Public transport

May 17, 2017

The Melbourne Subway Map (a rail fantasy)

A fantastical vision from mapmaker Adam Mattinson of what a subway underneath Melbourne's inner suburbs could look like if it were as connected as Tokyo's famous system

Alan Davies — Editor of The Urbanist

Alan Davies

Editor of The Urbanist

[caption id="attachment_57601" align="aligncenter" width="1657"] Fantasy Melbourne Underground rail map[/caption] Former Premier Jeff Kennett reckons Melbourne needs a subway system. That's not likely in the immediate future, but if it ever were to happen, here's what it might look like, courtesy of master mapmaker Adam Mattinson. Adam, who previously designed the Melbourne 2047 fantasy rail map and the Melbourne 2070 fantasy rail map, says he was inspired by the famous Tokyo subway map:
Of course, this is another "money being no limitation" example, and you need to imagine Melbourne is as densely and centrally populated as Tokyo, but that's part of the fun.  The subway network is meant to exist alongside the existing network, so most of it was closing the gaps in the network and making it more orbital.  I imagine it similar to the Tokyo version where it's mostly underground, with a dozen or so entries to the surface per station.
He sought to apply the connectivity of the Tokyo subway system and the aesthetic of its famous map to Melbourne:
I’ve been to Tokyo a couple of times now, and I’m enamoured with their subway network, not just the efficiency of it, but also the map, the signage and overall design. This has been the biggest challenge of these projects, everything was from scratch, with the objective of recreating the aesthetic of the Tokyo system. 
He started the design of the Melbourne network by plotting major activity centres onto a map:
Where there was a gap that above ground rail didn't fill, I drew an arrow that formed a loose alignment for a subway line. This was refined using locations for potential stations - for the locations of stations I loaded the post office and school locations as a rough representation for where population clusters/retail centres would be located. Lastly, connectivity was considered, the locations of existing train stations and tram interchanges played a part in the final course of the subway lines.  This subway exists in the same "world" as my 2048 tram map, so I incorporated that into the design as well.  
The design of the map itself closely follows the feel of the Tokyo original, in terms of colours and symbology. There are station signage mock-ups at Adam's web site that are almost a replica of those in the Tokyo underground stations, only with Melbourne locations instead. There's also designs for the surface level station exits. "So while it is a mapping exercise", he say, "I did try and make it a functional network as well.  I'd love to hear a professional opinion on what factors would be considered when created a project of this scale, but in the mean time enjoy this version from the perspective of a cartographer/dreamer". [caption id="attachment_57608" align="aligncenter" width="2346"] Portion of fantasy Melbourne subway map[/caption]  

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