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What is dk.trackmap.net?

This is a collection of schematic track maps for railways in Denmark. I aim at having up-to-date maps that show every functional prototype-size track and turnout in the country. Thanks to the support from a growing number of contributors, I am now less far from reaching that goal than I have been.

There is no money involved in dk.trackmap.net (except that I pay an ISP out of my own pocket for a DSL line for the server). I am not affiliated with any railway or organization in the railway trade. I hope that you will enjoy the maps and find them interesting.

Feel free to email me with general praise or comments about the collection. However, if you want to know how you get from point A to point B by train, there are easier ways to find out than emailing me. Since you're reading this on the web, you can look up your journey on Hafas just as easily as I can. People who nevertheless mail me "please tell me when the train goes from from Copenhagen to Odense" type questions may receive either harsh language or actual help in return, depending on my mood and the general level of stupidity exhibited.

Editorial principles

My main priority is to show the logical track layout in a hopefully clear fashion. I tend to put less weight on showing which leg of a turnout is the »straight« one, though I often try to preserve such features within the constraints set by space and clarity. In order to aviod very long maps I've chosen a uniform turnout angle of 45 degrees and generally made the »scale« in the tracks' direction much smaller than the »scale« across, especially in areas without switches. This has the disadvantage that some of the wider yard areas get to look rather bulky, but you can't have everything in this world...

From time to time, people suggest that I add more information to the maps, such as line distances, track numbers, interlocking types, signal placements etc. I try to be careful about adding new features which may confuse the maps further, but the jury is still out on most of the questions. You can influence the decision by mailing me your thoughts.

What was that place called, again?

I try to be consistent about using Danish or English versions of geographical names, but I find that every other week I'm consistent in a different way. Here is how it (doesn't) fits together:

DanishEnglishComment
København Copenhagen The capital. Seat of government, winter hive of the Queen, home of your friendly track map collection editor.
Helsingør Elsinore City north of Copenhagen, which, contrary to what Shakespeare says, was never the capital.
Sjælland Zealand The island where most of Copenhagen lies. I'm not sure whether "Zealand" is a correct form in English. Complain if you see it used on my pages.
Nordsjælland Northeastern Sjælland Don't ask.
Jylland Jutland The peninsula to the west which borders on Germany.
Nordjylland North Jutland
Sydjylland South Jutland
Østjylland East Jutland
Vestjylland West Jutland
Fyn Funen The larger of the islands between Jylland and Sjælland.
Storebælt Great Belt The sea between Sjælland and Fyn

How the maps are made

The raw track map data come from a variety of sources. For some stations I am in possession of copies of internal maps liberated by certain railway employees who do not wish to be mentioned here. In one case, a railway has officially contributed a track schematic for use in the collection.

Most commonly, though, the maps are composed form direct observation. I go out to the railways with a sketchpad and a pair of binoculars, and scribble down the track layout while riding the line a couple of times. At the larger stations I disembark and inspect by foot from platforms and (hopefully) public bridges over the track areas. Occasionally some complex part of the layout goes over the streets instead of under them; in that case it might be necessary to ride the trains many times before I have a reliable approximation of the layout.

Very recently I have dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century and bought a digital camera. Taking pictures is faster than doing sketches in the field. On the other hand, the paper-based approach still seems to work best for from-the-train observations, where sidings go past faster than I can aim the camera at them. I am experimenting with having the camera record video out of the train window, but that requires knowing in advance that interesting trackage will come past.

Many of the data for Jutland have been collected by local contributors who sent me sketches by email or ground mail. I suppose they do their sketching in essentially the same way as I do.

Once I acquire track map data, I spend quite some time drawing the layout into pixels, normalizing it to my lay-out conventions. In this phase I work pixel-by-pixel on the small-scale maps that are shown directly in the HTML pages. Before the great 2002-2006 hiatus I mostly did the editing in old Windows-based paint programs that could only handle 16 colors at a time; some of the uglier stylistic choices on the maps date back to the need to express everything in a fixed 16-color palette.

In recent times, however, I do the editing in the Gimp on Linux, and the master sources for all the map are now saved in the Gimp's native XCF format. After the switch to the Gimp I am gradually exploring the freedom of using more than 16 colors to give the maps a more modern graphical style.

A typical "master map" has several layers:

During the editing I make use of a home-made perl script that renders station names and other text in my house-style bi-color font. After the editing is done, a collection of various other home-made programs convert the XCF to what you actually see on the web:

Other contents on dk.trackmap.net

There is a few items here that do not have to do with track maps as such. They ended up here for lack of a better place to put them:


This page was last updated: November 16, 2008.
Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net>