Time to update those tea towels, Londoners! Transport for London has just debuted its new tube map and there’s some new kids on the block. First published in 1933, the iconic London Underground map is both an essential guide for getting around this big old city and a symbol of London’s endless multiplicity, so this is actually quite a big deal.
So what are the major new features to the map? Well for starters, the addition of the Crossrail Elizabeth Line ahead of its launch on Tuesday May 24. Unsurprisingly, given everything seems to be bleeding purple at the moment (we know there’s a jubilee on) its livery has the look of a violet-coloured straw – purple on the outside and white in the middle. The London Overground extension to the new station at Barking Riverside is also included, ahead of its opening later this year. Plus, there’s a welcome back for the Northern line Bank branch which reopened this week bang on schedule following a four-month closure.
Julie Dixon, TfL interim customer and revenue director, said: ‘Our world-renowned map now has another iconic addition in the Elizabeth Line, which will serve London and the south east for hundreds of years to come. When we open on Tuesday May 24, the new Elizabeth Line will begin providing greater connectivity and step-free access from Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood through the centre of London.
‘This latest tube map is a real credit to the team who have put it together. It has been both a challenge and a privilege to update Harry Beck’s original design to literally put a new piece of transport history on the map. This latest version takes into account a number of wider changes to the transport network, but will ensure Londoners and visitors alike are able to navigate around our transport network with ease.’
The new Tube map will also be sponsored by Ikea for the next 12 months and shows the nearest public transport options to their stores.
The new look has not drawn overwhelming praise from Londoners (what does?). One commentator on Twitter responded to TfL that ‘some of your stations appear to be doing the YMCA dance’, while Trixxy asked ‘Is Euston ok?’.
That Ikea stores feature provoked ire from one user who noted ‘Who cares where the Ikea stores are? You can hardly bring furniture home on the train.’ while Richie messaged ‘Ikea? On the Tube map? Only in London.’ Erm, that’s sort of the point.
One of the things that seems to have prompted most debate is what actually constitutes a ‘tube’ versus interlopers such as Thameslink, DLR, Overground etc etc. And whether it should technically be called the ‘Elizabeth Line line’ to standardise it with the other Underground lines. Our thinking? It’s a brilliant map to help get us around, and what rail and Underground networks identify as in their own sweet time is no concern of ours.
Find all tube and rail services on the London Tube and Rail Map available to download here.
Watch out! There might be a tube strike over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.
Like purple? So do London buses for the Jubilee.