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History of National Rail Enquiries

Following the privatisation of British Rail in 1996, all Train Companies (TOCs) were required to offer a telephone enquiry service to members of the public to call for information about travelling by train. National Rail Enquiries was formed and took responsibility for all the telephone enquiry bureaus that were spread across the National Rail network.

What has happened to NRE?

To make finding information about rail travel as simple as possible, a single local rate telephone number was established – 0845 7 48 49 50 - which directed the caller to their nearest telephone enquiry bureaux. The business was later streamlined, with the many bureaus merged to become regional contact centres.

In 2003, the National Rail Enquiries website was launched.

Year Event
1993 ATOC formed by the Railways Act
1996 National Rail Enquiries formed
2002 Chris Scoggins appointed Chief Executive Officer
2003 NRE online Journey Planner website launched

Live Departure Boards] service launched

2004 Call centre in Mumbai established

World First: Complex speech recognition system - TrainTracker™ - launched

2005 World First: TrainTracker™ Text (SMS Enquiry service launched)

Self service enquiries overtook telephone enquiries for the first time

2006 World First: Real Time journey planner launched through TrainTracker™
2007 World First: LISA, the world's first video-based virtual assistant is launched

Pocket Timetable and Season Ticket calculator launched PDA version of Journey Planner launched

2008 Real time online Journey Planner launched

Services which offer personalisation launched

2009 "National Rail Enquiries for iPhone application" launched

The future

As more and more people choose to travel by train, the need for the railway industry to provide fast, accurate and impartial information has never been so important. National Rail Enquires is leading the way in maximising communications technology to provide access to information, both in advance of travel and during journeys.

With technology and the demands of information-savvy customers ever-changing, it’s vital that NRE continue to improve the provision of timely information to passengers – however, whenever and by whatever media they want it.

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Last updated:   08 February 2013