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About Darwin

Darwin is the GB rail industry’s official train running information engine, providing real-time arrival and departure predictions, platform numbers, delay estimates, schedule changes and cancellations. It is the only system in the UK to take feeds directly from every TOC customer information system (CIS), combining it with train location data provided by the railway infrastructure manager, Network Rail. 

Darwin data powers most online channels including all National Rail products, retailing websites such as trainline and redspottedhanky, all TOC real-time digital channels, as well as the digital products made by hundreds of independent and commercial developers including Google Maps and The Cloud. 

A programme to connect Darwin to CIS screens in every station in the UK was completed in 2015, meaning that if you use Darwin data in a digital product, the information shown in that product will be consistent with the information shown on departure and arrival board screens in almost every station across the country.

In addition, Darwin powers our Historic Service Performance webservice (HSP). HSP allows customers to see the real time historic performance of trains over periods of up to one year. The data feed allows customers to see right time and reliability metrics – reliability is defined by trains that were either cancelled or didn't arrive within a user-defined level of lateness (e.g. 30 minutes).

Darwin data feeds

Darwin data feeds are openly available to everyone. Registering for access couldn’t be easier, simply sign up online through the National Rail Data Portal and your access credentials will be e-mailed directly to you. See below for the different Darwin feeds available:

Darwin data feeds details

Feed Type: SOAP API

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: OpenLDBWS

Sign Up: Register for OpenLDBWS

Feed Type: JSON API

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: Rail Data Marketplace

Sign Up: Register for Rail Data Marketplace

Feed Type: SOAP API

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: OpenLDBWSSV

Sign Up: Contact Us

Feed Type: Push Feed

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: Darwin Timetable

Sign Up: Register for Darwin Timetable

Feed Type: Push Feed

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: Darwin Push Port

Sign Up: Register for Darwin Push Port

Feed Type: JSON API

Licence: NRE OGL

User Guidance: HSP

Sign Up: Register for HSP

Darwin terms of access

Access to Darwin feeds is enabled through automated registration on the National Rail Data Portal where you will be presented with click and accept Terms and Conditions (PDF, 103k). The terms of access are based on version 2.0 of the OGL with some specific amendments for NRE to ensure consistency and quality. 

Developer Guidelines (PDF, 852k) offer guidance and clarity on the access terms. Attribution of NR as the data provider is a requirement of use and should be demonstrated in line with the NR Brand Guidelines and Logos (see below).

Download Brand Guidelines and Logos

Darwin usage charges

Darwin XML Push Feeds are free for all users regardless of usage volumes. Darwin SOAP APIs feeds are free for all users up to up to 5 million requests per 4-week railway period. Corporate or private users that exceed this amount will be charged for High Volume Usage (PDF, 192k). Public sector organisations including Transport for London, passenger transport executives and local authorities, would not be subject to usage charges.

Technical support

This is a free service, provided to users openly but at a loss to NR. As such, formal user support for the service is not offered. Unofficial informal technical support can be found via the Open Rail Data user forum Open Rail Data-Talk.