Dale Haslam's train blog: Bosses using technology wisely
ONE of the good things about regularly using rail transport is the way train providers are embracing technology.
Gone are the old days where you had to consult a paper timetable, arrive at the station and hope that, if there is a delay or cancellation, someone at the station will tell you.
Nowadays, National Rail’s website runs an online searchable timetable and ticket search, as well as the extremely impressive live departure boards (LDB) service, which shows you where any train is at any point during its journey.
So first thing in the morning, I can log on to check my train is on time before I set off.
Even better, the National Rail phone app allows you to set alerts for particular trains, so my phone buzzes if there are issues that cause major delays, or even replacement buses.
My one bugbear is the online LDB is more accurate than the station screens, so it is not fair to people at stations who are regularly given the wrong information.
Another nice touch is that the two main operators through Bolton run their own Twitter accounts — @northernrailorg and @TPExpressTrains.
They tweet about delays and cancellations and also answer questions, usually from disgruntled passengers stuck on platforms.
On Friday, Northern Rail’s tweeter introduced himself as Tim and wrote about trains with too few carriages, train faults — and even a lost cat that was found at Garforth station six weeks ago.
One passenger, Claire Davies, tweeted Tim to praise a conductor who dealt with a difficult passenger, and Tim said the conductor would be nominated for an employee of the month award.
Nobody would expect the railway to run smoothly all the time but, when delays occur, half the battle is keeping people informed and it is good that those at the helm are using technology effectively to do so.