Disruption dodging tool promises appy rail relief

Yorkshire passengers can from today benefit from launch of rail industry's first disruption re-routing tool.

Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 2:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 2:48 pm

Tested for three months to gather customer feedback about how best to improve it, the app will then allow other operators to integrate the device into their websites and systems.

Virgin Trains is brains behind the system to help commuters avoid rail disruption on their journey and get to their destination. TrainMapper, powered by Google Maps and National Rail Enquiries, will allow passengers to check in real-time travel information, delay predictions and find alternative routes to avoid getting stuck in disruption.

Virgin Trains

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Where previously customers needed to check individual train operator websites, social media or even go to the station to get up to date travel information and alternative routes, https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/trainmapper/ is a one-stop-shop available in the palm of their hands.

TrainMapper will ...

Be first tool to show alternative routes and multi-transport options

Put live real-time delay estimates in customers' hands

Virgin Trains

Warn commuters of disruption before they become stuck

The tool displays disruption on all operators and will not only help customers spot where any problems might delay their journey, but also predict how long the delay might be and show what routes they can take instead. The aim is to put more information in the hands of customers, meaning they can make decisions about alternative routes if their original journey is disrupted.

The tool, developed by Virgin Trains, Southeastern and Rail Delivery Group, displays disruption information for passengers across the UK’s rail network. It will be available exclusively to Virgin Trains customers on its Yorkshire-serving East Coast website and app for three months. During this time, users will be invited to submit feedback on the launch version which will be used to inform later updates to the tool. After three months it will be made available to other train operators for them to roll out to customers.

Virgin Trains has majority-funded the development of the tool from its £25 million Innovation Fund which aims to revolutionise the customer experience on the east coast and pave the way for other train operators to do the same. Customers will be able to access the TrainMapper via the Virgin Trains East Coast mobile app or website and it can be used from common devices such as tablet, mobile and laptop/desktop.

The tool will display maps and information that will allow customers to see ...

Colour-coded guide to how severe any disruption is and an indication of how it might affect journeys

Alternative routes they can take around any disruption that is expected to last longer than 30 minutes

Arrival and departure information for each station

Views of stations and information about facilities

East Coast Safety and Operations' Warrick Dent said: “Virgin Trains has a strong track record of innovation, and TrainMapper is the latest example of how we’re giving our customers more control. We work hard to avoid disruption affecting our customers wherever possible and we want to put more information into the hands of our customers to allow them to make the most informed decision possible, whether that’s to delay their journey or take an alternative route.

"This tool will be fed by real time information so the latest live updates and travel information is all shown in one place. We know how frustrating it can be when services are delayed, which is why we’re not only investing in our stations and trains, but also in new technology that we hope will help customers make decisions about how they travel.”

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of Customer Experience at Rail Delivery Group – which brings together train operators and Network Rail to enable a better railway - said: "TrainMapper is a great example of how rail companies are working together to help train travelers make even better informed choices about their journeys. And billions of pounds are being invested to deliver a more reliable railway, making journeys better now and for the long-term.”