If you’ve never seen a subway track map, I suggest you look at this one, for New York, by “radical cartographer” Andrew Lynch. Most track diagrams are not to scale, and look like they’re meant to make to make sense only to insiders. But this one is beautiful.
What’s more, it’s accurate in geographic scale, though of course the separation of tracks can’t be on the same scale as the network. Still, New York’s subway is both huge and full of details, so this is no mean feat. Only 22 insets were required, to zoom in on tricky segments.
Gazing at a good track map can give you an appreciation for the heroics involved in moving trains around in this limited infrastructure. Switches and extra tracks are very expensive underground, which is why they are never where you need them to handle a particular incident. This, for example, is why a track closure at one station may continue through several stations nearby.
Gaze at this piece of the Bronx, and marvel at what a train would have to do to get from Jerome Yard to a station on the Orange (B+D) line. I presume they don’t have to do this very often, but in a pinch, they can.
I spent a delighted hour with it.