What's new – 30th October 2016

If you saw the number of hours I spent working on OpenTrainTimes each week, you’d wonder how on earth I managed to have a full-time job and a busy social life. Sometimes I wonder too – which is why it’s time to change tack.

OpenTrainTimes Ltd. is now offering consultancy and software development services to the rail industry based on over 20 years of hands-on technology experience, including:

  • Customised route maps – specifically for your line of route, a huge benefit for front-line staff to give customer information, and control room staff to provide focused analysis
  • Full detail of freight trains – available only to railway operators but giving you full visibility of all trains running on the network
  • Data analysis services – from performance and statistical analysis to data augmentation and integration
  • Software development – including proof-of-concept work to show the art of the possible, and de-risk future system build
  • Bespoke consultancy – requirements capture and validation, system design, integration, architecture and just about anything else railway technology-related

Drop us a email at hello@opentraintimes.com to discuss your requirements.

Before we cover the list of new things this week, an apology. All the times on the website for trains today are one hour out from reality due to a straightforward, but irritating code problem. We’re hoping that come April 2017, we’ll have a new version of the website up and running, so we’re not going to fix it. It should only affect trains today, but we’re going to keep an eye on things.

Anyway, we’ve been ridiculously busy over the last fortnight, seemingly working all hours to bring you two brand new maps:

  • The Bromsgrove map covers the route from Five Ways, near Birmingham New Street, all the way Cheltenham Spa. This route is currently being re-signalled and re-controlled so there aren’t any service trains on it yet, but you can watch the signalling being testing for the moment
  • The Fife Circle map covers North Queensferry, the entire route via Burntisland and Cowdenbeath up to Ladybank and Springfield

As always, there are bug fixes and support emails to get through – we’re working hard to get them down to a manageable level, but some queries are taking time. This time, we’ve fixed numerous smaller issues such as missing shunt signals or routes, but there are three important ones:

  • Some subtle errors crept in whilst we were drawing maps, which meant that a number of signal and route indications never appeared, and some platforms appeared incorrectly. We’ve fixed this so it won’t happen again, and you might notice extra route indications on your favourite map
  • A long-standing and very difficult to identify problem on the Stoke-on-Trent map meant that signals around Stoke-on-Trent station (for the technically minded, on the STOKEJCN SSI) weren’t showing correctly, but we’ve patched around this
  • Several minor fixes to the GWML maps as far as Reading, including missing and mis-positioned points

The next release will be in three weeks time as there’s a holiday by the seaside to be had. Hopefully the Wembley Freight maps will be ready by then!

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