Retro Sydney CityRail maps!


If you'll recall from my earlier post looking at Singapore in the 1970s, I'm fascinated with modern history! Today I unearthed the Historical NSW Railway Timetables website.

Hey, wait a minute

Firstly, yes I am aware the image above is clearly not a retro rail map, or even a contemporary rail map at all. In fact, other than a couple of physical train lines entering the bridge there isn't any indication that rail activity is taking place. It's called setting the scene, this is a photo of North Sydney taken in 1980 by nicksarebi on Flickr. Interesting how some things are clearly the same, but so much has changed!

Moving on! Hey, that was a bit of a pun… how come I'm only funny by accident? Don't answer that. The first map here is the suburban network in 1969, go the font!

Now we jump to 1987, when I would have been 1! You can kinda tell from the typeface and simplified, coloured block lines; perhaps a homage to the London Underground? :)

And finally we jump another decade or so to see the map Olympic people would have used to find their way to New South Wales Taxpayer Sinkhole Arena, as it was almost called:

What strikes me about all these maps is just how little things have changed in the intervening decades. Entire networks in other cities have been built from scratch during this time, and Sydney has barely had a dozen new stations introduced.

New map designs and signage, while being incredibly fascinating looks into our modern past, don't hide the fact the state has seen little new investment in public transport for a painfully long time. The new Liberal government claims transport is their "number one priority", but we'll believe it when we see it!

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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