National Rail reveals techonologies to make your rail journey easier

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National Rail
Credit: Chidham and Hambrook Parish Council

National Rail, working with train operating companies and Network Rail, has revealed new technologies that they have been developing that will help make passenger journeys easier and quicker through your phone.

With National Rail, you can now get travel notifications straight to your mobile, start saving 1/3 off most rail journeys with a digital railcard and make lost train tickets a thing of the past by having them on your phone.

Over 1.7 billion rail journeys take place in Britain each year. 4 out of 5 adults use a smartphone on a daily basis, so these new additions below will help to make your commute or travel plans much simpler.

The new additions are Mobile tickets, digital Railcards and Alert Me. These three new additions are good examples of how train companies are working together and are using technology to provide tailored information for its passengers.

Mobile Tickets

Train tickets can now be bought before you arrive at the station. This means you can board a train without having to queue to buy your tickets, this reduces overcrowding at stations and limits the likelihood of train tickets being left at home or at stations.

There are currently 98 stations with ticket gates, with 79 receiving upgrades by the end of the year, this makes mobile ticketing easier for all. If you choose to travel using mobile ticketing and your station doesn’t have a ticket gate yet, don’t worry, there are now over 3,400 handheld scanning devices that staff carry to scan your ticket

Digital Railcards

Almost a quarter of people who have bought a railcard online have taken the option to have them digital. Railcards save customers over £152 a year, so next time you buy your tickets online, why not check whether or not you qualify for 1/3 off your rail fare (and up to 60% off a child fare). Digital railcards can be bought and downloaded using the Railcard app. If your phone is out of battery, you can swap your Railcard onto another phone to keep saving.

Alert Me

Alert Me is another way that technology is being used to make your journey easier and quicker. This is the industry’s first location-based notification function. By simply telling National Rail your Home and Work station, or favouriting a journey through the National Rail Enquiries app, National Rail is able to inform you about the status of your next train when you approach the station.

By using geofence ID of each station, Alert Me will also tell you what platform your train is due to depart from and provide you with the relevant disruption information to help you plan ahead.

Train Location and Movement Service

Currently, the real-time running of trains is reported once a train passes a set point on the track, this can then take up to 10 minutes for this to be reported. A project is currently looking at getting GPS movement information sourced from the train directly. By the end of the year, the information provided by the National Rail app will be more accurate to help you plan your commute or travel plans.

What did the officials say?

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience for the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to enable a better railway, said:

“The rail industry is working together to deliver smarter ticketing, more services, quicker journeys and better value-for-money for customers. More than £200m is being invested in improving customer experiences through technology to allow customers more choice, time and freedom in how they travel.”

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