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Information for Journalists and Bloggers

Page history last edited by Ben Smith 14 years, 6 months ago

I'm happy to talk about @uktrains and why I created it.  You can contact me:



Previous media coverage is here.


Key points:


  • In January 2009 I built the @uktrains service for Twitter at zero cost, in 2 days to provide users with free disruption alerts for any of the supported train companies they choose.  The service works well under extreme load when official sites fail (such as during the February 2009 snow) because Twitter is architected to support massive numbers of users such as during the Obama inauguration.


  • National Rail and the train operating companies' websites are not a convenient way to get travel news. Their website terms and conditions prohibit all re-use (including non-commercial and personal) of the data they publish and they enforce these restrictions. This is not how to behave on the modern web, is not good customer service and at that time rail operators lacked any web presence other than these sites.  In June 2009 National Rail Enquiries launched their own twitter service - I welcome this and hope it continues to be developed.


  • Convenient alerts (by SMS) that are available from National Rail cost 25p each, which is at least 20p more than the cost to send.  Train operators should not attempt to profit from the failings of their services.


  • Train operators should provide service information through multiple channels including social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook which allow them to interact with their customers.  National Rail Enquiries have now begun this process - it should be refined and developed further to allow 'listening' as well as 'broadcast' of information. Individual rail operating companies should engage with their customers directly too as First Captial Connect is doing.





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