Confusing network maps from V/line

Back in April 2014 Public Transport Victoria released a draft of an easier to read train map for Melbourne, and not a minute too soon – the current version implies non-existent options routes such as a Sunbury to Upfield line. So what about the V/Line network map?

Confusing V/Line network map

It suffers from one major defect – the same “phantom through running” problem that afflicts the current suburban rail map. Here is a closer look at the troublesome section:

Confusing V/Line network map - original version

‘Melbourne (Southern Cross)’ is displayed in larger text, which implies it is the center of the network, but what is going on elsewhere. Can I take a train from Geelong to Seymour? How about Bacchus Marsh to Nar Nar Goon? Or Clarkefield to Wandong?

An additional complication is the station stop at North Melbourne – since December 2013 trains from Geelong no longer stop there, because the new RRL tracks through the station lack platforms. As a result, V/Line jiggled their network map to show that trains from Geelong no longer stop there.

Confusing V/Line network map - Geelong line following initial RRL opening

However even that map is out of date – in July 2014 Ballarat and Bendigo trains were also moved onto the Regional Rail Link tracks, but the network map was not updated.

An update

Down in the comments Alan pointed out that V/Line did update their network map following the removal of the North Melbourne stop for Ballarat and Bendigo line passengers.

V/Line network map updated for Ballarat and Bendigo services not stopping at North Melbourne

I even use the same network map in the lead image of this post – I didn’t notice the subtle redesign that moved Southern Cross to the middle of the map, and North Melbourne station to the Seymour leg. Oops!


V/Line also has a network map that also include their road coach services – the insert focused on Melbourne is a little better designed, showing the North Melbourne stop correctly, and avoiding any implications of non-existent through running.

Slightly less confusing V/Line network map

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6 Responses to “Confusing network maps from V/line”

  1. Andrew says:

    I feel a terrible cultural cringe about this. Public transport maps have been perfected in many countries over many years and are brilliant. Why is it so hard in the state of Victoria? Maps have improved but as you suggest, they have a way to go yet.

  2. Alan says:

    “However even that map is out of date

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Thanks for the correction, I somehow managed to miss it entirely!

      On closer inspection, they moved Southern Cross to the middle of the map, and North Melbourne station to the Seymour leg.

  3. Ingrid says:

    Great work Marcus. Keep it up, do you collaborate with the PTUA?

    I agree, the Vline maps could be improved. And maps and route guides have become less informative over time.
    The maps for tram routes on the trams are useless. I carry around my own paper map to try and make sense of where tram & train routed are in relation to the roads.

    Next time you’re at Ballarat Station, have a look at the enormous framed map of all the train lines in Victoria, it’s an original old one. I can’t remember the date, might be early 1900’s.

    Andrew Waugh has produced a series of maps, one for each decade, 1860 -2000.

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