Customer-Facing Apps with Formation Information

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Starmill, 14 Nov 2017.

  1. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    It has come to my attention that the 'Live Trains' iOS app by Anecdote Software may accurately display formation information for some services, i.e. the number of coaches on each service. This is very useful information I find as it helps to know where to stand on the platform. It is also critical to know the formation of the train if you are using a service where an attachment or detachment of part of the train takes place en route. It can also be useful to know which services are likely to have the greatest capacity, for the purpose of travelling in more comfort.

    A few questions:

    - Does anyone with an iOS device have this app? If so do you know if it actually works?
    - Does anyone know of any other apps which display this information, or anywhere in the public data feeds that it is available?
    - Why has the industry not tried to make this data more available? It assists passengers, reduces dwell times and updates people with live travel information, which is something passengers often say they want, especially during disruption.
    - Alternatively, is this information actually now in the public data feed and app developers have been slow on the uptake?

    Thanks to anyone who might know! Unfortunately it appears this app is £1.99 and only available to iOS users so I cannot check myself.

    Please discuss!
     
  2. Lrd

    Lrd Established Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    I believe it's in the National Rail feed from Darwin but not all services have it at the moment. I've only noticed Southern having it (and not all services) with London Midland having nothing.

    I too am interested in these feeds as a newbie developer so will try and get some more info. I'm currently fighting with the TfL APIs...
     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    LM have the data, they display it on the PIS for all services.
     
  4. Lrd

    Lrd Established Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    Yeah that's true but it may not be provided through the open feeds/APIs while Southern is. At least from what I've seen so far.
     
  5. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Yes, of course. That's not open data, though, which is the subject of this thread.
     
  6. pdeaves

    pdeaves Member

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    True, but you want info to help you know where to stand on the platform. The PIS gives you that information at a lot of stations (GWR also advertises train length). Whilst you may not have that info directly on your own personal screen, it is available to help you.

    (not 'having a go')
     
  7. janb

    janb Member

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    Its seems to just be the Southern area. Brighton seemed comprehensive. Victoria had most stuff. St Pancras had just the Thameslink to Bedford. This is a screenshot.
    IMG_2957.PNG
     
  8. xotGD

    xotGD Member

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    If there is an on-line source that can tell waiting passengers which end Coach A will be at on TPE services that would be very useful.

    Of course, it would be just as useful if this were to be announced at the station prior to the train arriving, but it never is.
     
  9. janb

    janb Member

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    The problem is that unlike Virgin they don't run a set way round so it could be either way. It would need to be inputted at the origin (or somewhere) for every train. And then at least on the West Coast they run through a lot of stations/CIS operated by other companies.
     
  10. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Poor excuse. Every other TOC manages.
     
  11. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    They really don't - at least not always.
     
  12. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Which TOCs don't announce on the CIS which way round the train is? (Genuine question btw)
     
  13. A Challenge

    A Challenge Established Member

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    SWR, GTR (except maybe 700s), LO, Northern or Southeastern don't do they, at least I have never noticed it, they do display lengths however.
     
  14. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    So ones that don't convey first class in the end coaches or do seat reservations so it doesn't actually make a difference?
     
  15. A Challenge

    A Challenge Established Member

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    I thought Southern did, but you have a point, though I thought a small number of Northern Blackpools were reservable to Leeds, though it is only a small number of services so doesn't make a difference to your point!
     
  16. Harbouring

    Harbouring Member

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    444’s have First class at one but as they are only five coaches a lot of the time you can Hedge you bets by standing where the end of coach 2 would stop. SWR Stations do show formation information for XC but how accurate it is I could not say for sure.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    SBB manage *full* formation information (and that's an operator most of whose trains are *not* fixed formation). With modern technology it's not hard.
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Thanks JanB. Very interesting.
     
  19. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    Very true. Once saw a formation on the screen at Winterthur as: 6 second class, restaurant, 3 first, loco, 2 standard, loco. Can’t be right...... Rolled in as a 10-car double-deck set + Class 460 + 2 single decks + Class 460.
     
  20. xotGD

    xotGD Member

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    They could advise whether the bike / wheelchair areas are at the front or the back.
     
  21. RailAleFan

    RailAleFan Member

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  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I have the impression that when a guard takes over a train they use their ticket machine to record the formation (coach numbers) they have which then feeds the system. I've certainly noticed a guard walking down the outside of the train logging coach numbers into his ticket machine, anyway.

    That kind of formation isn't unusual, they sometimes treat their LH sets as if they were MUs.
     
  23. Lrd

    Lrd Established Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    Think he may be doing a passenger count rather than coach numbers.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    No, he was walking up the outside of a set he was just taking into service (had been brought in DOO) and was pausing by the RIC raster (containing the coach number) of each coach and keying something into his ticket machine as he did so.
     
  25. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    For a short while some TPE stations like Warrington did display the alignment of first class on the CIS, but then Northern took over and this practice ended. I seem to remember it occasionally also showed up at Leeds, so it must be at least technically possible. These days though I have to rely on the little clue at the front of Coach C, or the absence of it at the front of Coach A to work out which way round a single set is running.
     
  26. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    XC will sometime show train length, and sometime not. They will sometimes show which way round the train is, but it is rarely correct. Wrong information is worse than no information!
     
  27. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    A lot of this is down to reversals at places like New Street and Reading (and occasionally Newcastle). First class may have been at the front when the train started, but where is it now?
     
  28. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    I disagree. I have very rarely found that to the case.
     
  29. Y Ddraig Coch

    Y Ddraig Coch Member

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    Screenshot (6).png
    I find Tiger shows train lengths and always gives good info. You can get it on your phone as well which is helpful.
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Why is it that ATW can't be bothered to properly enter portion workings in the CIS database and instead put misspelled notes on like the above?

    Other TOCs manage it.
     

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