When sitting in a train moving through the country or waiting in a railway station, I'd see tracks going in different directions and often wonder where they lead. With this I can work it out. It's not just the main lines on here, but includes docks, goods yards, preserved railways (like those at Beamish or Tanfield) and the like. This volume runs from Kings Cross in the south to Berwick Upon Tweed in the north and from Leeds in the west to the east coast; it has a good index of station names and other railway features like signal boxes and junctions: if it's here you'll find it.
As a track diagram this is not a map in the traditional sense, but a series of straight lines marking out track features. In principle it's not unlike the London Underground map, except without the colour and lines are not overlapped. Local geography, such as curves in the track or nearby towns and roads are largely ignored, except where they are necessary to indicate details of the track such as platforms and tunnels.
You need to like railways in order to enjoy this book. If you've not wondered about where a railway lines goes or how different routes link to each other, then you'll probably not have any need for it. I also have no need for it, but I enjoy looking at the diagrams and thinking of the railway, where it goes and what it carries. To fully understand these diagrams you need to look at them alongside a traditional map, else there is no context.
I have no idea of the technical merit or practical use of these diagrams but even as a person interested in railways it includes a great deal of information that I have no use for now, but may perhaps come into its own as I come to better understand it.
on 18 May 2016
Massive detail. Includes passing loops, crossovers, signal boxes, platforms and electrification. Does not include signals or line speeds. Includes ECML up to Berwick, Midland mainline after Leicester. Settle and Carlisle line and East Anglia.