Part of the reason I’ve not been fixing bugs as quickly as I can is because I’ve been working incredibly hard on a new design for the site.
If you follow @opentraintimes on Twitter, you will have noticed a rather stylish red set of tracks. They’re part of a new logo for the site, which – if you’re looking at the blog site itself – is at the top of the page.
I’m hoping to launch the new design in the next couple of weeks. It’s not as simple as slapping a logo on and saying “Job done!” – if it were that easy, I’d have done it a month ago when the designer came back to me with the logo.
It’s been a couple of months now, and we’re not any closer to having a formal policy on showing freight times on the site.
Network Rail is a huge organisation, and those sized companies tend to operate at glacial speeds for many things strategic and non-operational. Given that I don’t believe anyone else has said “What’s the policy with showing freight timings on a public website?” to them before, they unsurprisingly don’t have the answers yet.
Having thought long and hard about the situation, putting freight data back on the site may provoke a negative response from everyone involved in the discussions at Network Rail and FOCs. The outcome of that will likely be a “No”, and we all lose out – all for the sake of some ‘gen’.
I’ve decided to try a different tactic to get this issue resolved and the situation made clear. I’m in the process of contacting the FOCs concerned to ask what their policy is, and agreeing which schedules they’re happy to have on public display, and which ones they’d rather not be on display. The benefits of this are clear – neutral, fair access to freight schedules for everyone, not just “gen masters”.
I’m pleased to say that Tom Cairns (of traintimes.im) has joined me in keeping freight off his site until we can find out what the official state of play is.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed in with words of support, particularly those people who have offered to help. There are lots of people who are upset, maybe even angry about where we are now. Remember that we are in a new era of transparency and accountability, and that the rules of engagement are still being formed.