I wasn’t expecting this piece to fall into the queue for today, but you all know me as a sucker for trains. So today we have this nice set of small multiples from the Guardian. It looks at…I guess we could call it train deserts. They’re like food deserts, except we’re talking about trains.
What strikes me is that in a perfect world at least three of these could be on one direct line. You can almost draw a straight line from Columbus, Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee and hit Louisville, Kentucky. Obviously things like property get in the way, but it is something to note.
I am a big fan of trains, rail transit, and Amtrak. I think the rail network connecting the East Coast’s big cities from Boston down to Washington is one of the big draws of the Northeast. Not surprisingly, I have taken that route I don’t know how many times. So, when Amtrak’s Northeast Regional No. 188 derailed in Philadelphia, it ran off rails with which I am familiar.
I made a graphic tonight—so much for all my other plans—charting and mapping out what was announced by Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter. I am sure that by the time I wake up in the morning, we will know more and some things will have changed. But, let this be a simple guide to the basics as they were Tuesday night.
Frankford Junction is in the Port Richmond area of Philly. And what I can attest is that trains do slow down here, because it is a fairly sharp turn at a fairly flat grade (I think).
Credit for the screenshot map image goes to Google.
Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of rail travel. And in particular, how the rail system on the East Coast is brilliant when compared to anywhere else in the States. Unfortunately, the railway system on the East Coast is also old and in need of serious capital investment. The tunnels linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River are a prime example. But a few years ago, Governor Christie of New Jersey killed Amtrak’s plans to build new tunnels to provide a backup to the existing infrastructure and increase overall capacity. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Amtrak’s new plan to cross the Hudson. Let’s hope this venture is a bit more successful.
Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.
Wrapping up this week of map-themed work, we have xkcd. He created an integrated map of North America’s subway systems from Vancouver to Chicago to Philadelphia to Washington to Mexico City.
I only wish I could take the Red Line from Belmont and transfer to the Market–Frankford near West Trenton. Because I could then take the (Frankford) El out to 69th Street and catch the 104 to West Chester.
When we talk about new rail projects, or even highway or airport expansions, we like to include maps of new routes and destinations. In that sense this map from the New York Times is not new. However, we often forget in such visualisations that we have the opportunity to add layers of information that show why these expansions are beneficial.
Here, note in particular how the proposed improvement projects link the dense corridor of urban settlements stretching from Boston through Worcester to Springfield. Additional lines connect more distant southerly cities such as Fall River to Boston. These might normally be seen as dots at ends of a line, but by showing the density of the population in these corridors, readers can understand how the proposed lines might benefit more people than just those living at the dots.