Ever wondered why BR hasn't put train timetables on the Web? It has now, thanks to its privatised IT arm British Rail Business Systems, which used search technology developed for the PC-based timetable package RailPlanner.
The new site lets users input start and destination stations, time and date of travel, and returns the closest match. Steve Silk, BRBS network services manager, said: 'The facility is updated automatically twice a week. I'm very pleased with the result.'
Unfortunately, the site calculates only the shortest journey between stations so finding alternative routes is not an option. And there is no information about fares, so the shortest route found may not always be the cheapest.
According to Silk, the strategy is to work with different operators to add fares and realtime information to the Web site. 'We're keen to get this information on and are working with individual operators. Surveys indicate that ticket sales are the most favoured type of service on the Net,' he says. The site took two months to build and BSBR claims 180,000 hits so far.
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