Railway Map of Spain & Portugal

Self-initiated project | November 2019-January 2020 | Adobe Illustrator
This design for a modern railway network map of Spain and Portugal in the Iberian Peninsula is an adaptation of an earlier map design and takes its inspiration from vintage railway network maps of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now available as a print in two sizes from my online store: shop.thisismikehall.com

Click the images below to enlarge, or here to view the whole map in closer detail.

Detail of the title card and scale bar. The HALL'S logo is an homage to that used by G.W. Bacon & Co on its maps in the early 20th century.

My map displays all state-owned railways lines within Spain and Portugal that are (as of February 2020) open to passenger and freight traffic, including the entire Renfe and Comboios networks and smaller regional networks.

Detail of the Lisbon metropolitan area.

A note on language: this is an English-language map, therefore all names are spelt in the forms by which they are commonly or officially known in English. In the case of cities, their co-official or alternative names in Spanish, Portuguese or other regional languages are written in smaller type alongside e.g. Lisbon/Lisboa, Seville/Sevilla etc.

All railways are represented by solid black lines, with stations marked with dots or circles; larger circles generally represent larger cities or important interchanges.

The various types of railway line are represented by a variety of stroke widths and styles, graduating from the thickest (high speed lines) to the thinnest (branch lines and single-track, narrow-gauge railways).

This detail shows the extensive narrow-gauge Renfe Feve network which connects most of the northern coast of Spain with León and Santander.

Sections of the railway networks in neighbouring France and Morocco that fall within the map’s area are also shown, along with sea ferry routes (thin blue lines) and main automobile roads (pale grey lines).

Freight lines are represented by thin lines with perpendicular dashes, while lines which are extant but no longer in use (such as the line between Colmenar Viejo and Aranda de Duero, north of Madrid) are represented by thinner dashed lines. Some stations are omitted where there is a lack of space.

Detail of the Madrid metropolitan area.

Metro or other rapid transit networks of individual cities (such as the Barcelona or Madrid metro networks) are not shown as these would be too small to show clearly at this scale. Enlarged city-centre maps of Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon appear at the bottom right corner of the design (see below).

The planned courses of high-speed AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) lines which are under construction as of February 2020 are represented by double-dashed lines.

My map does not attempt to display the routes of specific train services or other service patterns provided by the respective operators that a modern transit map might; its principal purpose is to present the railway networks of the two countries in a simple but aesthetically interesting way.

Various weights and styles of the sans-serif Bureau Grotesque typeface family are used for all rail, urban, regional and political labels. Though a modern design created in 1989, this typeface convincingly evokes sans-serif typefaces of the period.

All geographical and natural features including mountainous areas, individual peaks, natural parks, rivers, reservoirs and lakes are set in Clarendon Italic.

The design was created entirely using Illustrator with the exception of the shaded mountain relief, which was created in Photoshop.

In this detail can be seen various narrow-gauge railway lines along the Costa Blanca, including the FGV (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana) line between Alicante and Dénia, and the Renfe Feve line between Cartagena and Los Nietos in Murcia.

Provincial boundaries are marked with thin dotted lines and individually coloured using a 4-colour range; autonomous community boundaries and international borders are marked with increasingly thicker dashed black lines with red backgrounds.

Regions that lack adequate railway connections are clearly shown on the map, in particular regions such as Teruel province (Teruel being the only provincial capital in Spain still without a direct connection to Madrid).

The Catalonia region proved to be the most challenging part of the map, with its many lines and stations contained within a busy and relatively small area. The distribution of the labels took several attempts to complete.

Detail of the Barcelona metropolitan area.

As with other metro and light rail systems the Barcelona metro system is not shown, however two commuter lines operated by FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) between the city centre and the towns of Igualada and Manresa are shown.

Detail of the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza. The narrow-gauge railway lines that cross Mallorca operated by SFM (Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca) and Ferrocarril de Sóller are both shown.

At the bottom right corner are inset maps of the three largest cities (Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona) that show the detail near their centres with more clarity at a larger scale.

Detail of the key to lines and symbols which appears at the bottom left corner.

The note on language and guide to names in other languages which appears at the top left corner.

A mock-up of the map printed and displayed in a 70 x 50 centimetre frame. The map is available to purchase as a print in two sizes from my online store.

Resources: Comboios, Euskotren, Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, Renfe, SNCF, Wikipedia.