More railroad maps, more fun!

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Friday, May 28, 2010
Amtrak ridership by station mapBy Matt Van Hattem, Senior Editor
I’m excited to tell you that we’ve uploaded 24 more maps on for your viewing entertainment. Among them was the very first Map of the Month we published, “Chicago tonnage by railroad,” in the October 2001 issue of Trains Magazine.
Look for more maps to appear on the site as our 70th anniversary year continues to unfold. The maps are available as downloadable PDFs to Trains magazine subscribers. Not a subscriber? Check out our free preview map, "Multiple-track main lines." But if one map's not enough, (and how could it be?) subscribe today!
Sharp-eyed readers will notice some subtle differences between the maps as they appeared in print and the ones online. For one thing, all of our online maps have the Trains Magazine logo, something we did not include when the Map of the Month series first started.
You might also notice that we’ve corrected errors that appeared in the print edition. We admit that we’re not perfect. And the challenge of creating maps with original content means that you will have sources that disagree, or are nonexistent. Despite our best efforts at accuracy, sometimes the best information comes from a reader after the map appears in print.
One part of the process I enjoy is seeing the feedback from readers after an issue is published. Some of you may have been asked to participate in a “rate this issue” survey. We send surveys out each a month to a different group of people who have registered on our website.
I recently went back through four years of surveys to see which maps ranked highest in popularity with all of you.
Here’s our reader’s choice of “Top 10” Maps of the Month, based on the percentage of survey respondents who ranked that map a “5” (the highest rank in our surveys).
1. Multiple-track main lines, 1950 (June 2006 issue)
2. Donner Pass snowsheds (December 2006)
3. What happened to the Pennsylvania Railroad? (February 2006)
4. What happened to the New York Central? (March 2007)
5. Follow that car! How four freight cars crossed the North American rail network (July 2007)
6. What happened to the Milwaukee Road? (August 2007)
7. Amtrak ridership by station, 2007 (March 2008) [sample pictured above]
8. Branded passenger trains of the 1950s and 1960s (December 2004)
9. Rail tonnage by state, 2004 (March 2006)
10. Mainline railroads in 2035 (May 2008)
What’s your favorite Map of the Month?
Do you have topics or ideas you’d like to see us turn into a Map of the Month?
Let me know! I’d enjoy hearing from you.
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