The Great Britain Rail Timetable.What do you think of it?

HST274

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Brilliantly concise and easy to understand, and a blander colour scheme does help avoid distraction when reading or looking at it.
 
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BrianB

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Hello and thanks to everyone who has commented so far. As the person responsible for this new venture, albeit under the umbrella of my sponsor Fabrik Communications, all and anything you see can be accredited/discredited to me, good or bad. I have been following the comments all week but have refrained from commenting until now in order to see how varied the feedback would be. I knew from the outset that 50% would love it, 50% would hate it, but I am pleased to say the split is more like 80/20 which is encouraging. Let me share the reasoning behind this project, explain the limitations, share the vision, which will hopefully answer many of your comments.

I have recently 'retired' from full time work, a career that takes me back to 1974 as junior clerk in a very grubby Sheffield Parcels Office, through numerous booking offices, travel centres and for the past 20 years in actual timetable 'production', by which I mean editing, compiling and printing, not planning. As a fully signed up anorak I know the National Rail timetable inside out, remember the 1st edition in May 1974 and have used it ever since one way or another. I still play a big part in the ongoing timetable productions for various TOCs so am also a serious rail professional with a strong commercial awareness AND an anorak, 2 hats, and an insufferable combination at times.

So why bother? Well simply to see how difficult it would be to create a GB rail timetable, independent of the NRT; how long it would take, what resources would be needed, would it look good and most importantly could it be accurate as possible. I believe we have achieved most of that 1st goal and proved it can be done. However, as you will all notice, for now it is incomplete - it only has a basic index with no cross-referencing, it has no maps etc etc. This is intentional because the resources to progress to the next level can only be justified if it passes that 1st stage and prove to us there is actually a real demand for it. That means that for now it has to be considered a beta version, a V1, a static timetable, 95% corrrect at the time of issue, and one that will not be updated on an ongoing basis. V2 will happen after considering and incorporating any constructive suggestions for improvement and any data extraction debugging required.

The vision is to progress to a digital platform, one where it can also be interactive, with links to anything and everything, where for example you click a station name and gain access to station information, station accessibility, bus services, live departures etc; click a train ID and see formations, facilities etc. This cannot happen before December 2021 at the earliest, but thereafter it WILL be a live version that can be updated as required. With that in mind, let me now address some of the specifics raised:

Table nos - one thing that appears to be agitating some commentators is the renumbering of some tables. This is deliberate - over the years many tables have failed to be renumbered or reconstructed to take account of changed service patterns, so I have tried to address that where possible and I make no apologies for doing so, although I do accept this is subjective, but there is no reason why a table number or construct has to remain the same for eternity. Using one example, table 18 still thinks it is the GE/GN joint line to East Anglia despite Spalding to March closing in 1983. The splitting of table 65 also appears to be an issue, but in reality what happens only south of Crewe has no bearing on what happens only north of Preston, so why clutter the table with everything in one view? Table 100 to me seems the perfect solution to the WCML north of Preston, with all the Lancasters, Barrows and Windermeres in one place. I am surprised there are no similar comments re my splitting of the ECML into tables 20 and 41. I admit to having struggled with some tables (like the North Wales Coast mainline) which I dont like and where I still havent acheived the right balance, but these are all things that can be looked at going forward.
Mileages - not considered of value for this stage, it may be possible in the future
TOC codes - they are what they are, I have no control over these, LE, GR, all of those are stupid we know, but they are hardwired into the train service database and cannot be overridden and without them you would get no data.
Connections (lack of) - again, this was deliberate due to time constraints. The NRT hasnt had them for a while so this is something that needs careful consideration as to whether they would actually be a benefit or just a visual mess. London connections from the Sheringham table would be nice and neat, but connections out of the ECML or WCML to all points... ?
Data errors - I have no control over when a train is missing from the train service database from the outset. If the omission is glaring and obvious then it can be investigated to see if it is the data extraction parameters that are at fault (me) or the train was never there (NR). Missing associations - the one example quoted at Crewe is entirely my fault, the parameters are not set correctly to capture the join, will be fixed going forward. Incorrect 1st class - it's what is in the train service database and without an army of data editors at disposal things like this will never be spotted. This is down to train planners to get right, we are at their mercy, what goes in is what comes out! I already have code written to be able to 'block' certain properties from certain operators in the future to help with things like this.
Presentation - bold/non bold, indented/not indented, all are subjective and ask 100 people you get 100 different answers, however if there is a recurring comment then it will be given serious consideration.

In conclusion, this is a beta version to generate discussion and feedback, so please keep it coming. If in the end it generates nothing but indifference that we cant say we havent tried.
Thanks for reading,
Brian.
 

BluePenguin

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Certainly, one of my most immediate reactions to tapping the link provided was that it was an assault on the senses. I generally use Dark Mode, and that bright white background with a long list of .pdf links was blinding! No spaces between each link was not appreciated either, that made it more frustrating to browse through.
Have you thought about turning on Night Shift to help with the white? It helps to reduce eye strain quite a lot. I even keep it on in the day. You may wish to consider the same.

Dark mode is good, but all the text is still white and blinding whilst everything else is just black, dark and boring.
 

Techniquest

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Have you thought about turning on Night Shift to help with the white? It helps to reduce eye strain quite a lot. I even keep it on in the day. You may wish to consider the same.

Dark mode is good, but all the text is still white and blinding whilst everything else is just black, dark and boring.

I use Dark Mode as default, but it doesn't work on a lot of things. This forum for example. Night Shift, I'm not familiar with that if I'm honest!
 

BluePenguin

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I use Dark Mode as default, but it doesn't work on a lot of things. This forum for example. Night Shift, I'm not familiar with that if I'm honest!
I know the feeling, Dark mode does have its benefits although is not perfect. Whites are still very bright even when everything else on screen has been darkened. Light mode with Night Shift on is my preference as you get to enjoy full colour without the eye strain that comes with it.

Night Shift is a useful feature which reduces the amount blue and white light your screen emits at night. You will definitely squint and strain your eyes less. Usually it is best to set a timer for it to come on in evening and turn off at dawn. You can access Night Shift on an iPhone by swiping up and then pressing and holding the brightness slider. I am not sure where it is off the top of my head on Android but think you can find by swiping down from the top of the screen? I think it is called blue light filter.

It is built into Windows 10 too - click the button next to the click and choose Night Light. You can change how yellow it makes the screen to your preference. Perfect for working late on the laptop!
 

XAM2175

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Hello and thanks to everyone who has commented so far. As the person responsible for this new venture, albeit under the umbrella of my sponsor Fabrik Communications, all and anything you see can be accredited/discredited to me, good or bad. I have been following the comments all week but have refrained from commenting until now in order to see how varied the feedback would be. ...

Thanks for explaining your rationale! I've never actually used any of the GB timetables but I've had a fair bit of time with my nose in the DB Kursbuchs so it's very interesting to see behind the scene.
 

30907

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I am not sure where it is off the top of my head on Android but think you can find by swiping down from the top of the screen? I think it is called blue light filter.
Night Light on my Android phone - thanks for the tip BTW, I hadn't discovered it.
 

Techniquest

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I know the feeling, Dark mode does have its benefits although is not perfect. Whites are still very bright even when everything else on screen has been darkened. Light mode with Night Shift on is my preference as you get to enjoy full colour without the eye strain that comes with it.

Night Shift is a useful feature which reduces the amount blue and white light your screen emits at night. You will definitely squint and strain your eyes less. Usually it is best to set a timer for it to come on in evening and turn off at dawn. You can access Night Shift on an iPhone by swiping up and then pressing and holding the brightness slider. I am not sure where it is off the top of my head on Android but think you can find by swiping down from the top of the screen? I think it is called blue light filter.

It is built into Windows 10 too - click the button next to the click and choose Night Light. You can change how yellow it makes the screen to your preference. Perfect for working late on the laptop!

Thanks! I'll have a look shortly, not long finished work and got a busy afternoon ahead of me. Sounds like the blue light filter option, I've seen it before but never really tried it.

Definitely potential for it to be much better on the eyes. I apparently have really good eyesight so it would be good to keep it that way!

Night Light on my Android phone - thanks for the tip BTW, I hadn't discovered it.

Thanks, I'll see what my Android has for it in a bit :)

EDIT: Found on my Android at least it's Eye Comfort Shield. It doesn't look hugely different, while browsing the forum so far, and it is very strange having the white keyboard back! I've used Dark Mode for so long I'm used to the black one.

This could be a lot better though! So thanks for the tip :D
 
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181

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As the person responsible for this new venture...

Thankyou Brian for your work on this.

one thing that appears to be agitating some commentators is the renumbering of some tables. This is deliberate - over the years many tables have failed to be renumbered or reconstructed to take account of changed service patterns, so I have tried to address that where possible and I make no apologies for doing so, although I do accept this is subjective, but there is no reason why a table number or construct has to remain the same for eternity.

I can't speak for others, but noticing this doesn't mean that I'm agitated by it. It takes a bit of getting used to, as it seems to fall into a bit of an 'uncanny valley' between the kind of incremental change that you expect to happen, and a complete restructuring; but I'm sure I could get used to it without too much difficulty.

If it existed in printed form, I might buy one once services have settled down post-pandemic and I'm back to normal levels of moving around.

As might I.

Feel it is important that for all stretches of line where there is a significant timetable overlap, one of the tables (at least) should be a "line of route" table showing all services, with a note in the other table(s) referring the user to that one (in this case it would be "See table 100 for full details of all trains between Preston and Glasgow/Edinburgh"). If this would make for a table that is too unwieldy (Clapham Junction to either Waterloo or Victoria being an obvious example) then a note such as "for further trains between x and y see tables a, b and c"

Agreed.

I agree about the lack of connectional detail in modern tables; as far as I can see the new GBRT adds many connecting trains in ordinary type if only in summary form, e.g. Kirkby to Liverpool Central in table 101, but it nowhere uses the old system of inserting connections in italics.

At least timetables of the past 50 years have avoided the problem of earlier ones that didn't make it clear what was a through train and what was a connection.

Showing connections as in the Kirkby example has the advantage that it's obvious how long you have to make the connection, although you still need to look elsewhere to see when the next alternative train is, or if there's an unofficial connection that you have a chance of making. A cross reference to the full table would be useful in cases like this.
 

robert thomas

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I would certainly purchase a printed version as this is the only practical way of keeping an historical record of the complete timetable.
 

Mcr Warrior

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I would certainly purchase a printed version as this is the only practical way of keeping an historical record of the complete timetable.
Agreed, sometimes it seems easier to reference timetable info from two or three decades ago than just two or three weeks or months ago. :s

P.S. Wonder how much a complete version of this new national timetable would cost if printed out on a bespoke basis?
 

AlbertBeale

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Agreed, sometimes it seems easier to reference timetable info from two or three decades ago than just two or three weeks or months ago. :s

P.S. Wonder how much a complete version of this new national timetable would cost if printed out on a bespoke basis?

If I bought one, it wouldn't be for historical reasons, but in order to make it easier to plan and undertake journeys now!
 

S&CLER

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I'm still finding these new tables fascinating. I am glad the wavy lines in the dated trains columns have gone, but there is one extra symbol that could usefully be copied from continental practice: the vertical dashed line to show that the train travels by another route. This would remove the puzzlement caused by apparently non-stop trains which aren't in fact non-stop.
 

berneyarms

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A small error on table 135:
In the very first column, the path for the 23:45 Paddington-Penzance is the FO departure and not the Monday to Thursday departure from Paddington.

But well done to all concerned on an excellent resource.
 

BrianB

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A small error on table 135:
In the very first column, the path for the 23:45 Paddington-Penzance is the FO departure and not the Monday to Thursday departure from Paddington.

But well done to all concerned on an excellent resource.
Thankyou, and well spotted. Now fixed along with other items in 135 and various other tables - 65, 82, 84, 102, 116, 185 and 186
 
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gazr

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Read most of the replies, so sorry if repeating. I personally would add a disclaimer about data being correct within limits when the individual pdf timetables opens if possible? Maybe I'm just too cynical. For those wanting a good pdf viewer with a night mode (or set your own colours), I would recommend a program called xodo if using a mobile device.
 

ainsworth74

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What sort of timetables did we have before then?
The BR Regions produced their own regional timetables (and before that the individual companies did) or if you wanted a national picture there was Bradshaws Guide though I think there was a gap between Bradshaw ceasing publication and the GBTT starting to be produced.
 

30907

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The BR Regions produced their own regional timetables (and before that the individual companies did) or if you wanted a national picture there was Bradshaws Guide though I think there was a gap between Bradshaw ceasing publication and the GBTT starting to be produced.
The regional TTs were in a standard format (not type face though, until the 24h clock and large format came in in 1965*) and had a lot of overlap.
The last Bradshaw was 1961 so there was quite a gap.

*Even then the SR went its own way for a bit around 1970, partnering with the ABC.
 

S&CLER

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Just noticed that Stourbridge Town is in the station index, where it's said to be in table 073, but it's not in the table itself.
 
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Just noticed that Stourbridge Town is in the station index, where it's said to be in table 073, but it's not in the table itself.
I thought this at first, but if you scroll to the last page, the Stourbridge Town branch timetable is down there.
 

Peter749

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I might have missed it but I could not find a map
I was going back and forth in the list to find the routes I wanted to look at and with the numbers being different it made it harder to spot the line I wanted
The station Index is ok but you still look at a few numbers to find what you want - a map would cut down the searching

Peter
 

berneyarms

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I might have missed it but I could not find a map
I was going back and forth in the list to find the routes I wanted to look at and with the numbers being different it made it harder to spot the line I wanted
The station Index is ok but you still look at a few numbers to find what you want - a map would cut down the searching

Peter
I'd second a map and more specifically the return of the old maps from the GBTT era!! They were simple and easy to use.
 

lawried123

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I really like this, lovely to see everything in one place. However one little niggle is that on the Reading -Guildford-Gatwick line, trains are shown as Reservations Compulsory when on the GWR website they say you should make a reservation. Indeed the GWR help desk have told me they are not compulsory, just buy a ticket and get on the train.
Lawrie
 

BrianB

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I see it now, thanks for pointing this out, it appears as table 073A; but 073A is not in the index of tables.
Sorry, 73a was an afterthought after I realised I had completely forgotton about the shuttle. It will appear in the index properly at some point

I might have missed it but I could not find a map
I was going back and forth in the list to find the routes I wanted to look at and with the numbers being different it made it harder to spot the line I wanted
The station Index is ok but you still look at a few numbers to find what you want - a map would cut down the searching

Peter
Maps are no 2 on the priority list after an enhanced index

I really like this, lovely to see everything in one place. However one little niggle is that on the Reading -Guildford-Gatwick line, trains are shown as Reservations Compulsory when on the GWR website they say you should make a reservation. Indeed the GWR help desk have told me they are not compulsory, just buy a ticket and get on the train.
Lawrie
Unfortunately, at the time of download, thats what the system says and only manual editing after that will address these kind of things. With very limited time available, checking every reservation symbol was not a priority nor a possibility considering this is for evaluation at this stage. When train life returns to normal these things will resolve themselves to the extent that they can, along with more flexible resources and time to the process.
 
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berneyarms

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As an aside - if you happen to update any more tables than the ones you've listed already, could you possibly post a notification here please?
 

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