back to article National Rail Enquiries

I should use local trains more often, but there are several reasons why I don’t. One is I’ve no idea where most of my local stations are, let alone the ones dotted further afield around Manchester. Secondly, I can’t be bothered picking up timetables. The new National Rail Enquiries app solves both these problems and could herald …

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Alternative

An alternative:-

Rail Planner Live

Cheaper at £3.49, and has built in ticket purchase.

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Anonymous Coward

I know it was said in jest (I think) but do people really think a fiver for a useful app like this is really too much?

Given the author would have given up a gentleman spherical for this app while living in london it seems 5 pounds is rather a good deal.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed, if you travel by rail a lot £4.99 is worth it, if you don't then the free version is there so people can't complain - something has to pay for all that dev work but most people think they are entitled to things for free.

£4.99 is probably less than I'll spend on my central London lunch today, so really, how expensive is it in the grand scheme of things?

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Yes, it should be free.

Or rather, some of the stupid money gouged out of me for tickets should have gone towards packaging this public information into a free app.

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JDX
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I agree - if this was a PC app £5 would be cheap. SmartPhone apps are real applications and of course this one doesn't have worldwide market so that means prices have to be higher.

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ads for free

well the ads aren't as obtrusive as any other ad laden app, so I think free with a few ignorable ads is good value.

When this was released a long while ago for £5, I shunned it for the free versions provided by various train companies offering pretty much exactly the same functionality.

Competition works :)

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JDX
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Re: Yes, it should be free.

It is available on the web already. Why should my ticket prices pay for developing an app for rich people,,, if you can afford a smart-phone buy the bloody app.

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Coat

The train now arriving at platforms 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 has come in sideways...

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The train arriving at platform 5 is...oh wait. Cancelled. Again.

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Rail planner

I agree, RP is just as good (judging from screenshots) and cheaper. Had it for a year or two. And it has helped me out a couple of times. You get some info about where your train is, rather than where it's supposed to be too, although this isn't always very accurate.

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My recommendations

For purchasing tickets, don't use TheTrainline, use an app provided by one of the train operating companies, it doesn't have to be your local one. That way, you don't pay booking fees.

On iDevices, TheTrainline is probably better for general information on services, as you can download timetables, and it doesn't have adverts. The Android version isn't anywhere near as good as the iVersion, as it doesn't have the ability to use GPS to find your nearest station, or download timetables.

If you want to buy tickets to London to connect with a Eurostar service, RailEasy sells a "London International" ticket which allows peak-time travel at off-peak prices for Eurostar ticket holders. There is a booking fee, but it can still work out cheaper than paying for a full price ticket elsewhere.

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Re: My recommendations

Whole heartedly agree with first para - its worth noting for instance that the Virgin Trains app lets you book any service (not just Virgins) without rooking you for the booking fee that TheTrainLine charge.

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Unhappy

Re: My recommendations

Still waiting for the retraction of "The Trainline has a more-than-serviceable app for that and it generally offers the best prices". It doesn't. Trainline is just about the only agent to charge booking fees and credit card/Paypal fees and their ticket prices are no better than anywhere else. Does the Reg get a 'bung' from Trainline?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: My recommendations

Why do people think that, on the internet, opinion disagreement == obvious corruption ?

C.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My recommendations

No app for Southeastern, not surprising as I have found whenever there's a problem the bloke at the station is as in-the-dark as I am.

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Corruption?

Because in this case it's far more than an "opinion disagreement" - it's very peculiar to recommend thetrainline.com with its booking fee when it's simple to use other methods to avoid it. But I go for cockup rather than conspiracy on this one.

It's ironic that thetrainline.com uses the sheep analogy for its TV advertising - it's the sheep who use thetrainline.com rather than the free alternatives.

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Vic
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Re: My recommendations

> Why do people think that, on the internet, opinion disagreement == obvious corruption ?

Because the two are so strongly correlated...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice app, but the mobile version of the website does the job well too although it has slightly fewer features. Saves clogging up precious space on the phone though.

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Actually I don't find the mobile version works very well at all for me - the buttons are in the wrong positions relative to the keyboard, and it's quite slow, so I often select the wrong option by mistake. It's good to have a mobile site, but it could be improved upon.

Unfortunately this new app only supports Android 2.2+, which I don't have (stock ROM on Orange San Francisco for me still). Another reason to visit CyanogenMod and bite that flashing bullet!

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Orange San Francisco

I've steered clear of CyanogenMod, too much volitilty and dozens of different but similar roms. I've standardised all my SFs on Swedish Snow RL7. Very stable with lots of nice cyanogen features built in.

Also install Ad Free from the Marketplace (Play) and you won't see any of the adverts this app purports to have saving you a fiver.

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Shameless rip off

Please do not buy this application. It is a poor copy of the previous 'official' National Rail app, now called 'UK Train Times' which works very well. It won Mobile Product Of The Year, UK IT Awards.

It can't be right for NationalRail to licence this to a software developer and then create a new version themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameless rip off

That'd be the "Train Times UK" app by "Croworc"?

If it is then I, personally, wouldn't touch it with the proverbial bargepole.

I bought the previous version of this app. When they updated it they released the new version as a new app and expected users to cough up again.

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Unhappy

Re: Shameless rip off

Really? When was this? I have had "UK Traintimes" on various iOS devices for at least 2-3 years and only paid once.

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Re: Shameless rip off

Croworc refunded me the price of the earlier app when I contacted them...

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Free alternative

I've always found thetrainline app to be very good. Also allows in-app purchases.

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Another vote for Rail Planner Live

Especially its location aware widget.

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Switzerland.....

I'm currently workling in Bern, Switzerland right now and the main operator here is SBB [in Swiss German]. Their application is also very good, and is free. Ad' free and free to download. For Andriod, Nokia N9 [my device] and the Apple stuff.

The Swiss view is : this will generate revenue by 'helping' people to get the correct train at the correct time. What is the word I am looking for.... it is a SERVICE!

Why does Blighty have to be like Little America and charge for SERVICE ?????????

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Re: Switzerland.....

@Piloti - The Swiss (and German model) is to provide a SERVICE to the PUBLIC.

The UK model without gouge the public to fatten corporate pockets.

They both work well for their intended purpose.

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Stop

Re: Switzerland.....

This 'National Rail' application is in fact produced for the Association of Train Operating Companies, which is a private company limited by Guarantee, whose members are UK train operators. It provides passenger information services to consumers, including the National Rail Enquiries phone service.

ATOC has a track record of trying to monetize these services (its other funding stream is from its member companies).

Does rather seem to be me like double dipping. You might like to write to your MP and Justine Greening (secretary of state for transport) - who is currently in the process refranchising a large proportion of UK rail services - asking why unfettered public access to this data is not a requirement of all future franchises.

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Re: Switzerland.....

Crap - I wish I would learn to type. That should read...

The UK model is to gouge the public to fatten corporate pockets.

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Re: Switzerland.....

@Ommerson

It's triple-dipping. My taxes are subsiding the service in the first place.

I had recent cause to use the train in Germany. A one-way cost €60 bought at the station on the day, not cheap I grant you but still around half the price of a UK equivalent ticket (some of the changes were tight, so I took flexible).

The train left on time, was spacious, clean, quiet, had a comfortable dining car, good and reasonably priced food. Even the more rural trains were all clean and well turned out. For half the price I felt like I got four times the service.

In the UK I would have been on a slow, dirty, overcrowded train which served cardboard and paid through the nose for the privilege.

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Re: Switzerland.....

Gotta agree with Pilotii - the sbb one works a treat.

As a former UK'er, i can testify that public transport is seen as a service here, not an expensive luxury with which to gouge the often captive public as it is back home.

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FAIL

Strains

My local station has this information on screens and they never charge me for looking tat them. They even let me know about delays to a service.

As for get me home, usually the staff can figure this out, if not then I pick up a paper timetable and read. Honestly folk, do you need your smart phone to tell you everything?

If so then I may just develope an app called breath, that when running it sounds a beep every time you need to take a breath.

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Re: Silly Strains

What's the point of having a smart phone if not to extend the internet, and the information available on it, to wherever you happen to be?

OK maybe you need a personal organiser. You should have bought a PDA before they became obsolete. If you only need a phone that you can carry around, just buy a simple button phone. It'll be cheaper, get better signal and its battery will last forever.

If you own a smartphone this is precisely the kind of use it might have on a day-to-day basis.

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Re: Strains

Agreed. And while we're on the subject why do we bother with houses? People used to manage fine living in caves.

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Mushroom

Re: Strains

What a troll-lol-lol-lol.

Seriously, just what are you on about? For people who go on long commutes or want to look at the train info on the go on the way to the station (especially if you don't have 5 minutes to gorp at the information boards at the larger stations), it's perfect. Especially when things can change on the UK train system within the matter of seconds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Strains

Just have to say this: I love your way of spelling 'gawp'.

Fabulous.

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Linux

Re: Strains

Wow. That was an epic fail. Hand over mind typo in that instance :). You knew what I meant anyhow. Quack!

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WTF?

Not sure what the complaint is (about this app). It's free, no one needs to pay £5 to get rid of the ads, especially as the ads aren't exactly in the way.

If you don't want to pay £5, don't pay £5.

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JDX
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But everyone knows allowing ads is selling your soul.

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Anonymous Coward

when your stuck in the snow...

Closest Train and Coach UK is the one you want.

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Anonymous Coward

Drinks trolley

Is there an app to tell you where the drinks trolley is, and it's expected arrival time at your seat?

(Only for those times when you use the cheapo trains, obviously :-)

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Re: Drinks trolley

> Is there an app to tell you where the drinks trolley is, and it's expected arrival time at your seat?

Just before you arrive at your destination.

HTH, etc.

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Unhappy

Re: Drinks trolley

Not just cheapo- the Exeter to Waterloo services (I get it from Yeovil occaisonally) have nothing till Salisbury then a trolley from thereon in. Far prefer trolleys to buffets, you don't have someone knocking into you every two minutes carrying drinks - that's why I hate the Paddington/Taunton trip.

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Meh

Alerts

The alerts function would be useful if it would automatically check for delays every day, rather than just the day you specify and only for a specific train. Unless its me....?

I'd also like to see an app that can combine national rail and the tube.

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Re: Alerts

Pubtran does this, and London Buses as well. The GPS function only finds stations and bus stops in the Greater London area, but you can get train times for anywhere in the country.

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Go

Re: Alerts

Journey Pro does all this, I believe.

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What about traintimes.org.uk?

This site works for me - whether on a PC or a smartphone - no pointless graphics, just information. I believe that it scrapes all the info from the National Rail website, so is just as up-to-date.

You can bookmark your favourite stations, departure boards or the "get me home" function as (eg) http://traintimes.org.uk/nearest/london

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Alert

Just to clarify

You don't have to pay for the app - it's free and add-supported. I just think that a fiver is a lot to ask to get rid of the adverts when the app itself can be had for nothing. 99p fair enough, but 4.99?

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JDX
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Re: Just to clarify

If only you had the choice which version to get.

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