Coming Soon: New Live Train Times Passenger Information
Some updates are being made available this February 2020 on the Rail Record website. They will be made live at some point in February, and is currently undergoing testing.
Over the past few weeks we’ve made small additions to the website, such as:
- Added the pre-movement alert which checks the Train Describer messages for presence of a train before it leaves its origin.
- Added a new section on the member area for latest user added headcodes.
- Also updated the recent allocations in the members area to reflect their headcodes (obfuscated and real if available).
- We’ve also enabled people to modify the date which they “sighted” or “bashed” a particular train, so it is now possible to set a custom date when using the ticklist, by clicking the train number or using the members area search function.
These spur-of-the-moment additions were unplanned and left the website code in a bit of a mess. So these upcoming updates tidy that up.
Splits and Joins
The most prominent change will be, that with services that split from, or join another train, this information will be shown on the train timetable schedule page.
Previously, reformations were only indicated by an icon (hidden on smaller screens) for the stop reason. This new reformation information can be found beneath the location as usual, similarly to speed changes, and other changes en route.
This applies to both passenger and empty coaching stock services that have a WTT associated service in the timetable.
A small number of train operating companies, and for a limited time, coach data will be available.
When I say limited time, there are a few reasons:
- Coach information is only available until the end of the running day.
- We won’t be keeping historical formation because the ratio of data to schedules actually viewed will mean most of the data will be kept pointlessly, and database indexing is at expense.
- Data is made available on a license. Rail Record is not a commercial company and so there is a limit in place to the amount of data we can consume per month. When we go over the limit, the schedules will continue to display as before, but no coach or delay information will be shown until the next month’s quota starts.
When I say a small number of train operating companies, the coach length data is shared by these companies at their own preference. Not all train operating companies share the train length data with us (although it makes you wonder why the information is available on the platform CIS and not Rail Record…).
As of writing this post, and having tested it on a number of schedules, at this time the following train operating companies seem to share their coach data most reliably:
- GTR (Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express)
- Northern Rail seems quite reliable for the coach data
- West Midlands Trains (most services)
- SouthEastern (some services)
- GWR seem to add coach information here and there, although very rarely (i’ve only seen it a few times on the Brighton <> Great Malvern services…)
- There have been a few CrossCountry and Avanti formations but not often.
- Overground seems quite populous but some schedules don’t have formation data.
Other operator coach data such as TfL, ScotRail and SWR seem non-existent, but again, it’s up to the TOCs to share this data and for those that have we are grateful for.
Formation data where available, is shown at the top next to the operator.
If a service divides en-route, it will show “starting with” X number of coaches. Where a train is fixed formation throughout, it will show “formed of” X number of coaches.
In the service headers above the timetable, a brown banner may be displayed. Similarly to coach data, this information seems to be shared in moderation as well. Not all delayed services seem to show the delay information, which leads me to assume it is also at the train operator’s preference to share.
Again, this information is short-lived and no historical data is kept for this, because historic passenger schedules are very rarely viewed after their run date so is a waste of storage.
We hope that this information is of use to people other than me who use Rail Record website for their train times etc.
There is future room for expansion, such as service running information, notices etc, on the live train times location search results page. We may implement this in the future.
This website, Rail Record, acknowledges and attributes National Rail Enquiries who have shared their data through Darwin with us. We have attributed them on the live train times homepage at the bottom, and added a link to attribution section in the train times site footer.