Historical (Pre-Privitisation) Train Time Site

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ah-media

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Hello all - apologies if this idea has already been floated, punctured, shot several times and buried under the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf....

How easy would it be to have a searchable site (that looks like RTT, as an example) but would contain historical timetable details.

So, for example, if I wanted to see what trains were scheduled to go through Rugby Central on 12 March 1962, I could enter the details and see what was timetabled to run.

Now I appreciate there are limitations and there is a lot of info that will not be known - this would also require someone to have a copy of the 1962 Timetable for a start.

But in theory - if someone sat down and typed up the timetable into a database, would that be all that was needed on the backend assuming there is a front end that we could use / design?

Clearly this is not a small undertaking, and I would be more than happy to do my part ...
 
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Sacro

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The CIF format that's used currently was first issued in 1988, it's possible that there are files lurking around with data in a digital format.

The earliest CIF files I have are from 2001. If anyone else has some, (or knows where they can be found) then maybe someone could build an interface around them.
 

Dr Hoo

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There are several major challenges and limitations. It is doubtful that a full set of working timetables for the entire network on the same day still exist. Even if they did, many trains in 1962 would have been running as short notice alterations - reliefs, diversions, etc.
The 'public' timetable would not include freight, parcels, empty stock, light engine and other movements that were actually the real 'life' of the system in those days.
The public timetable doesn't include passing times, so it would be hard to demonstrate (say) when the Flying Scotsman passed through Peterborough.
In some ways an incomplete database would be even more frustrating than the complete absence of one.
Perhaps I am showing my age but it seems more fulfilling to grab a yellowing 1962 regional timetable book off the shelf and then wander off on a 'virtual' journey in the mind's eye.
 

ah-media

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There are several major challenges and limitations. It is doubtful that a full set of working timetables for the entire network on the same day still exist. Even if they did, many trains in 1962 would have been running as short notice alterations - reliefs, diversions, etc..

Totally understand and a great point - I guess for me, I wasn't thinking about every train,but I understand this is a challenge.

I guess for me, it wasn't about zoning in on one particular year, having the ability to maybe even look at the same day 50 years earlier.

There are other complexities, given that all NR stations have a 3 letter code, there would need to be thousands more created for closed stations.

As an example, I found - a timetable for the 1137 Sheffield Vic - Bournemouth W for 1 October 62 which ran down the Great Central through Nottingham Vic and Rugby Central to Banbury where it joined the line that XC currently run down to Bournemouth.

There are 5 station stops that are not in the stations database, along with countless small stations that the service passed through.

Still - I like a challenge!
 

Sacro

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There are other complexities, given that all NR stations have a 3 letter code, there would need to be thousa

CRS codes are a fairly recent idea I think.

Older stations and yards would have only been on the STANOX system instead.
 

CatfordCat

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I think it was on here that I've responded to a similar post, but...

I'm not expert with what makes the national rail enquiries system tick but I have had involvement with bus data for Traveline. (I did come up with a factoid about X area having more bus stops than there are railway stations in the UK, and X was a lot smaller area than most people were expecting - I can't now remember just what X area was, though!)

Technically, there's no reason why it would not be possible, but probably the biggest issue would be that the journey planning software that's out there isn't readily or cheaply available off the shelf.

I suppose it might (if you had the technical knowledge) be possible to construct a home made journey planner program.

Within things like Traveline, it's not just as case of feeding timetable/s in. They tend to be based on sets of data

a) data set of stops / stations

b) most include a map so the software can make sense of where stops are in relation to each other. For a rail network, where you're not trying to calculate times at intermediate (non timing point) stops you might be able to get away with something diagramatic

c) timetables

In live journey planners, you tend to get additional data on top of this, e.g. connection times, walk links from one station / stop to another, but presume this sort of thing wouldn't be needed.

And as has been said, if you're after anything other than regular scheduled passenger trains, you'd need a combination of working timetables - which from memory were issued in smallish geographic chunks, and also one for passenger trains, one for freight trains, one 'trip workings' for more obscure stuff, then weekly / daily lists of extra trains / alterations and so on.
 
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