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I believe it was a design classic, but unfortunately no longer, for the following reasons.

Beck was lucky that he had the Circle Line and a reasonable matrix of central London deep level tubes for which his formula of line weight, curve and station symbols worked. Extensions to the East have made it lose its simplicity.

His formula doesn’t work for many other systems, the Paris map using the Beck formula is no more helpful in planning a journey than the geographic one, because the actual system is unplanned. A bit like the Southern Region, I don't think a map can be made to make sense of it - I haven't seen one yet.

It’s only a design classic in the UK, because Londoners have grown up with it, its a cultural thing. Show a Parisian the Beck style Paris metro map and they think you’re mad - surely it’s better to have the streets in the background they say.

The interchange symbol is the biggest problem, giving the impression that it is more difficult to change, for example, from the Central to District at Mile End than it is from the Bakerloo to the Victoria at Green Park, whereas you have cross platform interchange at the former and a very long passageway at the latter. This is done just for the designers cartographic convenience rather than helping the user plan a journey using the least physical effort. There are many examples of the confusion caused by this, Earl’s Court etc. This is because of the limitation caused by the simple interchange symbol that can’t encompass many lines, the map would be better using elongated loops like the German maps of Munich or Cologne. Another example is where the northern circle has three routes in parallel but only two interchange symbols as shown here on a sign at King's Cross - does the Metropolitan stop at Moorgate? A symbol should mean something consistent, here it doesn’t.

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Four problems here.

Obviously the interchange symbol (flogging a dead horse here) - doesn't mean at Embankment that it is easier to change from the Circle & District to the Bakerloo than the Northern line.

Horrible Waterloo - why the extended interchange link to the Jubilee line? And why is the Jubilee line so bendy? Also, incidentally, weaving up and down between the Bakerloo and Northern lines.

Overstretched Waterloo & City / Jubilee / Northern lines with hardly a station on the south side of the Thames! This is due to previous distortions elsewhere.

Why do lines go over the Thames with white divider? Tube lines cross without this divider.

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There is so much that is wrong with this horrible, horrible map, but picked out here is the treatment of the closed East London line.

Is it necessary to show the three separate replacement bus services with all those full-sized interchange symbols? Add the bus symbols, ELW, ELP and ELC and the dagger symbol! Far too complicated.

And as the supporting text becomes increasingly patronising, we now get:

This section of track is part of the National Rail network. London Overground services will operate on this line from 2010. Oyster pay as you go is not currently valid on this line.

Just leave it all off!

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And now they've introduced the new disabled symbol, is it a station or an interchange station? It just emphasises the problem and draws the eye to the DLR. Bank, Woodford and Waterloo look terrible. A very dubious bit of graphics this - there are so many other ways of doing this. For example, just use black ticks (better than using line colour anyway) and circles for inaccessible stations and red ticks and circles for those with disabled access.

There are many poor layouts. For example, stations on radial arms are reasonably consistently spaced, whereas the stations between Morden and Stockwell are the most closely spaced, this is because there is too much space given to the Victoria-Stockwell-London Bridge triangle - all the stations in this area are more widely space than the central London area. Why does the Victoria line have to be so stretched here and why does the Jubilee line drop down so much for Southwark, it could quite easily be closer the Thames. What is the benefit in dropping the Central Line down at Bank and destroy the beautiful simplicity of a straight horizontal line? It is not like that geographically or necessary diagrammatically. The river could be brought closer at Blackfriars as there is a riverboat connection shown. The designer is working hard to keep station captions within zones, but this means double stacking some captions when they'd be more readable on one line (Hounslow East for example) and squeezing stations together (Kilburn Park to Warwick Avenue for example - although double stacking would have solved this - inconsistency of solution).

There are lots of other poor renditions, bad alignment of interchange symbols at Waterloo, the New Cross Gate branch coming off the East London line without using the transition curve used elsewhere, an unnecessary bend in the DLR above West India Quay. Why drop the Hammersmith & City Shepherd’s Bush station down so far away from the Central Line station? This raises the issue of stations with the same name on different lines - what is the significance of the gap at Hammersmith compared with gap at Paddington? Why flush right Kensington Olympia over the station when centering is used elsewhere? You can't see the yellow tick at Aldgate - surely this is an interchange station just like Edgware Road? Farringdon should be slightly further down to look evenly spaced.

The network should be the 'Underground', not the 'Tube' - or 'Metro'.

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Four problems here.

Both the Euston and Baker street routes share the same lines yet are shown differently. Jubilee and Met are set so far apart that a new extended interchange symbol is used, particularly weird at Wembley Park. The North London line wrongly dips up and down at West Hampstead. The readability clash between the brown and hollow orange colours is self inflicted.

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All respect to wheel chair users, but this is getting ridiculous.

A very bad design idea - confuses the original doctrine of ticks equal stations, circles equal interchange. A useless halfway house.

Beginning to think that a wheelchair turns up instead of a train...

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