Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

We review a new edition of Thomas Cook's Rail Map of Europe, a map that uses minimalist cartography to good effect in a map that is remarkably useful.

article summary —

Maps are a marvellous form of propaganda. The 2009 printed timetable of Zeleznice Srbije (ZS or Serbian Railways) is a very handsome book. Far too good to be just discarded when it has run its course. The slim volume is a masterpiece of clarity and good design. The book has a clear fold-out map that would have you believe that ZS is running several train services within Kosovo, not to mention two routes that cross from Serbia into northeast Bosnia - the latter both non-existent, and it has been many a year since any ZS train ventured very far into Kosovo. Too many maps in national rail timetables show rail routes that are entirely historical (viz. they have long since ceased to have any trains) or elements which are aspirational pieces of cartographic fiction - ie. they are routes which might be fine additions to the rail network, but which don't actually exist.

So full marks to Brendan Fox and his team at Thomas Cook Publishing for the latest edition of their Rail Map Europe.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 26.