Real time information

Hidden away but critical to everything we deliver is ‘Darwin’, our real time train prediction application. It powers all of our real time services, providing train movements and predictions for the whole National Rail network.

Darwin is a complex application that takes in data from a variety of sources and uses predictive and heuristic technology to convert that data into useful predictions of train running. As well as the scheduled timetable and movement data, Darwin receives real time operational changes made by the train company and the National Rail Communication Centre. Darwin powers all of our customer-facing real time services as below, plus a growing number of 3rd party services:

  • Journey Planner
  • Alerts – sent to customers who have subscribed to receive them
  • TrainTracker™ - our real time automated voice recognition service
  • TrainTracker™ Text – an SMS version of the Journey Planner
  • Departure Boards - a web-based station departure board
  • Contact Centre Journey Planner – the journey planner used by our Contact Centre Advisors

In addition to providing real time information to our services, Darwin also provides real time train running information to some stations’ Customer Information Systems (CIS); currently those stations operated by Virgin Trains and those operated by Chiltern Railways. There is a national programme in place which will extend Darwin to feed all of the CIS across the national network, which will be completed by April 2015. This will ensure consistent information is available to customers wherever they are on the network.