This week’s tip aims to shine a light on a selection of Windows Phone Apps dedicated to letting the train take the strain. There have been a slew of newly released apps which let you plan your journey, find information about stations and even buy your ticket in advance, ready to collect at a ticket machine. Best not get caught on board without a ticket, or your inspector might not be so friendly as this fellow on the right.
‘Allo, John, gotta new motor?
One of the oldest railway information apps has been updated recently, namely the Avanade-written Train Travel. The update added some snazzy new features, including a “Where am I now?” augmented reality train & underground viewer.
Do bear in mind that it’s expensive to buy (£4.99 is a lot for an app on any mobile platform) and it’s had some pretty stinky reviews since the update, due to a (now fixed) bug that refused to recognise a previous purchase. And as you’ll see shortly, the majority of the functionality is available elsewhere for Brussel Sprout.
The Journey Pro app tries to meld travelling on national & London metropolitan rail, bus, tube, ferry and DLR all into one app – with a mixed degree of success, if truth be told.
Some reviewers (one, a train conductor, even) complain that it offers illogical routes or even ones that don’t exist, though this could be as much down to the back end than the app itself. As with all these things, your mileage may vary but since it’s free, then it’s worth having a look.
Whilst on the topic of travelling in London, of course it’d be remiss not to point out Bing Get Me There. This app combines all of the necessary travel services to get your around in the Smoke, including excellent turn-by-turn walking directions to get you from the nearest transport stop to your eventual destination. It’s a much slicker app than Journey Pro, too. London Travel Lite and City Travel London might be worth taking a butcher’s at too, stop ya getting Jonathan Ross’d.
There are a bunch of new apps getting great reviews because of national coverage (despite the association with a single train operator), and being free makes them a great alternative to other paid for apps and they carry some weight of being official, unlike some other train times apps which have come and gone in the past.
The FGW and ScotRail apps appear to be the same under the covers; no great surprises since the First Group sits above both operators. In fact, the First Capital Connect and The Transpennine Express appear to be the same thing too. All will allow you to query times, buy tickets etc.
Finally, as if too much choice was ever a good thing, TheTrainLine.com has gotten in on the act too – offering a quick & slick way to find fares, make bookings and collect your tickets up to 10 minutes before boarding. This appears to be one of the most fully-featured when it comes to buying a ticket. No surprises there…
Don’t forget, (as covered in ToW #74), there’s a snazzy Internet Explorer 9/10 optimised site at http://ie9.nationalrail.co.uk/ which lets you do a lot of the searching you might need to, from your desktop.
One can only look forward to all the lovely Win8 apps due sometime soon…