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Great Railway Maps of the World by Mark…

Great Railway Maps of the World

by Mark Ovenden

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A very attractive book of maps, selected for their cartographic interest and design qualities, rather than being intended for use as an atlas. The examples cover all nations where there are currently passenger rail services operating, and historic maps are shown for comparison in many cases. The author has made a specialism out of railway cartography and design, and he shows interesting examples of maps used for publicity, to encourage colonisation (especially in North America) and for wider political ends. The East Berlin commuter rail map that manages to almost completely exclude West Berlin is a particularly notable example.

The maps of North America in particular showed me something I hadn't previously understood, and that was the extent and density of railway penetration across the United States as far west as the Rockies.

Sadly, although the author knows a lot about railway maps, he doesn't know as much about railways, and there are numerous errors in the text that have gone unchecked and uncorrected by the publisher. Moreover, although many of the illustrations are attractive, many are also reproduced at low resolution and some of the maps are almost impossible to read. Even though the book is not intended, as I said, to be used as an atlas, it would be good to be able to read some of the names and some of the text on the illustrations. Also, the text is very fragmentary and the illustration placement and keying is not consistent or always intuitive.

So: an attractive book, but one which can be irritating (because of the design failings) if you attempt to read it all the way through. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | Oct 15, 2015 |
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This text presents a compendium of historical and contemporary railway maps and posters from every corner of the world. Featuring hundreds of images, it covers two centuries of advertising, surveyors' maps, route guides, travel posters, photos and Google Earth maps.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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