How to receive SMS and Email Train Service Alerts with Rail Record
Part 2 of our weekly guide to using the Rail Record members area. This week, we take a look at how you can receive text and email alerts with Rail Record.
To receive SMS alerts, you do need to purchase some SMS credits, which are priced at £1 for 10, £5 for 50 and £10 for 200 SMS messages. However, email alerts are free to use.
Email and SMS alerts can be sent to you for a train service when your specified conditions are met. These conditions are:
Alerts that you can receive:
- When a train schedule is activated – all train services should be activated in the computer railway systems before they run. Receive a notification once activated. Especially useful if theres a WTT permanent path in the system that doesn’t always get activated / run, so you can get notified about a potential runner!
- When a train is cancelled – you may choose to be notified about a train if it is cancelled – in addition, you can also get notified if this cancellation is overturned.
- Timing variation limits exceeded – it is possible to define your maximum allowance “X” in minutes, and if the train is “X” minutes early, or “X” minutes late, you will receive a notification.
- Headcode change – if the headcode changes, you can get notified if the train’s ID changes, eg from 6V00 to 0V00.
- Origin change – get alerted if the train is starting its journey from a different location, such as if it was cancelled en route on its previous service and is starting its next service elsewhere.
- First movement – once the train leaves its origin, you can be notified.
- Reaches location – once the train reaches a defined location set by you, you can be notified.
To receive an alert, find a train service schedule on the live train times page. Scroll down right to the bottom, and click on Receive Alerts.
The image above shows the receive alerts button. Once clicked on, you will be taken to the alerts page. If you’re not already logged in, you will be prompted to do so and following successful login, you’ll be taken to the alerts page. Don’t already have a Rail Record members account? Find out how to create a rail record members account with our getting started guide.
Once you are on the alerts page, scroll down past the introduction messages, and you’ll see something like the below.
The Create Alert box shows you the train service that you are creating an alert for. From the dropdown box, you can choose to receive alerts by email, SMS or both. Upon successful delivery of an SMS alert, your account will be debited by 1 SMS credit. If you choose to be notified when a service is reinstated following cancellation, this will also be an additional 1 SMS credit deduction because you’ll be receiving 2 SMS alerts.
There is a limit of 15 email alerts per user at any one time, although you can remove this limit permanently by purchasing 200 SMS credits for £10, or email limit removal for £5. For each alert in the database, the website must run queries to see if these alerts need to be actioned. With lots of alerts, this can potentially delay the alert system and cause it to be late in delivering messages. This 15 email limit helps to overcome this, and purchasing the email limit removal for your account will go towards improving website performance for this purpose.
Clicking Reaches Location on the alert type list will make another drop down box show, which lists all timing point locations for that train service. Upon picking a location from the dropdown box, you can be notified when the train reaches that location.
If you choose to be notified about Timing Variation, you can enter the number of minutes in the text box. If you only want to be notified about train timing variation from NOW onwards, tick the now onwards checkbox.
Should you have any alerts that you’ve already created, they will be shown in the My Alerts section of both the alerts page and my account page.
We hope that this guide has been useful to ready you for when the Rail Record members area system launches on June 1st. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to comment below and we will respond as soon as we can. Join us next week as we look at how you can add a train / locomotive allocation to live train times train services.