Having just reviewed Kristoffer Bæk and Pasha Omelekhin’s superb new rail map for Copenhagen (October 2019, 4.5 stars), let’s take a look at what the official map looks like with the addition of the new ring Metro line.
It’s very obviously an evolution of the existing and distinctive DSB design style (last reviewed on Transit Maps back in 2014, 4 stars), and may even use the exact same base map underneath the route lines. Apart from the ring line — which I’ll get to later — there’s a few other noteworthy design changes from the previous version, which all have both good and bad consequences.
“Lokalbaner” rail services have changed from a visually overwhelming dark purple to a mid-grey, which would be fine if it didn’t blend in so much with the (also mid-grey) background of the map. I definitely preferred the elegant two-toned light grey background of the previous version, rather than the too-contrasty mid-grey on white of this map, and it would have worked better with the “Lokalbaner” line colour, I feel.
Metro lines have been thankfully upgraded to full colour, instead of the grey lines used previously. However, there’s no attempt at mode differentiation, so the yellow M2 and F lines look identical to each other, and even cross paths at one point. Even a thin background colour outline to separate the two lines at this location could be helpful.
One thing this map is really misses in comparison with Kristoffer and Pasha’s is a comprehensive legend that clearly explains that the E, H and Bx S-tog lies only run at certain times of day: such good information that could easily fit onto this map and all its vast amount of empty space around the edge. Seriously, why is the map itself so small on the canvas? Why do we need to see so much of the Swedish coastline?
Now, onto the inclusion of the ring line. Unlike many unofficial maps, this map chooses to show it as a perfectly stylised circle, which works… but only just. Because of the generous spacing between concurrent lines, the main trunk of the S-tog network through central Copenhagen is almost half the width of the ring line circle, which means that all the stations on the ring line have to be shoved to either side to fit. This means some labels have to sit across route lines (normally to be avoided, and it’s doubly unfortunate that one of them, Poul Henningsens Plads, is one of the longest names on the map), while others like Trianglen have to be angled to avoid clashing with other station markers.
It looks me that the designers have simply moved the F line outwards along its diagonal section a bit to accommodate the circle and then have just done as best they can within the existing framework of the DSB house style. With all the extra available space on the canvas, I think a better job of respacing and resizing the map could have been done with a bit of thought and effort — the central part definitely needs more room to breathe. Goodness knows how this design is going to squeeze the M4 line in when it opens next year! I note that the size of all the labels is also slightly reduced from the previous version, another side effect of having to get all the new ring line stations to squeeze into the required space.
Our final word: Continues on with the distinctive design framework of previous maps, but with less impressive results. The ring line really seems shoehorned into a space that isn’t ready for it. Three stars.
Source: DOT website