This is an independent website that offers a flexible approach to journey
planning for expert users—the information available includes:
- Departure and arrivals boards for all British rail stations
- Scheduled platforms, where available
- Full schedule details for every passenger train on the
National Rail network
- Connection times and non-rail links between stations
The aim of the site is to provide an alternative to conventional
journey planners, by enabling intending passengers to make their own
judgement on appropriate and achievable itineraries and connections.
Information is updated nightly from data feeds provided by Network Rail,
except for details of station connection times, train schedules for Ireland
(North & South) and some bus and ferry schedules, which are updated
weekly from data feeds provided by ATOC. Future plans include the
addition of real-time updates and historical information on actual
train arrival and departure times. Comments and queries are welcome:
Departure & Arrivals Boards
The core functionality of the website is the departures board for
each station. This shows all services departing that station on a
given day. Departure board entries are shown with a pale yellow
background and as well as the "basic" information, i.e. public departure
time and train destination, various other pieces of information from
the schedule are included to help you make an informed choice about
which train to catch—these are illustrated in the example below.
Departure Board Entry
- Publicly-advertised Departure Time
This is the time shown in timetables and on display boards at the station
- Scheduled Departure Platform (if available in the schedule
Note that the actual platform used might be different from the
scheduled platform, and might vary from day to day.
For smaller stations, where it is usually obvious from the
train's origin and destination which platform it will be using,
platform detail is not normally included in schedules. In this case,
if the line the train will use on departure from the station is
known then this is shown instead, since it is sometimes useful for
guessing which platform a train will use.
- Class of Train
Possible values are:
as well as the following non-rail transport connections:
Long-distance service with fewer stops
Local stopping service
- UNADVERTISED EXPRESS, UNADVERTISED LOCAL
Same as the
above but not shown in the public timetable, e.g. for special events
or privately chartered trains
Overnight train that conveys sleeping carriages
Train to/from the European continent
London Underground or Tyne and Wear Metro train
(running partially on the National Rail network)
Shipping link, e.g. to Ireland or off-shore
- RAIL REPLACEMENT BUS
Bus that temporarily replaces a rail service, e.g. due to a
track closure for engineering work
- SERVICE BUS
Permanent bus service for which through ticketing
from the rail network is available, typically to replace a long-closed
- Final Destination
If the train visits any station more than once during its journey, one
or more via points are additionally shown beneath the destination,
in an attempt indicate the route taken.
- Train Operating Company (TOC) and Retail Service ID
Although the British rail network operates as an integrated whole,
the day-to-day operation of train services is the responsibility of
various private companies, known as TOCs.
The RSID is a 6-character code, assigned to each publicly-advertised
passenger train, that uniquely identifies the train (throughout the
entire rail network) on a given day.
Clicking on the TOC name / RSID will bring up the
for the train.
- Passenger Facilities
Facilities are available as shown for the next segment of the
journey, immediately after departing this station (note that the
facilities available may occasionally change later en-route).
|N.B. Standard accommodation is conveyed|
by all trains.
||1st Class Accommodation|
||1st Class Sleeper Accommodation|
||Standard Sleeper Accommodation|
||Restaurant (1st Class)|
||Hot/Light Meal (1st Class)|
||Hot or Light Meals|
- Working Time (only where this differs from the
publicly advertised time)
The working timetable used by railway staff operates at a resolution
of half a minute, and often contains some slight variations in
arrival and departure times when compared to the publicly advertised
timetable; this is known as an advertised differential.
For example, for the sake of simplicity a train may be
shown as arriving and departing a station at the same
time—however even at the smallest stations, half a minute is
always allowed for station duties, e.g. operation of the
doors and boarding / alighting of passengers.
It should be noted that when the working time for a departure is
later than the public time, railway staff are normally instructed that
the train should still leave at the publicly advertised time whenever
practicable. In practice however, there are many reasons why the
working time may need to be kept to, and when trying to make a tight
connection it can be very useful to have knowledge of the
- Train ID
Usually known as the Train Reporting Number, or
Headcode, this 4-character alphanumeric code identifies the
train for signalling purposes. It is not unique and may be used for
multiple trains in a given day, or simultaneously in different parts
of the country.
- Timing Load
Schedule data is derived from train planning systems, which use a
mathematical model of a train's acceleration characteristics and
load (i.e. the weight of the train) together with its maximum speed
to calculate a set of timings, which comprise the schedule. The model
used in planning each schedule is known as the timing load
for that schedule.
The timing load and maximum speed are shown here because they can
often be used, with some care and judgement, to get a good idea of
the type of train that has been planned to work a given schedule.
This can be important information when deciding on a preferred train
When using the timing load to judge the type of train likely to be
working a given schedule, the most important thing to bear in mind
is that a train with faster acceleration and/or a lighter load
can keep to a schedule designed for a train with slower acceleration
and/or a heavier load. In other words, if a TOC wishes to
subsitute a slow train with a faster one, there is no need to modify
the schedule, since the faster train will be able to keep to the
timings of the slower one. This is the most common reason for a
discrepancy between the train operating a schedule and the timing
load for that schedule, although there are other reasons too.
With that caveat in mind, here is a summary of the most common
timing load abbreviations and the type of train they refer to:
||Diesel or Steam Locomotive, suffixed by train load in tonnes
||Electric Locomotive, suffixed by train load in tonnes
||High Speed Train
||Diesel Multiple Unit, optionally suffixed by class indicator as
| ||E||Express Sprinter|
| ||X||Wessex Turbo|
||Electric Multiple Unit, optionally suffixed by
3-digit class designation
Shown below is an example of an entry in an arrivals board. These
are shown with a light grey background to distinguish them from
departure entries, but apart from that they are very similar. This
example illustrates some additional features of the Departure and
Arrival Boards, which are described below.
Arrival Board Entry
- This train has two portions. For this section of the journey
they are attached together, but they have originated at two separate
- A filter station has been specified, meaning that only
trains that have called at the filter station are displayed, and
that the public departure times (of both portions of the train) from
the filter station are shown.
- Clicking on the departure time for the filter station will bring
up another arrivals board, with other trains highlighted according to
connection time for that station, to show whether they are valid
connections or not.
- This is in fact an unusual case, where both portions of the
train have called at the filter station at different times, prior to
being joined to each other. As both portions arrive at their
destination at the same time, there is no time to be saved by
boarding the portion that departs first, so its departure time is
shown "greyed out".
- More generally, a "greyed out" arrival or departure time for a
filter station indicates that the train (or portion of a train)
has been caught up or overtaken en-route by a faster train.
A train's journey is displayed as a sequence of station-to-station
links, including departure (light yellow background) and arrival
(light grey background) times and scheduled platforms (where this
information is available).
Clicking on the name of the departure or arrival station will bring
up an arrival or departure board respectively for that station, with
other trains highlighted according to the
connection time, to show whether they are valid connections into
or out of this train.
Below is an example extract showing a single station-to-station link
from a schedule.
The passenger facilities available, and the timing load that applies
between the two stations, are shown beneath the arrival station. As
these latter two can change during a train's journey, they are
displayed separately for each station-to-station link—although
for many schedules they will not change during the journey.
This information can also be seen in the departure and arrivals
boards, and is described in detail
- Link Duration
This shows the difference between public arrival and departure times.
Useful for checking the duration of part of a journey at a glance.
- Driver-only Operation
Not shown in the above example, but indicated where a train (typically
a suburban service) is fully operated by the driver, without the
services of a train guard to operate doors etc. There may still be
other staff on board, e.g. for ticket inspection. This can also
sometimes change en-route, and hence is shown separately for each
- Intermediate Timing Stretches (only shown when
checkbox selected at top of page)
A station-to-station link comprises one or more intermediate
track stretches. A short link between two neighbouring
stations will often consist of only one track stretch, but a link
between more distant stations will generally be divided into
intermediate stretches, split at timing points along the
route. The timing points that are relevant to a schedule (and thus
the boundaries of the track stretches) are defined by the Network Rail
train planning rules.
- Only the origin timing point for each track stretch is shown
in the list; the destination timing point is assumed to be the same as
the origin of the next stretch.
- Timing points that are themselves stations are shown in normal
type; other locations (e.g. junctions with other lines, signal boxes,
closed stations) are shown in slanted type.
- Most timing points are passed non-stop, and the departure time
shown is actually a passing time. At some timing points the train will
stop briefly (e.g. to exchange tokens at a signal box, for a crew
change at a non-passenger stop, or to wait in a loop for another train
to pass). In this case the time shown is the departure time, and
the dwell time is included in the allowance/slack for the preceding
track stretch (see below).
- When the length of time allowed by the schedule to traverse a
track stretch is longer than the train is expected to take under
normal circumstances, this is indicated as an allowance or
slack value. Technically, allowances can be one of three
For simplicity, the three are combined into one figure, to which any
dwell time at the destination of the track stretch is also added, as
- Engineering Allowance (slack added to compensate for the
potential effect of any speed restrictions resulting from engineering
- Pathing Allowance (slack added where a train is likely to be
delayed by a slower train or one crossing its path)
Allowance (slack added for no particular reason, to ensure the
train keeps to time)
- Where multiple running lines diverge from a timing point and the
line taken is not obvious from the route of the train, it is
indicated using an abbreviated line code (3 characters max).
The line indicated is assumed to apply for the entire track stretch;
a separate arrival path for the destination timing point is not
Note that many timing points only appear in a schedule if the train
either stops, or crosses from line to another at that location.
- For full details of compulsory and optional timing points as
well as the meaning of line abbreviations, see the
Planning Geography section of Network Rail's
Planning Rules (formerly known as the Rules of the
Plan) for the relevant region.
Connections & Fixed Links
including Valid Itineraries, Delay
Compensation and Assistance when Stranded
In addition to train times, this website also includes details of
- the Minimum Connection Time for each station
- all ATOC-recognised (i.e. official) Fixed Links between
stations. These are non-National Rail links, e.g. for stations that
are within walking distance of each other, or linked by London
Underground services, certain bus and ferry links where travel is
covered by a through rail ticket, etc.
Knowledge of these links and the travel time that should be
allowed for them, together with the connection time that
should be allowed at each station, is essential when
planning a Valid Travel Itinerary. Travelling on
a valid itinerary, i.e. having allowed all the minimum connection
times and inter-station transfer times along the way*, conveys certain
benefits in the event of disruption to your journey:
- You will be entitled to compensation payments if delays on an
earlier service cause you to miss a valid connection and the resulting
delay exceeds a certain length of time (the length of time, together
with the amount of compensation due varies according to the train
operating company that caused the delay).
- If you become stranded due to delays whilst travelling on a valid
itinerary, any train company in a position to help must either arrange
to get you to your destination by other means (e.g. a taxi), or else
provide overnight accommodation for you.
Both these benefits apply even if you use two or more tickets to
cover your journey, or have broken and resumed your journey along
the way—as long as you are travelling on a valid itinerary
with valid tickets you will be entitled to assistance or
compensation (or both) as appropriate.
*Note: Allowing all minimum connection
and transfer times is not the only criterion for a valid travel itinerary;
you must also travel on a permitted
route for the ticket(s) you are using, and obey any validity
restrictions applying to the ticket(s).
An example of the typical connection information provided for a station is
Example of Station Information
- Interchange Status (for stations classified as
Not technically relevant to valid itineraries, nonetheless some
stations are classified by ATOC as designated interchange stations and
categorised into small, medium and large interchanges. Some journey
planners use this information to decide where a change of train should
occur when there are multiple options, hence it is interesting to know.
- Minimum Connection Time
This length of time must elapse between the respective advertised
arrival and departure times of two trains, for the connection
between them to be officially valid.
For some stations, the minimum connection time varies depending on
the operators of the trains being used. Any such exceptions will be
shown direcly underneath the normal minimum connection time.
- Train-specific Connection Information
This key appears when clicking through to the arrival/departure time
at a filter station from the main departures/arrivals board, or when
clicking through to an individual calling point in a train schedule.
All services calling at this station on the given day are highlighted
to indicate at a glance whether they are valid,
missed or tight
connections into/out of this specific train. See below for an
example of the highlighting.
- Fixed Links
Fixed links are listed in order, sorted by increasing travel time
from the current station. The travel time or mode of travel may vary
depending on the time of day; if train-specific connection
information is being shown (as in this example), any currently-valid
fixed links will be highlighted in
green. Note also that the times
of day and journey times of fixed links can vary from day-to-day,
particularly at weekends.
The possible modes of travel for fixed links are:
In many places there are stations on different lines within walking
distance of each other, and it is permissible to make part of a
journey on foot between such stations. However a journey may not start
or end with a walking link.
Walking links are also important for the determination of permitted
routes for a journey. The National Rail Conditions of Carriage defines
the shortest route that can be used by scheduled passenger servies as
a permitted route by default. If it is possible to shorten this route
using recognised walking changes, resulting in a route
shorter than the shortest route wholly by rail, then that is
also a permitted route.
Cross-London link using London Underground services. Many tickets
have the cost of an Underground journey included in the price; this is
usually indicated by a
A link for which no public transport is available and which must be
made at your own expense.
Bus link, with transfer usually included in the price of a rail
Metro usually refers to a link by means of either:
Note that the cost of a cross-Manchester journey using Metrolink is
not normally included in the price of tickets, except for journeys
wholly within the Greater Manchester area.
- Docklands Light Railway
- Manchester Metrolink
Tram link. Rarely used; see METRO.
Ferry link. Rarely used; ferries usually have explicit sailing times
included in the schedule database.
Taxi link. Rarely used; see TRANSFER.
If there are more than five fixed links for a station, in order to
reduce clutter they will not be displayed by default. However once you
have clicked on either "Show fixed links" or "Hide these", your
preference for showing or hiding links will be remembered during your
Train-specific Connection Information
Shown below is an example of a departures board augmented with
train-specific connection information. In brief,
- Valid connections, where the publicly advertised arrival and
departure times respect the relevant minimum connection times, are
highlighted in green.
- Impossible connections, assuming all trains run according to
the working timetable (N.B. not always a valid assumption, for
many reasons), where a connecting train departs at the same time or
later than the other one arrives, are highlighted in
- All other possible connections are highlighted in
orange. This includes the full range
of almost impossible connections right up to easily feasible
connections, which are only invalid because of overly long minimum
connection times or large differentials between working and public
arrival times for a terminating train. It also includes trains that
don't have publicly advertised times (e.g. charter trains) and trains
that don't pick up or set down at the station in question.
Example Departure Board entries including Connection Information
- This should be viewed in conjunction with the station
information at the top of the page, which shows that
- the train we are interested in has arrived at 0839
- there is no differential between the public and working times
(otherwise this would be shown beneath the public arrival time)
- the minimum connection time is 7 minutes
- Therefore trains with a public departure time of 0846 or later
are considered to be valid connections.
- The departures board is sorted in order of working departure
time, which makes the advertised differentials obvious. Assuming all
trains run to the working timetable, both the 0844 departure (timed to
leave at 0846) and the 0845 departure (timed to leave at 0847) allow
at least the minimum connection time and are very feasible
connections. But the differential between the public and working
times mean that the minimum connection time is not met, hence these
are classified instead as "tight" connections.
- Not all
orange-highlighted "tight" connections will be feasible; the
connection time based on the working timetable is shown in small
type beneath the public time as an aid to judge the feasibility.
However as noted elsewhere, railway staff are normally instructed that
a train should still leave at the publicly advertised time whenever
practicable. This is the reason why orange-highlighted connections are
not official—and will not appear in valid itineraries produced by
journey planners. Nonetheless they can be, in many cases, feasible.
When train-specific connection information is being displayed and
a station has multiple fixed links to another station applying on a
given day, the appropriate one (given the time of the connecting
train) will be highlighted in green. An example of this is shown
Example Fixed Link list with Connection Information
- The appropriate fixed link to use is determined after taking
into account the minimum connection time, e.g. for an arrival at
1850 at a station with a 15 minute connection time, the appropriate
fixed link would be whichever one is valid at 1905.
- For a given linked station, if there is no fixed link in
operation at the appropriate time of day then the link to the other
station will not be clickable.
- Otherwise, the hyperlink to the other station will show the
connections at the other station highlighted according to
impossible, tight or valid status. In this case
tight connections are considered to
be those available when the entire journey between the two stations
(i.e. from platform to platform) can be made in the transfer time
alone; the minimum connection times of the two stations are not taken into
- For a connection via a fixed link to be
valid however, the minimum connection
times at both stations must be allowed on top of the inter-station