Network Rail and GWR are trialling a new passenger information service that will provide passengers with better travel information about train services during delays and disruption.
The trial was launched on 26th October and will run until late November. and covers train services operating on Network Rail’s Western route which runs from Paddington to Penzance, including services in Devon, Cornwall, Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley, the Cotswolds, Wiltshire and South Wales.
The new service will operate Monday to Friday from 6.30 am to 7.30 pm. To enable passengers to make better-informed decisions when travelling by train, rainbow boards in Network Rail’s three managed stations at Paddington, Reading, and Bristol Temple Meads will display weather report-style video reports on Twitter at @NetworkRailWest and @GWRHelp on Twitter.
The video report updates will provide passengers with better and more up-to-date information when incidents have just occurred and operational teams are working to resume train services. At the moment, this rarely happens, and when it does passengers find it difficult to understand what is happening across the network and how they might be impacted. Filling this gap in information should help reduce passengers’ frustration.
The boards are like those used on the London underground, where information about services is displayed in an easy-to-understand colour coding of green, amber, red, or black, depending on the operational status of those services.
Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said “Passengers deserve accurate, rapid and clear information about their journeys. When things go wrong and people face delays, the whole rail industry should go above and beyond to help passengers get to where they want to be as quickly and smoothly as possible.
“This fantastic new service will play an important role in providing simple and reliable information, putting the priorities of passengers first.”
Nicky Hughes, Wales & Western communications director, said “We know how frustrating it can be when delays happen, and passengers don’t know how this will impact their journey.
“We know that much of the time passengers get information on delays quite quickly, but when we have significant incidents, like last week’s flooding, it can take a while before train services start and until this happens passengers often struggle to understand what’s going on.
“We hope this trial will help close that gap. If it’s well received and helps improve passengers’ experience, we will look to introduce it on a permanent basis.”
GWR Performance Director, Barry Milsom, said “Great Western Railway was among the first train operators to offer real-time customer information via social media more than a decade ago, and we have been updating that service ever since.
“This joint trial allows us to work even more closely with Network Rail colleagues to provide more in-depth information about what is causing delays, what is being done to resolve them and how customers can continue their journeys.”
David Sidebottom, director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said “Passengers tell us that they need accurate, timely and personalised information when there is disruption. Reliable information is vital to help them plan, avoid busier services and manage any delays or disruption to their journey.”
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