Big news for London’s tube travellers, transport geeks and cartophiles: there’s a new tube map in town. Transport for London has released the latest edition of its world-famous network diagram – and there are some major changes. The biggest? That’d be a place called Reading, which has appeared on the tube map for the first time since Harry Beck invented it in 1931.
Why has Berkshire’s county town, which lies just over 36 miles from central London, been added to the tube map? Because TfL will be running trains to it from December 15, when the line switches over from Great Western Railway operation to become part of TfL Rail. The change is part of the drawn-out switchover to the Elizabeth line, which will zoom all the way from Shenfield in Essex to Reading via central London – once it finally opens. (The latest ETA, in case you’ve lost track, is 2021.)
But don’t think about grabbing your Oyster card and cruising over to Reading for a bit of Christmas shopping: the new map shows the end of the line in a little blue box, indicating that you won’t be able to use your magic blue pass to go this far west. You’ll still need to buy a regular train ticket until January 2 2020, when you’ll be able to start paying by contactless.
Other changes on the new tube map include new step-free icons on Gidea Park, West Hampstead and White Hart Lane stations, which have had recent work to improve disabled access. There’s also the snazzy addition of some new icons for TfL River Bus piers served by Thames Clippers. These make it a bit more obvious where you can hop off the tube and take to the water without having to walk for more than 700 metres. Which is nice.
Still… Reading? On the tube map? What next – Luton?!