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I'm fairly certain the tint is just there as a means to improve readability - darker tinting is applied to shorter lines to make them stand out where there is an overlap (e.g. Nottingham would be hidden by the Manchester and Leeds lines).

Also, cities are tightly-packed enough in the UK to warrant at least some labels. Without a clear scale, the point at Swindon could easily be mistaken for Bristol (which is bigger). As for Shoeburyness - I suspect you'd be pushed to find 1% of UK citizens who had even heard of it, let alone locate it on a map!

Mat Morrison

I live 50 miles from Shoeburyness. Had never heard of it.

But that highlights something that the BBC's chart describes that's potentially relevant to the story that's being told (I've pointedly *not* read the article to keep my perspective fresh.)

When we're talking about train journeys, distance has some relevance (even if there's no correlation.) The original chart does a very good job of communicating journey length.

There may be a certain amount of assumed knowledge, too. Certain towns are more important than others -- the inclusion of Shoeburyness is such an oddity that it highlights that for the other cities.


The entire dataset can be simplified by subtracting 66% from each number to show the "real" price changes

FWIW, the formula for the real price change should actually be:

(1 + nominal change)/(1 + inflation) - 1

(The nominal change minus inflation rate formula is a reasonable approximation for low inflation rates, but doesn't really work here)

Mike Woodhouse

I think the story is actually more sordid*, in that the very low number of season tickets sold for inter-city routes allows price increases to be kept to inflation without significantly affecting revenue.

Rail ticket price increases are subject to an inflation-based cap: I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that season-ticket prices are a factor in the formula, allowing well-above inflation increases for the tickets that are commonly purchased.

I'd guess that commuter routes would show a different pattern. My 12-mile suburb-to-City commute generally seems to increase at the maximum rate, for example.

* (or pragmatic, if you look at it from the rail companies' view)


What would have been more useful (within the context of the specific story) would be to have color-coded by rail company (since different companies run these routes).

I would love to see the sub-maps showing the commuter routes in and around London, Birmingham, Manchester, etc.


I think Shoeburyness is technically a commuter route, and may be subject to more regulation.

Something that would be cool - to make the distances proportionate to the fare. So Leeds is £xx further away.

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