Visualising British railway openings (1812 – 2010)

Came a cross a nice project yesterday developed by Distilled for the that visualises nearly 200 year of railway openings across Britain.

Click image to open interactive version (via

This interactive/animated piece tells an interesting story about the industrial and economic dynamics of Britain from the industrial age to the modern day. The inclusion of key historical or social milestones is a useful device to learn about some of the key catalysts for growth or expansion.

The data is taken from a dataset compiled and published on the Guardian Datablog containing all of the rail stations currently operating in the UK. You’ll notice stylistic similarities with Derek Watkins ‘Posted‘ project (visualising expansion of post offices across the US), which is a piece the designers reference as being an inspiration.

You can read more about the background to the project here.

1 Comment

JohnTNovember 12th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

It’s a shame they couldn’t find a data set for stations that were opened and then closed, as it would have been interesting to see the visual impact of the Beeching cuts in the 60s and 70s (