When I started OpenTrainTimes over three and a half years ago, I never believed it’d be quite as popular as it’s turned out to be.
October 2012 saw me launch real-time signalling maps. I started off with a few areas I knew well – such as London Euston to Hatch End, the East London Line and the southern end of the Midland Main Line. Just under three years later, I’ve amassed a total of fifty maps covering numerous parts of the country. They’ve proved popular with everyone – commuters, enthusiasts, train operators and Network Rail.
Each map takes a long time to build – I draw them from hand based on whatever documentation I have, be it anything from signalling scheme plans to TOC route-learning material and, in the case of the Watford Junction to South Hampstead map, from a route learning DVD and many trips up and down the line.
My day-job now involves consultancy in the rail industry (and if you want to hire me, please get in touch), I’m much closer to the professionals who use the site, and many new features have been driven by requests from rail industry staff. It seems slightly weird to come home and spend a couple of hours working on a map after working with, say, freight data all day, but it’s a strangely relaxing task.
That’s enough history – on with this week’s exciting news – the Glasgow Central map is now live. The trackwork is complex and this has taken me twice as long as I anticipated, but hard work pays off.
As ever, there are a number of little things fixed:
- Sometimes, searching for a train on a previous day returned a server error due to a coding problem. This is now fixed.
- The Tring to Wolverton map now includes the track up to Hanslope Junction
- Some missing and mis-drawn signals on the East Coastway and West Coastway and Queenstown Road to Surbiton maps have been fixed
- The Peterborough to Doncaster (GNGE) map now has the Barnetby branch included, and has been extended as far as Collingham
I’m aware there are still some emails I’ve yet to reply to about the site, and some bugs to fix at London Victoria, Reading and on the North Kent map. I’ll try to get those done in the next couple of weeks.
Oh, and before I forget, the next map will be Wolverhampton.