January 2024 Final Release

Earlier this evening, we released our new Tyseley map, covering Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick to Tyseley, including Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill.

This map has signal aspect and route indications for most of the map, however there are some bugs which we are working out, and we’re going to release an update to the map later this week.

In other, more minor things:

  • Routes at Sandy, St Neots and Huntingdon were showing up incorrectly due to a different standard being used for labelling the routes than we have been working to
  • Signals CA51, CA53 and CA55 on the Stansted map were not updating, so we’ve removed those indications – and added route indications for the rest of the map
  • We’ve removed the signal aspect indication for GB1 between Turnham Green and Gunnersbury, which always showed a green aspect even when the block section ahead was occupied
  • The Epsom map had two signals with the same identity, and we’ve fixed this
  • On the Cardiff map, we’ve fixed a few minor issues, and added level crossing barrier indications at St Fagans, St George’s, Llantrisant and Rhoose level crossings
  • Watford North Junction (not Watford North station) has been tidied up, and a crossover added between the Up Fast and Down Fast lines to allow trains to terminate in platform 6 from the north
  • A few bugs arose with the new Colwich map, particularly around routes from LS3562, which we’ve corrected
  • Platforms at Rochdale are now shown correctly

Our next release, scheduled for mid-February, will hopefully include the reworked Ashford International map with route indications, and any infrastructure changes happening in the meantime.

And finally, a reminder – please email support@opentraintimes.com if you spot anything wrong with maps. Everything sent to this address is given a ticket number and tracked, so that we can get back to you when we’ve investigated your issue.

Trent Valley update

This weekend, Network Rail are upgrading the signalling system between Rugeley and Colwich. Naturally, we’ve been hard at work updating our Tamworth, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent maps, which have been released to live in the last few minutes.

Along with this, we’ve added further route indications at Oxford, London Marylebone and Edinburgh Waverley.

Work continues on our updated Ashford and Stratford-upon-Avon maps, and we’re preparing for the resignalling on the southern part of the East Coast Main Line around Welwyn Garden City.

We’re continuing to work on the backlog of support tickets – thank you to everyone for your patience!

January 2024 Interim Release

In the last few weeks, we’ve once again been busy updating the site for you.

The Bristol map includes the Ebbw Vale Town branch from Ebbw Junction and Gaer Junction. Network Rail have completed the work to replace Park Junction signal box, and we now have real-time data for trains on the branch.

We’ve made lots of small map updates:

  • On the Marylebone map, we now have route indications to and from all platforms and sidings, as well as additional berths added at Neasden and TRTS indications at Bicester Village
  • The route from Y872 signal controlling movements from Selby toward Doncaster was not showing any indications, and this is fixed
  • Some minor fixes are in place at Allerton, Berwick and Acton Main Line
  • The redundant Westhorpe Branch has been removed from the Sheffield map
  • Platforms 0 and 1 at Leeds were not showing trains in the platform, which has been resolved
  • Elmers End platform numbers are now fixed
  • We’ve made improvements to the fringe between Kettering and Bedford, as well as fixing some issues with the Thameslink North map

We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with an improved map of the Ashford area, and a new map in the Midlands area.

Christmas 2023 Release

Our Christmas release is now live – the highlight being a beta map of St Pancras to Bedford in preparation for the re-control of West Hampstead PSB’s area of control to new WestCAD workstations. The new map has signal aspects only at the moment – over the coming days, we’ll be adding route indications – but we need to validate the data we’re receiving first.

This re-control brings signal aspects and route indications for the entire area between St Pancras International and Kentish Town to north of Bedford. Previously, the train describer at West Hampstead was only able to output a handful of signal and route indications.

The immense number of changes in the map means that we need to go through a period of testing. Luckily, the new train describer is outputting similar berth-level data to the system that is replaces, and the existing two maps of the Thameslink North route will continue to work, with the exception of St Pancras International.

We’ve also made a number of other minor fixes, including:

  • Further route indications south of Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line
  • Removing ‘auto’ signal indications around York, which are no longer sent by the train describer and cause the signals to remain at danger on our site
  • An update to Holbeck Sidings near Leeds to reflect work carried out there recently
  • Tidying up berth alignments on the Coventry – Birmingham map
  • A small fix to the chord at Doncaster toward Conisborough

After we’ve finalised the Thameslink North map, we’ll be moving our sights to Ashford International, where the map has been redrawn to correct a number of small errors, enabling us to put in route indications for the entire map, and cover the route through to Maidstone East.

Advent Fixes

As with last week, we’ve been hard at work getting through the backlog of fixes to maps on the site, as well as releasing a new map

We’re proud to present a new map of Cardiff Queen Street to Coryton, Rhymney and Cardiff Bay, which is controlled by Network Rail at the Wales ROC in Cardiff.

In terms of fixes:

  • The Swansea map is updated and reflects the re-control of the Port Talbot West area to a new WestCAD system at Port Talbot PSB
  • We’ve redrawn part of the Horsham map and fixed the long-standing bug with signal and route indications, adding Train Ready to Start indications for the platforms
  • The Stalybridge to Penistone, Healy Mills and Leeds map reflects the resignalling in the Dewsbury area and the changes at Stalybridge
  • At Gatwick Airport, we’ve updated the track layout on platforms 6 and 7
  • Reston station now appears on the Edinburgh to Berwick map

Coming up at Christmas, we’ll have a refreshed and redrawn map of the West Hampstead PSB control area, reflecting the re-control to a number of new WestCAD workstations. This will have comprehensive signal aspect and route set indications.

Croeso, Llinellau Craidd y Cymoedd!

A couple of hours ago, we released our latest map of the Core Valley Lines, covering the branches to Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with services operated by Transport for Wales. The route to Treherbert is currently closed and will be opening in early 2024, but the rest of the routes show signal aspects, route indications and importantly, train movements.

These routes are signalled and maintained by TfW from the Core Valley Lines Integrated Control Centre, the CVLICC, at Taffs Well. The operation is similar to other parts of non-Network Rail infrastructure such as the East London Line, where train movement and signalling status indications are sent to Network Rail’s systems.

We are starting work on adding the routes to Rhymney and Coryton, including Cardiff Queen Street in to a separate map.

We’re back

It’s been a busy year – we’ve had so much paid work to do that there’s not been enough time to update our maps with infrastructure changes.

A number of people have been in touch with us to complain about some maps being out-of-date, with a few getting irritated that we can’t just drop our day-to-day jobs and concentrate on the public website.

Please bear in mind that the public website is a free resource which we try to keep updated, but since we make absolutely zero money from the site and operate it at-cost, it has to be prioritised lower than the work we do for the rail industry. We don’t run ads on our site, because nobody likes them (and many block them), we don’t charge a subscription fee, and we don’t track or sell your data like Facebook or Twitter.

On a more positive note, this weekend, we concentrated our efforts on updating the Windsor Lines and Staines maps to show the transfer of control of Feltham ASC to Basingstoke ROC. This happened a couple of months ago, and our maps are now up-to-date.

We’ve also updated the North London Line map to reflect the changes to the control system at Upminster IECC this weekend.

We are busy preparing for the West Hampstead re-control at Christmas, and about to start work on updating the Carstairs map. But please be kind whilst we catch up with updating other maps. We are doing our best, but we need to keep the lights on!

July 2022 update

This month, we’ve been looking closely at speeding up the website and making it quicker. One of the things that held us back was having to include support for Internet Explorer 11. We’re now a few weeks past the end of Internet Explorer, so we’re able to take a bold approach with upgrading components in the site.

We’ve updated the code that powers the maps – making it quicker to display the initial state of a map, and simplifying the code that runs on your browser. At the server end, we’ve done similar and partially re-written one of our processes to run with less memory and fewer lines of code.

Such a major change isn’t without risks, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the site over the coming days, especially as there were some unforeseen problems rolling out the new code, which resulted in maps not loading correctly. Sorry for the downtime.

We’ve also updated the map page itself. The categories we’ve listed maps under in the past have grown, and we’ve re-categorised them so they’re now more logically sorted by Network Rail Route and Region. For example, in the Southern Region, there are three routes – Kent, Sussex and Wessex, with the maps for that region listed. We will be making further changes to map categorisation in the coming weeks, and your feedback is appreciated if anything looks wrong.

Matching between trains on a map and schedule data has also been improved. It still has difficulties in some circumstances, and we’re working on making it even better.

We’ll be taking a little bit of a break for August, as most of you are, but we’ll be back in early September with new and updated maps.

The opening of Barking Riverside

On Monday 18th July 2022, the Barking Riverside extension opens. This is an extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking route further eastwards and includes provision for a new station at Renwick Road.

This morning, we’ve released a substantial change to two of our maps. Previously, we had separate maps for the LT&S route from Fenchurch Street to Southend, but now we’ve merged those maps in to one, and added a load of detail around the freight sidings at Dagenham in addition to the new Barking Riverside station.

Just a reminder that the Met Office have issued a red warning of extreme heat covering London for Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th July. If you were thinking of making a trip out to see the new station, please don’t. TfL are advising essential travel only for these two days, and your health and comfort is far more important than using a new station on its first day.

Geoff Marshall’s comments on the essential travel only advisory

Please do the responsible thing – don’t travel unless it’s essential. You can always watch the trains our our new map from the relative comfort and safety of your computer or mobile device.

Welcome, Elizabeth line!

This morning, the Elizabeth line opened. We’ve also launched our new, live map of the new section from Abbey Wood and Stratford through to Paddington.

If you’re already familiar with our maps, this new one will look almost the same. The major differences are in how the map operates, as the new Central Operating Section (COS) uses moving-block signalling.

Where other routes have colour-light signals, which we show in either green or red, almost all of the new COS uses ETCS marker boards. These are simply an arrow, with the movement authority communicated to the train’s European Vital Computer (EVC) via a balise mounted between the running rails. To indicate when a movement authority has been issued past a marker board, it will show with a dark blue background. When no movement authority has been issued, we show the marker board with a lighter, more transparent background.

The control system for the new section at Romford ROC also sends axle counter section occupation data. We show these on the map as a series of yellow dots between two parts of the track. When one of these indications is showing, it means a train is occupying that section of track.

Undoubtedly, we’ll discover bugs and mistakes in the map we’re drawn – if you see anything untoward, please contact support with details.