What is Railmap.xyz?
Short answer: A map of all passenger rail networks in the United States.
Long answer: This map seeks to visually catalog all existing and soon-to-exist passenger rail systems across all 50 US states, and Washington D.C. The idea is to consolidate all these systems in one, easy to read and navigate map. By systems, we mean all passenger train systems, such as commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, monorail, etc. The map does not include other methods of public transit such as buses or boats. Also, toy systems/rides are not included, such as those at amusement parks or museums.
For now, the map simply shows you the data, but there are plans to eventually make it much more interactive and allow the user to search and navigate the data to find what they want and get where they need to go.
What about System ABC? Why isn't it on the map?
Well for starters, the map is still very much under construction. It's a slow process to comb through all the data for all these systems. Most likely, if you don't see something on the map, it is planned - just not yet implemented.
But if you still don't see something and worry it may have been forgotten, see below.
System ABC is all wrong!
First off, that's not a question!
Secondly, while every attempt has been made to make the map as accurate as possible, at the end of the day there's a lot of data to go through and we're only human. If you do find an error with the map, please head on over to the Trello Board and let us know.
And you are...?
Hi. I'm August. I'm just a guy who likes maps, and trains. I'm certainly not an expert in data visualization or manipulation, nor an I an expert in passenger rail. I started this map essentially because I thought it would be cool to have. Most of what I know I've learned along the way (as such, I have almost certainly gotten some things wrong). I hope though, despite this, the map can be of use to you!
Why do this?
Well for starters, I'm a nerd who loves maps and trains. But mostly, the idea came mostly out of my own desire to have a map like this. As someone who prefers riding trains over other forms of public transportation, I was trying to see if there was a way to get between the cities of the Northeast (particularly Boston, NYC, and Washington D.C.) without relying on Amtrak's expensive Northeast Corridor (unfortunately, as I learned, there usually isn't). But as I discovered, there was no good way to search or see multiple rail systems simultaneously. Sure, Google Maps and related have transit features, but they rely on getting you to your destination the quickest, and are also tied to the time in which you search. I wasn't necessarily interested in the quickest route, but simply wanted to see if there were even OPTIONS. I found some other pretty cool mapping projects (see the links on this page), but none of them quite did what I wanted.
If you can't find what you need, then hey, why not make it? I dove into Mapbox and various rail data sites, and, well, here we are.
At the end of the day though, this is a lot of work and thus a slow process. Mapping the entire U.S. passenger rail system is tedious, particularly when there's no good synthesis of data. It's a lot of time combing through individual timetables, existing maps, and Wikipedia. But hey, the end product will (I hope) be worth it - I just ask for your patience.
This is cool, but I don't live in the U.S. Can you do a map for XYZ Country?
It's true, the U.S. is certainly not the only country out there with rail systems to map, and most countries across the pond have much, much better systems to boot. Right now however, the focus is the U.S.
If you're interested in doing something similar for other parts of the world, let me know! I'd love to see other projects people are working on, and maybe I can lend some assistance as well.
Where can I see upcoming features?
Check out the Trello Board. It's usually pretty up-to-date on our progress, both currently implemented features as well as planned ones.
Is your data publicly available?
As of v 0.1.4, it is! You can find all the data currently collected (as well as the code for the site) over on GitHub.
This is super cool and I'd love to help!
Thanks for the interest! Right now, the biggest help you can provide is data verification, and letting me know if there are any major issues. If you're interested in more specific data checking, particularly if you have experience with a particular system, you can find Google Sheets of all the station data on the Trello board.
How can I get in touch?
Best way is through Trello. Just mention me in a comment with @AugustDev.
Last updated: December 10, 2019
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