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Railhub Archive
2014-10-31 RDG-001
Rail Delivery Group


Online platform launches to give developers even easier access to live train information

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Rail Delivery Group

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Rail Delivery Group

Online platform launches to give developers even easier access to live train information

31 October 2014
source Rail Delivery Group
type Press release

A new online registration platform has launched giving developers automated access to the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) Darwin Webservice, making it even easier for people and organisations to use live train running information in their apps, websites and other services.

The Darwin Webservice is a feed which uses information from NRE's Darwin system to answer enquiries about live train running times. Darwin is the system paid for by train operators which analyses raw data from numerous rail industry sources to predict train arrival and departure times.

Following changes announced by the Rail Delivery Group earlier this year, all prospective users are now able to access Darwin directly through the new registration platform at the following URL

Users can now simply agree to the terms and conditions at the click of a mouse, rather than having to go through a more time consuming manual process to gain access.

Until June this year, a number of organisations and developers that used the service were charged and required a license. Under the new arrangements, only the biggest commercial or private users whose services are used more than five million times in a four week period will be charged.

Free access to Darwin has also been granted to public bodies, including Transport for London, Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) and local authorities, regardless of how many requests for information their customers make.

Since the changes were made, the number of third party developers with access to NRE feeds has increased from 178 to 441.

By making it easier for people and organisations to use NRE’s live train-running information, the rail industry hopes to help ensure that more passengers consistently get the highest quality information about their services.

Over the last decade, train companies and Network Rail have put into the public domain an ever-increasing range of information and data, making Britain’s railway one of the most transparent in Europe.

David Brown, RDG lead on transparency and chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group, said:

“The rail industry already publishes more information and data than many business sectors and leads the way among European railways, and we are committed to going further. The new platform will mean better access for developers to live train information, making it easier for even more passengers to get the most up to date information about trains where and when they need it.”


Notes to editors

The RDG brings together the owners of Britain's passenger train operating companies, freight operators and Network Rail to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry.

Other changes to NRE services also announced earlier in the year include:

o Giving developers greater availability of information about service disruptions
o Making it easier for passengers using NRE to find information about the route/s on which their ticket is valid
o Providing developers with more information about interchanges between national rail and other modes of transport, such as the DLR or tube

NRE provides 17 other information services to third parties for free, including details of on-the-day timetable changes, ticket types, ticket restrictions, service disruption and improvement works.

In total NRE now works with 470 clients who operate 700 live services and has encouraged developers to make use of its services by:

o Setting up a developer forum on LinkedIn – which has over 320 members
o Holding regular developer forums to encourage conversations with developers
o Recruiting a client relationship manager to improve take up of its services

To help fund the cost of Darwin, NRE will continue to charge only the biggest commercial or private users whose services are used more than five million times under the new arrangements in a four week period. NRE does not profit from third party use of Darwin and will now have higher usage thresholds and lower charges than other providers with similar arrangements.

Darwin takes data feeds from numerous industry sources and processes them to create predictions. It has been widely available to the public for over a decade and third party licensing of its information began in 2005.

As of May 2014 there were 96 licensed 3rd party smartphone apps, 76 of which were live and more than 11 million had been downloaded. Since the new terms came into place, that figure has grown to in excess of 280 licensed apps, 82 of which are now live with many more expected in the coming months.

Darwin will feed all station information screens by March 2015.

The intellectual property in Darwin is owned by Train Information Services (TIS) Ltd – the company owned by franchised TOCs that provides NRE services.

NRE is the UK’s most popular destination for train and travel information. Paid for and run by train companies, its website and other services receive well over a million enquiries every weekday.

Free access to Darwin has been granted to public bodies unless it is being used for commercial purposes.

Railhub Archive ::: 2014-10-31 RDG-001


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