Monday 5 October 2015

Even More LRT Diagramming

Having made an effort to stretch out the eastern side of the London Rapid Transit diagram, the obvious stared me in the face and presented a huge challenge. The south was too squashed. The basis of the diagram is a magnified middle of complex city lines and the outer lines are compressed. But with the Overground, the outer areas become more important.

The history of the changes in dimensions from the Sameboat original started with a stretch for part of the north west area. This means on my diagram the lines going out north do not have to double back in response to the tilted 'bottle' of the original Circle line. I notice he keeps revising his diagram too, and has a straight line now for Thameslink (there is no longer a 'bucket' effect), but it still has to go back down before it goes up. Having done that, the effect of Sameboat's Docklands Light Railway was to distort the east. I took that distortion further, along with a levelling of the southern DLR regarding the docks in between and the river to the south. Again the bottle tilt meant Sameboat but an angle into the more southern DLR, but he didn't with the one to Beckton. I've flattened both, and thus taken these effects eastwards. The main problem for me was the distantly proposed tunnel north of Abbey Wood to a new link line at Barking Riverside. On my diagram, because of the tilt, this created a vertical River Thames when, in reality, there was a 'bump' up and then down again. The clue to solving this was to flatten the District Line going east, as indeed is the case in reality compared with any contemporary and historical diagram, including Sameboat's. The area around Barking even shows these lines merging and dropping for a while if slightly. This partial adjustment and similar to the Crossrail-in-waiting Shenfield line adjustment takes away most of the vertical Thames, and allows for a more realistic connection from Abbey Wood to Barking.

But to do this exposed the south even more as a jumble under space pressure. What I did was first take a position just south of the new Unity/ Edgware (Sameboat)/ Northern/ line extension to Battersea and increase the space south by 50%. Then I would take lines and names out and replace them one by one, with more curves. Accuracy to geography is nigh-on impossible, but it is possible to be clear. It was also clear that I had to redo the very tricky Tramlink. The first adjustment was with Crossrail 2 redone, and redone with a mind for removing it towards the simpler diagram. Finally came the map with the extended Beck Chord with connection to Barking Riverside. This proved very tricky as I realised part of it didn't work well enough without an additional bend in the Beck Chord west of Beckenham. The idea for this Chord (rather than my own simpler route, as on two maps) comes from a 2050 proposal that represents this zig zag as if on one diagonal after Bickley. No wonder these diagrams build in such distortions (and clarity is questionable with so many lines present). It is also showing northern stretching from Abbey Wood to Barking Roverside. This diagram is another of these never pixelating .SVG diagrams that are above my pay-grade. Sameboat did his mathematically, and sees errors in software programs' performances. Fantastic ability.

It took three days plus with some hefty sessions to finally complete and replace the previous London Rapid Transit routes. In each case the original tops were merged into the expanded bottoms. The merging is simply done in an old version of MS Paint. I hate the ribbon version as far less easy to use. The good raster lines are done in Real World Paint, along with curvy text, but I learnt quickly a lesson not to use its area eraser - it takes away all gradations and leaves one colour lines with sharp edges. For some straight line text along routes I used a PicPick protractor and custom fine rotation in Irfan View, to paste the text in alongside the route. The software is simpler and free and makes the distinction people forget between a document format and the programs that produce them (e.g. .DOC is not an MS Word document but just fully formatted word processing, and can be edited by different word processors - contrast with .RTF and then .TXT, for example).

I am still tempted to rename the Circle line into the Spiral line, having removed the Hammersmith and City element from the lines. It used to be the Metropolitan and that is restored east in my suggestion. The service is then easier to understand, and indeed TfL has changed Circle line services into a spiral in reality. If it becomes the Spiral line, I'll have succumbed. I'm aiming for clarity but also cost effectiveness. That's why I'd prefer to dismiss Crossrail 2 or at the very most simplify it to two branches south and a one only line to the north.

I've been at these diagrams since July, so they became somewhat obsessive, plus the explanatory document (written in .TXT, translated to .HTML and so continued).

In between I made a Creative Learning Area website for activities inside the Chamberlain House building in Hull (the Unitarian Church) and this was hand-coded with graphics produced by me.