wigan so it appears on the map as part of the City Line. In fact I’m not sure but I don’t think any operator brands their trains as City Line, provided as they are by East Midlands, TPE and Northern as well as London Midland and Virgin.

  196. Fandroid says:

    ‘In fact I’m not sure but I don’t think any operator brands their trains as City Line’.

    Which makes me wonder why Merseytravel has invented City Line at all. Looking at their website it’s a concept invented to describe all services from Lime Street that serve destinations out as far as Crewe, Manchester and Blackpool. It’s not really needed, as they could still happily describe the timetable booklets they provide as ‘Other services to Blackpool, Manchester, Warrington and Crewe’. I was at least half expecting yellow trains with big ‘M’s on them. But the reality is that it’s even more complicated than London in that one terminus (and one theoretical ‘line’) is served by no less than six franchises (and that doesn’t include Merseyrail).

    I’m not against the idea of grouping all services that serve one terminus, but I think it’s confusing to call them a ‘line’ without some major attempt to make all the trains carry some identification that relates them to that ‘line’. The idea is half-way there but the final pieces are missing.

    Which brings us back to the confusion that exists for National Rail services in London. There really ought to be some branding that identifies trains that serve people travelling within the Oystercard area, plus service numbers, headcodes, whatever, to make the stopping pattern clear. They don’t have to be dominated by the branding, just carry an appropriate logo (just like those that financial sponsors insist on). It doesn’t have to apply to all trains. For instance, SW mainline trains stop outside the peak at Clapham Junction (up trains for alighting only and down trains for boarding only). They shouldn’t count, but just about all trains on the Windsor lines should, because they provide a service for people to travel within London.

    It’s a massive problem, but the assembled brains of Tfl ought to be able to find a way to make it work, and it would quite inexpensive compared with buying new trains or laying new track (or painting the trains orange). It’s difficult to see why Tfl couldn’t just get on with trying to make the National Rail services in London more comprehensible, even if it meant upsetting the franchises and their lovers in Dft.

  197. timbeau says:

    Merseytravel subsidises the Northern Rail services within its area, and brands the City Line stations, – this is Rainhill I don’t think it bands any trains, as no services work entirely within the Merseytravel area.
    In the same way, SYPTE had one or two Class 114 units branded in its livery, despite the entire fleet being based in Lincoln and working, as well as the Sheffield service, as far away as Skegness.

    Going back further, various items of Underbround stock were jointly owned with the LTSR (H stock), GWR (original H&C stock) and LNER (1938 stock) because of complex ownership issues of the lines they worked over

  198. Fandroid says:

    Thanks timbeau.

    So Merseytravel should probably not brand the lines to Manchester, Blackpool and Crewe as City Line once leave the Merseytravel area (Clearly shown on their rail map). The only thing they seem to provide for those outer services are timetables. Additionally, it’s very confusing to show the WCML south of Crewe in the red colour of City Line, when they don’t even publish timetables for services beyond Crewe. I don’t think my interest would have been aroused if they hadn’t included that misleading feature on their overall rail map (but it’s not repeated on the individual timetable map).

    They probably should make up their minds as to what lines are City Line, as the overall map shows Warrington Bank Quay to Chester and Ellesmere Port in grey, but the individual timetable cover for those services colours those lines in City Line Red.

    I know this isn’t a forum for discussing West Lancashire and Northwest Cheshire, but these slightly careless applications of branding illustrate the care needed when providing rail information to the public, and the principle applies to London as much as it does to NW England.

  199. Fandroid says:

    Anyway, back to the topic:

    Exam Question 1:

    Should Crossrail have its own separate branding or should it be branded as part of London Overground? Discuss from the point of view of the rail user, not the operator. Take these points into consideration in your answer: The similarities of ticketing, frequency, rolling stock, use of National Rail stations. The limited connectivity between Crossrail and LO routes. The multitude (8) of distinct services (with no individual identity) on London Overground. The number of distinct services planned for Crossrail. The limited stop services planned for part of Crossrail. Would the rail user be confused by yet another brand which utilises Oystercard?

  200. Greg Tingey says:

    [ In direct response to the two actual questions asked ….. ]
    The confusion arises, even/especially now given Thameslink, which is NOT shown on LU maps, but is shown on the London Connections/Londn Rail system one, oops.

    The real problem is that London is so BIG.
    It’s the largest city in Europe, let’s face it, & there are the outer suburban & outer-commuter routes {Network SE in fact ] to consider as well
    Like I suggested before, we really need three maps, especially if you are considering visitors:
    Zones 1 & 2
    Zones 2 – 7 (“7” being taken to mean places like Epping, Watford, Dartford, possibly Windsor)
    Zones 6 – NSE limits
    If you are talking about “just” London, then the first two alone will do nicely.

    So … NO, NOT AT ALL, ANY “frequency” indication in the plan ….
    Show services inside London that don’t take Oyster differently & less obviously.
    Make it VERY clear that all the other services DO take Oyster – as noted by others, lots of people do not realise that Oyster works for (Almost) everything inside London ……

  201. stimarco says:


    That’s the hard part. The easy part is saying that.

    I think it’s a good idea sometimes to look at public transport infrastructure in the context of the time it was built. For example, south of Catford, there was nowt but fields until you reached Bromley. That remained the case well into the 1920s. Then came the massive inter-war housing boom, with tens of thousands of new homes being built.

    But people forget how much smaller London was when the London & Greenwich Railway was built: when constructed, it was mostly built through open countryside. Until the early 1900s, New Cross and Lewisham were decidedly rural in character. (Some of the few surviving photos of Lewisham Road station during its brief time as an actual station clearly show rolling hills with trees in the background, and that was in the late 1880s.)

    That people found London’s transport network complicated enough at the time for Harry Beck’s diagrammatic map to become so popular makes it clear that we will probably need an equally new, innovative, approach to make sense of what’s there today.

    For example, I think only two overview maps may be needed, one for visitors who want to get to a specific part of Greater London, and one for tourists, which focuses on major tourist attractions and connections. Luckily, most of London’s tourist hotspots are conveniently inside Zones 1 and 2, so you get two for one there.

    The “Greater London” map would be, basically, a big, diagrammatic image of London’s Boroughs. These would be drawn faintly, with the river running through more or less accurately, and the lot ringed by a faint, vaguely accurate M25.

    And that’s it. No actual *lines* at all.

    Instead, what you do is simply list the stations in each Borough, along with a reference to the terminus/i it’s served by. You position each name roughly in the right place, with a symbol denoting whether it’s a Tube service, (e.g., a green roundel with ‘District’ printed on the bar), or a “National Rail” service, or whatever. For the latter, the London terminus could either be named in full (for larger format maps), or simply abbreviated to a letter or two, along with any relevant notes, with a key at the bottom of the map, for smaller pocket maps.

    Examples (not necessarily accurate):

    “Bromley South – [Victoria, Blackfriars]”,
    “St. Johns – [CS, CC*]”, (* = ‘limited services’)

    Where both TfL and National Rail systems interchange, you’d have something like “[Crossrail 1 logo] Heathrow Central [also P]”

    (Note that the TOC isn’t named at all; you don’t want to have to redo the maps every time a franchise changes hands, and the TOC’s name isn’t relevant anyway.)

    London’s commuter trains typically have a full route map on-board, so why duplicate all that detail everywhere else too? TfL services are particularly up-front with theirs, but even Southeastern put a map up next to the doors. I haven’t used Southern or C2C, but I do recall Great Eastern and First Great Western putting similar maps in their trains when I used them some years ago. I’m assuming this is still the case. (Make this a franchise / concession requirement if necessary.)

    For the Central Connections map, you revert to the Beckian diagrammatic lines map, but you emphasise interchange stations and major tourist stops (with suitably cheesy icons).

    On large-format maps on station walls, all intermediate stations are shown, but given less prominence; on the ‘pocket’ maps, intermediate stations inside the ‘tourist zone’ get a ‘notch’ and their name printed in small text. All other intermediate stations get just that ‘notch’ and nothing more; tourists don’t care about them and locals already know where they are and how to get there. (People visiting relatives would have that big map at the station to look at and are unlikely to want to buy a tourist-focused booklet for a journey they only need to learn once.)

    Given the LO runs in a big ring around central London, that would be the outer limit of the map to the west, while Stratford is probably a better limit to the east, and would help balance Clapham Junction.

    Or, and this would certainly be my preference…

    Put up some big touch-screen displays at every station. As you zoom out, the detail of the map drops less important stations. As you zoom in, all the detail comes back. Zoom in close enough and you can even see a street map surrounding the station you’re focusing on. Job done.

    Granted, the displays would probably have to be bullet-proof, vomit-proof and idiot-proof, but I think the first two can be solved. Not sure about the idiots.

  202. stimarco says:

    Perhaps an additional advantage of the touch-screen approach is that they can also show live data about the line, such as any service problems and even where the trains are.

  203. DW down under says:

    @ Stimarco

    re: Map showing Boroughs and naming stations

    First of all, to a visitor and a tourist, London Boroughs are as alien as the inherited spaghetti tangle of routes SoR. I don’t think they’re a valid basis for presenting useful information.

    Secondly, not all folk are travelling to a terminal station. And with cross-town routes, which include most of LUL plus TL plus Crossrail, there isn’t a terminal at all – or multiple served. It becomes important to know which line(s) connect one’s origin and destination. You can’t get away from including line of route on a map.

    Sure Smart Phone apps can make the data quite accessible, and so do GPS route finders. But, there’s always the residual need for a graphical representation over a wider scale than the micro-screen of a Smart Phone or Pad.


    DW down under

  204. timbeau says:

    @DW “First of all, to a visitor and a tourist, London Boroughs are as alien as the inherited spaghetti tangle of routes SoR. I don’t think they’re a valid basis for presenting useful information.”

    Certainly agree with this – very few people even in London know about much more than their own and maybe the next neighbouring borough. Indeed, many still think they are in Surrey, etc.

    For example, when I was looking up the planning documents relecant to the recent unauthorised attempt to dig a new branch off the Northern City Line, I had to consult a map to see which borough Old Street is in.

    Many of the inner London boroughs in particular are long thin things having little cohesion from one end to the other – indeed they look as if they were deliberate shotgun marriages of wealthier and less well-off areas.

  205. Anonymous says:

    Re Merseyrail City Line

    Two thoughts

    1 Historically Merseyrail had plans to link (some) City line services to Northern Line via junction south of Central station. No funding as yet but hey whats 40 years or so…?

    2 If City line was removed from the map how would us scousers know where the validity of our travel cards/passes ran out..?

  206. Fandroid says:

    I like the idea of a big touch-screen at stations. I suspect that they would be quite popular, and someone in a hurry might have to shoo off those who just want to play! I really like the notion of being able to zoom in to get street-map detail. Berlin’s ‘City Map’ on the BVG website takes you right down to street map detail, and is overlaid with all transport routes (S-Bahn, U-Bahn, RB, Tram, Bus) with their numbers and every stop is named).

    I have long wondered why TOCs have not provided terminals at stations linked exclusively to journey planners and service updates. (ie their own websites!). Mobile technology is fine, but the screen size limits the info and not everyone has one (yet).

    I too am dubious about the usefulness of showing London boroughs. No political boundaries were ever very clear in most people’s minds. At best they are aware of nebulous ‘districts’ and their district centres.

    It’s difficult to put ourselves in the minds of others, but part of the aim should be to encourage everyone to use the rail network to the full, so graphics-based systems should be available that will provide answers to just about all the questions, including frequency (as an option for those who want to know).

    My Exam question about the roundels was a serious one. Is there a good reason why Crossrail shouldn’t be branded along with London Overground? Do we need yet another concept?

  207. David P says:


    re: I have always wondered if you can build another entrance at Hanwell towards the Uxbridge Rd. Given the high traffic on the Uxbridge Rd each day, I’ve always thought the lack of accessibility must be the reason for the poor frequency.

    Yes, having no southern entrance at Hanwell certainly discourages passengers from Hanwell town centre – quicker to just get the bus to Ealing Broadway. They closed off the southern entrance some years back due to “unsociable behaviour” – not that I have seen much of that at all in Hanwell..
    I do seriously hope that having the Roundel will be a sign that they will take the idea of “turn up and go” timetable seriously and have more than a half-hour frequency at Hanwell – giving it a TfL type logo is somewhat misleading otherwise, as it would hardly be a “metro” service. If I knew there would be a train every 15 minutes that would whisk me through central London, and didn’t have to take extra 12-15 minute walk around the station to reach its northern entrance, I’d certainly head to the station instead of the bus.

  208. Sleep Deprived says:

    Surely if the Overground is the big circle around central London (which looks like a big O) then crossrails name should be a bar. Then when you make the overground symbol a big O, and the crossrail symbol a bar (-) this means Crossrail and the Overground combined need no name (on the roundel) as they look like a complete roundel symbol in themselves! All you need is the Overground orange on the circle and the crossrail purple on the bar.

    Although if you do this you may want to change the bar to another colour, possibly also orange? Actually if you make the bar orange then an orange bar could be the crossrail symbol and an orange circle the overground symbol. Together they are then the symbol for London Rail. Any thoughts?

  209. Anonymous says:

    All rail lines should have just one symbol at their stations – this is the sign today called the National Rail symbol – also known as the sign for British.Rail.

    What we are seeing in London is jus a silly excercise in branding

    On their journey planner, TfL have already divided rail into two categories – “rail” and “overground – completely stupid – as you can’t combine the two. Will we now see a third: “crossrail”?

    Crossrail stations should just use the.NR symbol – that way people will know what it is (especially tourists): a RAiIl statipn

  210. timbeau says:

    The trouble with the NR symbol is that it gives no indication of the type of service available. Is it a Teeside Airport, (one train a week) or a Stratford International (trades descriptions action pending) or a Kings Cross (long distance trains a speciality) or a Lewisham (hub of the SE suburban network)? The Merseyrail symbol helps to show that local merseypasses are acepted, and may indicate a certain level of service. This was also the idea behind the (rather half-hearted) “ON” scheme on a few lines in South London – a TfL-sponsored idea to indicate NR services with at least 4tph. with little support from the TOCs (why spend money advertising a service where you already have 100% of a captive market? – no amount of money spent will increase your market share – nor will letting the service deriorate lose you any market share: far better to line the pockets of the shareholders)

  211. Malcolm says:

    Touch screens at stations.

    Might work some of the time, but whenever it gets busy I can just imagine the queues. An ordinary paper (or enamel) map does have the great advantage that any number of people can look at it simultaneously without mutual interference!

  212. Sleep Deprived says:

    If you had a large map (a digital screen) that could work well as a map for numerous people and also indicate which sections have issues. This would be particularly useful on weekends!

  213. DW down under says:

    @ Anonymous

    ISTR that many stations back in the day had the BR double arrow, the Roundel and the NSE three stripes symbol. I wasn’t in any way confused.

    But I think if you started to hoist up several roundels of different colour combinations, that’s a different thing.

    Generally, while I appreciate that TfL wish to make distinctions between their Corporate components, this should not be confused with providing meaningful information to travellers.

    What the LO branding does is say: “This doesn’t LOOK any different to a service on National Rail … BUT TfL runs it and it has (well, WJ excepted) an LUL type service.”

    For TfL to distinguish “Rail” from “LO” is, as suggested above and I agree, plain stupid. Clear distinction of services provided by Tube (little trains), SSL (big trains with lots of doors) and LO (trains that look like National Rail trains) would be meaningful in helping customers make visual identification of the service they wish to use. This becomes a real mess when you add Crossrail (big trains, lots of doors, but look like NR trains and go to stations that NR go to too). That’s when it all falls down, and SSL, LO and CR basically all become frequent “big trains”.

    Hmmm – oh what a tangled web has been woven (and just for once, I’m not talking about SoR spaghetti).

    DW down under

  214. alan blue mts Aust. down under says:

    while off topic any truth in vague comments I have heard that crossrail tbm have encountered skeletons in area at Charterhouse Square believed to be 14th century black death victims

  215. Littlejohn says:

    @alan blue mts Aust. down under

    Here is a link:

  216. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Here is a more obvious link. The pictures are quite detailed.

    It wasn’t a TBM that encountered it. It was as a result of carefully planned excavations in area known or suspected to have buried bodies.

  217. alan blue mts Aust. down under says:

    thanks for update, I find this a very interesting site but not up with the London geogeaphy to fully appreaciate some of the comments and articles fully

  218. Anonymous says:

    Sebastian Faulks’ 2010 novel A Week in December (a good read, with one of the main characters being a Circle line driver) talks about catching the overground (no capital) to south of the Thames, or west to Drayton Green.

    If I were TfL, I think I’d apply common branding to both Under- and Overground – they’re both turn-up-and-go services. To most passengers LO being part of National Rail will be irrelevant, and Mr Faulks’ usage indicates that the LO brand is already suffering from erosion.

  219. timbeau says:

    LO brand is not so much suffering from erosion, as a poor choice of branding because the term “overground” has been in common usage for National Rail services for many years, and has been used as branding several times before.

    You get a lot of confusion at places like Moorgate, where the line to Finsbury Park is under the ground, and is what most people would have called an “overground” line. But it is not part of the “Underground” or the “Overground”.

    To a passenger there is no real difference between the Underground and the Overground, the only differences are cosmetic (the colour of the doors) and technical (the method of current collection – LU: 4-rail, LO: anything else).

  220. DW down under says:

    @ Timbeau

    Actually, LO collects current from “anything else” plus the 4-rail system – as Anonymous @ 01:27AM, 29th March 2013, who posted under the Beeching Freight article, points out.

    LO units collect DC current where 4-rail is in use on the Richmond line (NLL, District), DC lines south of Harrow & Wealdstone, etc. So, it’s even harder to define the differences on that basis. In fact, it begs the question why S stock wasn’t ordered for the LO operations – with multi-voltage capability of course.

    The only REAL difference is that (private JV-owned) LOROL holds the concession to operate LO, so there are different legal lines of accountability. Should have negligible impact on pax.

    DW down under

  221. Anonymous says:


    Actually, the only real LO/LU difference is that while LO is part of the National Rail network (except for the Thames tunnel!) and used by multiple operators, LU is neither, operating almost exclusively on its own tracks – and that’s an operational, organisational and legal biggie.

    But I do agree that from a passenger point of view they should be the same. There are undoubtedly technical issues about S stock operating on NR, but why not at least have a common heavy-rail livery and identity, LO becoming a sort of new District/Circle/H&C? It’s no more complex than that trio, and could easily be marketed similarly, eg DC/N-WLL/ELL (or similar).

  222. timbeau says:

    There is no negative pickup shoe on a 378, so LO doesn’t use the fourth rail, even though it may indeed be present at Richmond, Wembley Central etc – any more than the Goblin service uses the OHLE at South Tottenham.
    A handful of SWT services also run on the 4-rail section through East Putney, but they are not using the 4th rail either.

    Of course, historically the Underground has used various traction systems – the CSLR, GN&C and the Central Line all kept their original systems for some time after joining the Underground organistion, and of course steam was also used until 1960.

  223. Anonymous says:

    @Anon 0851
    The profusion of different branding must be terribly confusing to the unintitiated – there is really no consistent difference in service between LO and LU, and many mainline services.
    Frequency? The service at Rotherhithe is every bit as good as at Fulham Broadway, and LO provides a better service than LU at Olympia!

    Type of train? S stock closely resembles a 378, and is nothing like a 2009 stock.

    Type of service? The Met is an outer suburban service overtaking a stopping LU service, similar to C2Cs or LM’s offereings. the Northern City line is an inner suburban tube servicem, but is run by NR.

    Fare structure? LU and LO share a fare structure, but so do some main line services. Why does it cost the same to get from Liverpool Street to Stratford whether you use NR or LU, but not if you travel from Wimbledon to Blackfriars? Why three different fares from Lewisham to Kings Cross depending on route?

    No, the differences can only be defined in terms of management and ownership, which is really of no interest to the clientele. They just want to mark their territory.

  224. tubeboy1994 says:

    I think, just like Crossrail is based on the Paris RER system, it’s time to take inspiration from the Parisians in their branding.

    Although the RER is majority-run by SNCF (most of line A and line B south of Gare du Nord are run by RATP), it is very well integrated into the Paris transport network, and to the average user, the 19th century ‘Ligne de Sceaux’ and the 1960s tunnels under the Forum des Halles are indistinguishable from the other, despite the different array of service patterns (compare line C, with more destinations and routes than the District line, with line A, which is rather less complicated).

    Thus, I think that all TfL railway lines that don’t terminate at a mainline terminus should be under one brand, something like ‘Suburban’ or even the acronym ‘RER’ itself, recognisable to many people as being ‘mainline trains but underground’.

  225. Malcolm says:

    “all TfL railway lines that don’t terminate at a mainline terminus should be under one brand, something like…”

    Yes, but that’s all very well, but what do you mean by TfL? The only ones that TfL is fully responsible for, are the present underground and overground. They already have good branding.

    But I suspect you are thinking of crossrail and thameslink too – agreed they should probably be swept in somehow. But it’s very complicated – it’s not obvious why a train journey from Bedford to St Albans should be included in the brand, but not one from Croydon to Brixton. People don’t really care where their train terminates, anyway.

    The RER in Paris has a clear identity, and a pretty clear purpose. The various railways in London do of course have purposes, but practically each one is different. (Beyond moving people from somewhere to somewhere else).

  226. timbeau says:

    The Germans have U-bahnen and S-bahnen: roughly equivalent to the Metro and RER, or LU/DLR and LO/Crossrail/Thameslink, although the SSL, particularly the Met and District main line, is arguably more S-bahn than U-bahn.

  227. tubeboy1994 says:


    Sorry, what I mean is the mainline services which TfL operates. I think that responsibility should be a non-issue, as with the RER.

    I don’t necessarily mean Thameslink, although the Metro services (Sutton loop/Sevenoaks-Kentish Town/Luton) should be under TfL management, though I do think that Bedford-Brighton/Ashford services should remain under national control because of its different distance and purpose, that is bringing in people from the Home Counties rather than the London suburbs.

    And also, the RER isn’t the only SNCF service in Paris as well; there’s the ‘Transilien’ services, closely linked with the RER, but they terminate at mainline termini.

  228. DW down under says:

    @ Timbeau, re: 3rd rail, 4th rail

    Thanks for pointing that out, as I had not made it clear. My reference to strapping the 4th rail at -0v to a running rail was meant to convey that, and more. But to someone unfamiliar, it would not have been clear that by so doing, the 378s (or any other 3rd rail stock) neither need a 4th rail shoe, nor need to undertake a voltage system change-over to operate on such sections

    We should perhaps elaborate that to achieve this outcome, the LU tracks must undergo a series of step changes in absolute voltages on the live rails prior to the junction point. They normally run at +420/415 and -210/215 and while the potential difference between the rails remains 630v DC, the positive voltage increases in each step, while the negative voltage decreases. This does mean that the actual 3rd rail voltage on shared sections is 630v DC not 750v DC until all Tube stock on the route are of 750v capability. LU has signalled a strategic intention to raise their voltage to 750.


    DW down under

  229. The other Paul says:

    @timbeau In Berlin, the U-bahns are almost all like our sub-surface lines. The S-Bahns are definitely more the mainline suburban metro like LO. The lines are all numbered – S1, S2, U5, U8 etc.

    In Tokyo the JR lines all have names and colours of their own, but the JR branding sets them apart from the Metro Subway lines.

    I don’t think passengers are – or need to be – quite as uninformed or moronic as suggested by some of you. What matters is not so much what things are called, more what maps they appear on and how easy they are to distinguish and use. The German system of numbering and the Japanese system of naming both work as well as the French system of numbering the metro and lettering the RER.

    What is confusing about LO for new users is the variety of destinations and routes without any naming, colouring or numbering scheme to distinguish them. At places like Clapham J, Willesden J and Highbury confused people unsure of which train goes where can be found daily, as can folk on trains arriving at Shepherds Bush wondering why they’re not at Acton Central. Naming or numbering the routes would definitely help – I would favour numbering personally, keep it clean.

  230. timbeau says:

    I am more familiar with Munich’s S bahn and U bahn. The S bahn is very like Crossrail in being an East West cross city tunnel, carrying services to about eight different destinations at each end (in that respect more like Thameslink). the U bahn is a network of more local lines within the urban area. The trains appear smaller than the standard size trains used on the S bahn. Whther the tunnels are dug by tube or C-and-C techniques I don’t know.

  231. Fandroid says:

    The S-Bahn/U-Bahn concept in Germany varies through the country. In Berlin, it’s doubly confusing because both U-Bahn and S-Bahn have rolling stock that are different from mainstream suburban trains. Nearly all metro trains outside the UK are bigger in size than London’s classic tube trains, so Berlin’s U-Bahn is only similar to London’s subsurface trains in the same way that most metros are, however it does have classic elevated sections too. Berlin’s S-Bahn has significant underground sections (one line dating from before WW2).

    In many other cities the U-Bahn is a tram system which is like London’s subsurface lines in that it was constructed mainly by cut and cover. Most S-Bahn systems in cities with major mainline terminus stations have a city-centre tunnelled section to allow through running. Dresden has double-deck S-Bahn trains. Hamburg has DC powered S-Bahn trains that are not much bigger than those on the U-Bahn (which is also known as the Hochbahn on account of most of it being elevated!).

    What Germany does have is a consistent numbering system of lines throughout the country U1, S3 etc. Very easy for the casual visitor to comprehend. When are we getting O1, O2 etc for the eight different services on London Overground?

  232. DW down under says:

    @ ToP

    Re: numbering of Lines

    I’ve thought about this, and tried to bash some ideas onto the keyboard, but they looked crass, more crass than my other offerings!! 🙂

    The problem I ran into was, how do I deal with the branching patterns?

    Many of the lines divide into branches – some at both eastern and western ends. The Northern of course is even more complex.

    The combinations of numbers and letters involved made the whole thing look like a bus route map. I have a troubling feeling that the London network is, by virtue of its historical legacy, more complex than those of a lot of other large metropolii (ises?).

    By all means, have a go and let us see the results.


    DW down under

  233. Fandroid says:

    Numbering the all London services is a challenge indeed! Possibly it’s best to leave the Underground as it has developed over the last 150 years. It is sort of recognisable, with its colour coded and named ‘lines’.

    The Overground (O1-O8) and the DLR ( D1-D6) are fairly easy. Tramlink already has route numbers (although, reflecting TfL’s deep distaste for the notion (Europhobia?), the numbers are not shown on the maps!).

    The real challenge, but having the greatest potential reward are the NR services. Those are the ones where the casual user really needs help to untangle the the spider’s web.

    Ignore those services that only one stop once or twice in zones 1 to 6 after their departure from a terminus. They can be categorised as similar to the German RB & RE services. After that, give the same number to those services that have the same stopping pattern within zones 1 to 6, whatever their ultimate destination outside London. All trains display their final destination on the front anyway.

    Now I’ll go away and play.

  234. timbeau says:

    If you want each service to have its own number (e.g P1 to P3 for the three Picc line destinations), you can nevertheless simplify a bit since you don’t need to know where a train is coming from – so for example any train to Epping could be a C1 whether it is coming from Ealing, White City or West Ruislip. Although I think the standard pattern is WR to Epping and EB to Hainault loop, just call all trains to WR or Epping C1 and all trains to EB or the loop C2 (with short workings taking the most appropriate number). The Northern Line could use odds for Bank and evens for CX, so High Barnet would be N1 or N2, MHE N3 or N4 and Edgware N5 or N6. Similarly, odds and evens could be used to cover the Met’s limited stop workings.
    Circle can be H2 (or H0?) so that the Overground can use the letter O. Wimbleware can be H3 with the main District’s Wimbledon branch D3 for consistency.

    Use the letter L for the DLR (L1 to L6), and of course T for Tramlink, and X for Crossrail (and maybe Thameslink aka Crossrail 0)

  235. GT says:

    Has anyone seen the OJEU by TFL for the crossrail concession as it seems they are includeing as an option not just the routes already safeguarded ie to Gravesend and Reading but now Liverpool Street to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town. Is this part of the plan to expand LO by taking over parts of GA and Southeastern?

  236. Fandroid says:

    The OJEU makes an interesting read. Remember that this is the Crossrail concession, so whereas Liverpool Street West Anglia services would link in appropriately on a Crossrail services map, the Southeastern services that TfL are also after would not. The Gravesend extension is just more of the same Crossrail that is being built now (as is the Reading extension). Whereas the Reading extension would require virtually nothing in the way of construction that is not already planned or under way, the Gravesend one requires an extension of the overhead or dual voltage trains. Neither of those is planned.

    The Southeastern TfL proposed concession possibly fits better into the London Overground family. When are the respective concessions/franchises up for grabs?

  237. DW down under says:

    Thanks @GT for posting about the RFI (OJEI) for Crossrail.

    Yes, @ Fandroid, it is an interesting read. It mentions Ebbsfleet but not Gravesend. How exactly the respondents are meant to operate trains where there are no rails is a rather interesting point. Has anyone noticed anywhere in a strategy or planning document, a plan to link the line towards Gravesend (or another line to which Crossrail SE could connect) to HS1’s Ebbsfleet station?

    If I were a prospective operator, I’d read this is as an invitation to express interest to enter into a legally binding agreement to manage a piece of string – but no-one knows exactly how long this piece of string is, and whether bits might be snipped off or spliced on. Bit like aiming at moving goalposts, really.

    Ideal reading for April 1st. 🙂

    DW down under

  238. DW down under says:

    Ah, re: OJEI .. forgot to add, did readers take note of the short period of notice? Responses within a month, and respondents need to register for prequalification online, much as one would put an online job application in.

    It has all the flavour of a job advertisement for a position that has been filled temporarily and successfully by the incumbent for several years, but it has to advertised before the incumbent can get their promotion made “permanent.” Those with bureaucratic employer backgrounds will know what I mean.

    DW down under

  239. Fandroid says:

    That OJEU notice is not really an invitation to bid for the management of a piece of string. It’s fairly normal for public bodies to sweep in any potential extensions/add-ons at this ‘expression of interest’ stage. It means they can be flexible with what they actually put out to tender, and if they want to do supplementary tender invitations later, then they can (within a reasonable timescale) use the same list of people who originally expressed interest and were deemed to qualify.

    Online prequals are no longer unusual either. It saves the sending out of massive bundles of paper. As for short notice, all the usual suspects will have their prequal stuff updated and ready for any invitation. They would have been expecting this. The financial commitment at this stage is fairly small.

    As for Ebbsfleet, that is a puzzler. Perhaps there is going to be secret underground connection between Crossrail and HS1. If they have boo-booed, someone is going to get it in the neck.

  240. Anonymous says:

    Nothing wrong with it – makes sense given that purple is very much the transport colour of today. I’d make the font a tiny bit bigger though. I do like the London roundel in general, so glad to see it being used again.

  241. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Purple is also possibly very appropriate if transpires that it will be fully disabled accessible.

  242. Greg Tingey says:

    Oh dear.
    “Ian Visits” has devised a roundel- game, based on once called “2048” (apparently)
    It can be found HERE
    Be warned, it’s dangerously addictive.
    There are eleven roundels in all – I’ve only managed 8 (so far)
    Underground > Overground > Tramlink > DLR > Crossrail > Buses > Coaches > Dail-s-Ride > ?
    I assume Bikes & River will be there also, as for no 11 (to win) ???

  243. NG says:

    @Greg Tingey, you are right to issue an addiction warning! I’ve not got past Dail-A-Ride either yet, but I don’t think that (strictly speaking) either Bikes or (your favourite) Emirates Air Line have standalone roundels of their own. Taxis/Corporate Hire and River do. That leaves me guessing that the eleventh is the curiously roundelled ‘Streets’ which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in the big wide world itself. I doubt (on current performance) that I shall find out for myself anytime soon. And if I did I wouldn’t spoil your fun. So, back to the arrow keys….

  244. timbeau says:

    River comes after dial a ride: what, me? hooked?

  245. Mark Townend says:

    Very addictive! I just got River. I wonder whether taxis or streets comes next. . .

  246. stimarco says:

    For the curious and / or impatient: spoiler alert!

    I actually count 12 roundels if you include the flat, purple one that appears next to “Transport for London” itself. That one has no text inside the crossbar though.

  247. Anon5 says:

    I’ve seen the Streets roundel a few times at roadworks. I once saw it incorrectly coloured in maroon. Taxi Private Hire used to have sub-roundels to distinguish the two types and I remember PCO having its own too. Then there was the Tramlink Trams swap and the pre-Overground TfL Rail in brown. I wonder if travellers at Victoria tube station ever mistake the a Coaches signs for Overground. What would have happened if TfL had taken over Southeastern? Dial a Ride’s purple roundel were initially stuck on silver vehicles – silver being the new livery before they reverted to red mini buses.

  248. Graham H says:

    Damn you GT, I was just beginning to get on top of the backlog of “to do ” stuff.

  249. NG says:

    I decided I’d had enough for one day when I realised I was thinking of the orange Overground roundel as a deep-fried onion ring…

  250. NG says:

    A more structured approach to the roundels game showed the penultimate level to be TAXI.PRIVATE HIRE (though the full stop should be mid-height relative to the text).

  251. Greg Tingey says:

    “A more structured approach”
    Presumably trying to keep as large an area open as possible, whilst not directly going for a “high score” will plod one towards the last two/three roundels.
    [ I have just got “river” once, with a score of approx 3250, using this methid.
    One has to be very careful with the arrow keys – I’ve pushed the wrong direction, more than once! ]

  252. NG says:

    Try to keep your highest scoring roundel in one corner by using just two arrow keys – left and up will keep it in the top left. When you get as far as you can this way and run out of moves, you will need to resort to another direction but always try to keep the highest tile in the corner. You can make quite rapid progress this way. I’d got to a score of 12224 on the way to building my second Taxi.Private Hire before getting stuck again. (Still can’t find that mid-height dot on my keyboard). I’d taken the pledge not to play ‘games’ on my computer but Ian’s ingenuity produced an irresistible temptation, sufficiently unique that I don’t consider that I’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’!

  253. timbeau says:

    Keeping the high-value tiles out of the way is a good plan, Since high value tiles take a long time to create, once you have one it will take a lot of moves before you can combine it with another.
    The basic strategy should be to keep the number of tiles under control – each move creates a tile so you must combine them at least as fast as that to avoid ending up with a full board (which is Game Over). Any move which does not combine any tiles is a step backwards, and a move which combines three pairs of low value tiles is more use than one combining two higher value ones. Getting to a high value tile quickly will not improve your chances of winning – you cannot get to “2048” or its equivalent in fewer than 1024 moves (not quite true as sometimes the new tile is a “4”

  254. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, I’ve worked this out.
    However, I’m having finger-problems & start hitting the wrong arrow-key.
    I too have got to “Taxi Private Hire (after “River” after “Dial-a-Ride”).
    I don’t doubt we will find the last out soon.
    I’ve a horrible suspicion it’s the Dangleway, though….

  255. Graham Feakins says:

    Some may be interested to know that TfL also keeps alive registered trade marks from an earlier era. e.g.

    Presumably, the cable way one looks something like this:

  256. stimarco says:

    “List of goods

    Class 12 Vehicles for locomotion by land; bathchairs.” (Via Graham Feakins’ first link.)

    “Bathchairs”? Oh, that’s a bathchair? That makes more sense than the mental image I had.

  257. Long Branch Mike 1 says:


    Bathchair – that’s one for the Lexicon!

  258. Graham H says:

    @stimarco – perhaps TfL’s bathchair service (yet to be launched) needs its own roundel? Colour – the purplish red of gout?

  259. Long Branch Mike 1 says:

    @Graham H, stimarco

    I’m still waiting for TfL/Post Office to register the Mail Rail Roundel trade mark. Not as splashy as Bathchair, admittedly!

  260. Milton Clevedon says:

    Class 12: Vehicles for locomotion by land.

    I was told many years ago that the last time a real elephant was a item in the Metropolitan Railway’s lost property office (and looked after at the nearby Zoo, I trust) was in the 1920s. Apparently it had been on a circus train and was lost at Harrow goods yard.

    Don’t know when the last Goblin was found in similar circumstances, but probably got lost trying to find its way from Walthamstow Hoe Street to Queens Road stations…

  261. Graham H says:

    @MC – for amusement, in the course of winding up the Port of London Authority, I had occasion to review the basis of port charges. The 1910 charges were in a nicely printed cloth bound book; the fees for unloading a large elephant were 5/=; a small one cost only 2/6 – conjuring up the vision of some Pythonesque dockside disputes. BTW, hiring their largest floating crane for the day cost only 10gns – a bargain!

  262. stimarco says:

    “Good morning, sir! This gentleman wishes to know how much it’ll cost to unload four elephants.”
    “African or Indian?”
    “African, sir.”
    “Laden or unladen?”
    “Laden, sir.”
    “What with?”
    “Swallows, sir.”
    “African or European?”
    “African would seem to be the most likely, sir.”
    “Very good, Jenkins. Now: are the swallows laden or unladen?”
    “Do you know, sir, I never thought to ask!”
    “Gross incompetence! You’re fired, Jenkins!”

  263. NG says:

    @Greg Tingey
    I got to games end in the 2048 game and I can reassure you that fears of the Arabfly Dangleway are unfounded.

    Keep enjoying and don’t get RSI.

  264. Greg Tingey says:

    I still can’t get past 2x “Taxi Private Hire” before it crashes ….

  265. Greg Tingey says:

    2x “Taxi Private Hire” = Streets, apparently, when you finally get there…..

  266. Greg Tingey says:

    Via “Ian Visits” a (paywalled) link HERE strongly suggesting CR2 could get underway, just as CR1 is finishing, in 2018….

  267. timbeau says:

    Why wait? procurement could start now, so that they are ready to dig as soon as CR1 is done. Indeed, there is no good reason why the two projects should not overlap. If the need for CR2 has been established, and it has a positive BCR, the sooner it is built, the sooner those benefits will be realised. Any delay is effectively throwing away the money that would be saved by completing sooner.

  268. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, but that would be sensible forward planning!
    Can’t have that now, can we?

  269. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – can we please get our feet back on terra firma? We don’t have a confirmed route for CR2. The existing safeguarding has to be updated within the next year. We have no funding mechanism, no design and no clear sign of cross party political support. You can’t even begin the TWA process without all of those things. The lack of clarity on HS2 doesn’t help either in the context of what is needed at Euston and when by in terms of local transport capacity.

    I agree that maintaining the core expertise from CR1 would be highly beneficial but the tunnelling activity stops within a year and all of the resource will be gone. Thames Water might grab some of it if they can get their big sewer project off the starting blocks but that’s looking difficult because of opposition and no commitment to fund it.

    You know my views on CR2’s route proposals. Neither works properly IMO and a load more work is needed to give us something that stands a chance of working. I fear a headlong dash to implement the current regional scheme would be a mistake London rues for a very long time. By all means ensure there is good momentum and proper resources to take CR2 forward with pace but please ensure we get the design of the thing right.

  270. I think timbeau is more interested in terra profunda. No doubt someone will correct me if that is wrong.

  271. timbeau says:


    Of course we don’t have a confirmed route for CR2, or funding mechanism, or design, or clear sign of cross party political support. That is the problem. And now the safeguarding is reaching time expiry.
    In the last fifty years London has managed to build precisely two new cross-city lines, and re-open a third. Paris has managed seven. It is unlikely that London’s tally will increase by more than two in the next twenty years. Compare this with the quarter century period from 1885 to 1910 – almost the entire core of the deep Tube network – seven lines (three Yerkes Tubes, CSLR, CLR, W&C, GN&CR), – was conceived and built in that era, not to mention the completion of the Circle Line.
    And this lethargy feeds back into itself – because each new line proposed in London is seen as the only chance to improve things for a generation, everyone shoves their oar in wanting it to become a jack of all trades, with the inevitable proverbial result: and will be overloaded from Day 1. We are seeing this with Thameslink 2000-and-counting, whose spider web of routes all feeding into a single core is unlikely to be robust, and also with Crossrail, which with branches to Woolwich and possibly the WCML looks to be trying to do the work of the oft-proposed CX-Euston link as well as LSt – Padd. Crossrail 2 looks like becoming yet another camel designed by a committee.
    You can do as many scoping exercises as you like, but I’d rather have three new imperfect lines up and running now instead of one “ideal” one fifteen years in the future.

  272. Graham H says:

    @timbeau/WW – surely you are both right! In an ideal world we would have behaved like Paris, as timbeau suggests. Who could argue against that? But – we are where we are, and there is zero prospect of a damascene conversion to timbeauism on the part of the government between now and the end of the year (and no sign of it on the horizon either). Given that empty prospect of change, WW is surely also right to suggest that if the best we can do is one scheme a generation, then we ought to try hard to get it right; the alternative is to repeat the history of the DLR and its associated waste of money. Setting fire to the banknotes certainly keeps one warm and the printers busy (and does a little for managing the cash supply) but it’s not cost effective on any of those accounts…

  273. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – I agree with you that our past performance in building new has been shocking. The reasons have been well discussed here and elsewhere and there’s no point in going back over them. I would dearly love a 30 year plan *and* funding as Paris has got (and so would Sir Peter Hendy). There is no prospect of a UK political consensus about the value of public transport spending (revenue and capital). This is where we fail compared to some of our European neighbours. I don’t understand why we are so clueless as a nation on this particular issue but we clearly are and there’s no obvious pressure from voters to get it resolved. London is moving slowly in that direction as more and more people are wholly reliant on public transport but the rest of the country will probably never get there. People are only worried about petrol prices hence Mr Osborne’s terror of increasing fuel duty.

    I was not suggesting people waste another 15 years twiddling their thumbs. I said we need more pace and pressure to keep things moving on the planning front. I am less inclined to support your “build three imperfect lines” comment because I feel we can quite sensibly plan and build 3 “reasonably close to perfect” lines if only we can get some proper consensus on plans and funding. At this point we cross over to Mr Roberts’ article.

    I also tend to favour a blend of transport investment strategies. We keep going for “max capacity” solutions all the time like Crossrail. They have their place but there is a heck of lot more that could be done with much smaller spend provided we have a coordinated and coherent plan to ensure the end result “fits together”. You know the sorts of things I favour so I won’t bore everyone again. I appreciate that everything has to be “justified and proven as a success” before anyone will spend a penny these days but sometimes what has to be done is simply obvious. I rather suspect that view is what got so much built back in the late 19th / early 20th centuries. The lack of current thinking about expanding the tube network (more lines not just more signalling capacity) is just one example of the paucity of vision (IMO, of course).

  274. RichardB says:

    @ timbeau & WW I suspect the reason so much was built in the years leading upto 1910 was that public transport systems were seen as inherently profitable if not money spinners. Remember Yerkes had to fight off the rival plan for the “Morgan Tubes” and Morgan would not have sanctioned the proposed investment if he did not believe there was a profit in such systems.

    The advent of mass car ownership created a conception that public transport was only for the poor and undeserving. Remember Thatcher said if you were over 26 and needed to travel by bus you should consider yourself a failure. The New York subway is crying out for new investment but over there those who hold the purse strings still see public transport in that light. In the UK things are better but unless or until we could make our networks profitable in London as per Tokyo we are cursed to rely on he public purse where unlike France there is a desire to control but little dirigiste. As long as DfT and others can get away with statements that London has had sufficient investment as per the Olympics and that the focus should now be on the wider UK needs we will always struggle.

    Incidentally my reference to Tokyo should not be taken as my support for their tolerance of crush loadings but it is interesting that most of the networks in Japanese cities and indeed Hong Kong are actually profitable. I had always assumed this was due to property related investment but apparently this is not the case at least according to certain authorities I have read in the last few days. With profit it is much easier to obtain finance for new investment although I recognise our planning laws would always slow progress on proposed new lines to a glacial pace simply because we tend to pursue theoretical excellence at the expense of the good.

  275. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Richard B – Having looked at HK MTR’s latest financial results I see just over 33% of their net profits comes from transport operations (MTR, light rail and some buses) in Hong Kong with a small supplement from other overseas operations. 50% comes from station commercial operations, property rentals and property development. That’s pretty impressive but there’s a massive and growing demand for rail services in Hong Kong and property remains vitally important. MTR also doesn’t have a century old infrastructure to keep running and has the added advantage of having always employed good asset management techniques and having a “lean” operational philosophy.

    Japan is rather different and I suspect the financing issues are very complex. There are some rather strange rules about capital investment in rail and Metros in particular. I can’t recall the precise details but I read about it a few years ago – it may be this article but it is quite old now. Having done a quick web search I suspect the info is in the archive of articles at the website. Some excellent English language articles about Japanese (and other) railways there for those who may be interested.

    There is a very long established pattern of multi activity businesses being involved in retail, property and transport in Japan. It’s almost as if they have kept the old British model of big railway groups and somehow made it a success whereas we let it all collapse and nationalised it and then flogged off bits. The sheer density of many Japanese cities also helps guarantee huge commuting flows. I suspect Japan has some lessons for London but we do suffer from the incompatibility of the LU network and the National Rail network in general terms. The Japanese very cleverly manage large scale through working between rail and metro networks giving incredible journey opportunities and taking pressure off terminal stations.

    Your point about profitability is of some relevance to London. We now have the first fully profitable franchise in the shape of the FCC. Others are close to generating sufficient premium to outweigh the Network Rail grant paid directly by the DfT. TfL’s business plan is pushing LU, DLR, Overground and Crossrail to be profitable at an operating level by 2020. Some elements of TfL’s rail operation will be able to cover their investment costs too but that doesn’t include LU. Of course these assumptions could all change come 2016 if a new Mayor changes priorities. There is, of course, a wider question as to whether it is right to extract ever increasing amounts of money from a broadly captive user base where a proportion of said users struggle to afford the fares being demanded. Ever increasing transport fares may also be a brake on the expected expansion of London. Those are issues for the politicians to grapple with but I am not convinced that Londoners would endorse a policy of their rail networks being wholly profitable and having to raise an increasing share of their investment finance through profits.

  276. Long Branch Mike 1 says:


    I do agree in general with your example of New York City being continually underfunded and being seen as a cost sinkhole vs an investment in liveability in a dense and very dynamic urban environment. The 24 hour subway operation for instance matches well the modern 24 hour work environment, especially for global operations. Underfunding of subway operations continues there.

    However massive investment in passenger transport infrastructure is occurring in NYC with the construction of the oft-abandonned 2nd Street Subway as well as the 7 Subway Extension to the west side of Manhattan. Crossrail-like regional commuter train East Side Access is under construction to bring the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal by 2023 for $11B US ( about 9B GBP). But a plan to build a similar connection from New Jersey into Manhattan from the west were cancelled by NJ due to an even higher cost. Sadly these 2 systems were not planned to connect for true cross – regional travel.

  277. Graham H says:

    @RichardB -I very much doubt that the tube system (and much of the rail network) has ever been profitable in the terms we now employ. In Edwardian times, it was quite possible to pay for dividends out of capital, and current cost accounting and MEA had never been thought of. And there were enormous capital write downs – remember so many small branch line companies were hoovered up by the larger ones for 1/- in the £. If these things had been applicable then, the story would have been very different.

  278. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “And there were enormous capital write downs – remember so many small branch line companies were hoovered up by the larger ones for 1/- in the £.”
    Indeed, many such takeovers were done because the buyer, already making a loss, could not afford to see a rival grab the branch line and take even more revenue away.

    Did metros ever make money? Remember why Yerkes came to London in the first place: he was escaping the creditors of his Chicago “El” (and the second Mrs Yerkes, who had obviously not heeded the warning that a man who marries his mistress creates a vacancy).
    Yerkes himself, having been bankrupted once in the financial crisis following the Great Chicago fire of 1875 (and serving a prison sentence for larceny) , probably only escaped being bankrupted a second time by his Tube projects because he died in 1905, during their constructoin and before the money ran out.

  279. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – the only metros that seem to make money – ie a commercial profit and a return on capital – appear to be those like the HK and Japanese systems which have big cross-subsidy from property.

    Both the Yerkes and the Morgan “businesses” seemed to owe more to the “thundering herd” approach still in vogue amongst finance houses rather than any cool appraisal as to whether it would make money on a sustainable basis.

    When we came to replace LT with LRT(A), the Secretary of State was keen that both LBL and LUL should be properly capitalised. He was outraged when the City slicker accountants he had hired explained to him that the assets of the Underground were largely worthless because they had no alternative use but their liabilities (ie the need to run a service) were financially attractive to investors because they needed a subsidy. The figure eventually plucked out of the air was £500m but in financial or economic terms it was meaningless.

    So far as the country branch lines are concerned, one of the new financial burdens imposed on the privatised rail industry has been its recapitalisation. Now, the system is financed on an accrued asset replacement basis, instead of the cash basis that was the practical effect of the way BR was financed; this means that the industry’s cash requirements are therefore much greater – fortunately, we managed to avoid that with LU.

  280. stimarco says:

    @(pretty much everyone who’s posted recently):

    One of the key problems with discussions like these is that it’s easy to lose touch with the fundamental interconnectedness of urban infrastructure. It’s often referred to as a ‘fabric’ for good reason.

    When you listen to professional planners discussing how cities work, they often liken them to machines, or even organic creatures. Yet nobody demands road users pay a fee every time they use those roads, or that we be required to wave an Oyster card over a reader whenever we flush a toilet. So why are railways treated differently?

    Why, exactly, are we demanding a single, lonely cog in the vast machine that is Greater London charge for each use, when hardly any of the other cogs are required to do so?

    What is public transport for? Is it solely of benefit to each system’s users? Don’t the businesses commuters have to commute for also benefit? Don’t the supporting businesses – the sandwich shops, coffee shops, etc. – also benefit from the centralisation that urbanisation allows?

    Some cities have already implemented public transport systems that are now free at the point of use for locals (tourists have to buy a card; this is analogous to the Swiss and Austrian road toll models).

    You pay for it through regional taxation, which not only makes budgeting and planning easier, but it eliminates most of the overheads of ticketing systems, while also effectively ring-fencing the money and keeping it out of the grasping claws of central government.

    It’s not just the ordinary taxpayers who pay towards this either, but businesses too, as they too benefit heavily from the infrastructure that allows them to apply the economies of scale afforded by setting up shop in an urban centre. No more need for S.103 and the like: the funding is inherent in the business rates, just like policing, fire engines, roads and street lighting.

  281. timbeau says:

    “Yet nobody demands road users pay a fee every time they use those roads”
    Yes they do – it’s called the congestion charge (not to mention fuel tax, VED etc),

    “or that we be required to wave an Oyster card over a reader whenever we flush a toilet. ”
    We pay water rates, don’t we? And many public toilets now charge admission.

    “Don’t the businesses commuters have to commute for also benefit? Don’t the supporting businesses – the sandwich shops, coffee shops, etc. – also benefit from the centralisation that urbanisation allows?”
    yes, and they pay business rates which make a contribution to TfL railways.

    “Some cities have already implemented public transport systems that are now free at the point of use for locals”
    With Zip cards and Freedom passes, London has gone further than many down this road.

  282. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Stimarco – yes all those businesses and people benefit from the public transport. Heck even the people crawling around in cars do too. I am afraid I cannot possibly endorse a concept of “free” public transport in London. The whole place would grind to a halt under the ridiculous weight of demand. We can’t cope now at peak times even with relatively high fares and no revenue subsidy on some operations. How on earth would you finance the expansion of services and find the space for more bus garages, bus stations / stands when these are already problematic with next to no expansion of services (source – Leon Daniels at his museum talk / London Assembly Bus Seminar).

    I also suspect the businesses and individuals (many nationally!) who are paying business rates, income tax, corporation tax, council tax and the Crossrail levy might feel they are already paying enough. Part of TfL’s grant now comes from the business rates which are remitted back (a recent change). You would need to find over £4bn from somewhere to replace TfL’s budgeted revenue take from rail and bus modes. Quite what bill you would get from the TOCs for compensatory payments when people divert to free TfL services I do not know. I cannot foresee a point at which the DfT would ever endorse a free fares policy on London commuter lines.

    I do understand the point of principle you are making but there are differences. Many people use public transport every working day. We do not consume the services of the police and fire brigade directly on a daily basis. As a society and as individuals we benefit from the protection and assistance of those services when an emergency befalls us. The use of public transport is driven by the level of activity that individuals undertake which requires movement ( the good old “derived demand” of economic theory ). The demand for emergency services is not the same at all. Removing price from public transport may also distort the transport market in ways that we would not want. You are also likely to get enormous screams from the motoring and cycling lobbies!

  283. timbeau says:

    “that’s a bathchair ”
    …..named for city in which some of the older hotels have staircases designed to be wide enough to take a sedan chair. There were some very rich invalids around in the Georgian era.

  284. Snowy says:

    @ Greg

    Having accidentally pressed crtl and = at the same time on the keyboard whilst starting 2048 I can confirm that streets is indeed the final tile in case you gave up before completing it!

  285. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ greg – after what feels like a lifetime I have managed to complete the 2048 roundels game. It certainly is Streets as the final roundel. Having cracked it once I have since managed to do it a couple more times although the game does have some nasty foibles in it to screw up your attempts to complete it.

    I have managed to crack the “name all LU stations in under 5 mins game” – I can do that in under 3 minutes now having learnt the relevant three letter abbreviations to use.

  286. Melvyn says:

    Sorry link does not seem to work

  287. @Melvyn,

    Well it does seem to be a mighty complicated URL based on a Yahoo search which seems to have found something on bing.

    The definitive list is here on page 2.1 of the PDF file. The original URL is
    standard.pdf but you can see that URLs containing dashes, semi-colons and possibly other characters don’t survive a pasting too well.

  288. Bob.G says:


    Somebody hasn’t done the proofreading properly !

    Page 1.1: The main directives of this policy is set out as follows: Text should always be set in mixed upper and lower case (never all upper case – even with headings)

    Page 2.3: The capital-letter height of the ‘MAYOR OF LONDON’ logotype should measure the same as the depth of the roundel bar. It to be displayed in New Johnston Bold, all upper case.

  289. Ian J says:

    @Bob.G: More likely the MAYOR’s logotype has been imposed on TfL from above (didn’t Boris change it from black and red to Tory blue when he got elected?).

Leave a Comment

In order to make LR a pleasant place for discussion, please try to keep comments polite and, importantly, on topic! Comments that we feel do not meet these criteria, or that contain language that could cause some people trouble at work, may be moderated or deleted.

acceptable tags

* (This won't be shown, but you can link it to an avatar if you like)

Recent Articles

Friday Reading List – 24 March


As anyone looking to properly understand London’s transport needs and network knows, context, background and best-practice are important. As readers might imagine, behind the scenes here at LR Towers we thus spend a lot of time sharing links and reading

Read more ›

Friday Reading List – 17 March


As anyone looking to properly understand London’s transport needs and network knows, context, background and best-practice are important. As readers might imagine, behind the scenes here at LR Towers we thus spend a lot of time sharing links and reading

Read more ›

LR Magazine Issue Five: Overgrounded


With print copies now being prepped for dispatch to subscribers at LR Towers, London Reconnections Magazine Issue 5: Overgrounded is now available to purchase in our online store. Transport is politics, politics is transport You don’t get transport without politics.

Read more ›