is very informative!

18 March 2007

I’m sat on a train heading back up to Leeds after a weekend with Paul and Matt and have taken my usual route of getting a first class upgrade to enjoy the free wifi and coffee (and the separation from the London weekend touristy classes).

I normally like to keep tabs on National Rail as they normally have good train timing information that is actually taken from the live train position.

Today we were stuck for half an hour outside Peterborough station whilst we waited for “Police attendance” – on starting our journey again I went to check national rail to see our updated arrival time and was pleasantly surprised to see that not only had they taken our delay into account but were actually reporting the train had been delayed and for what reason!

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This is what I love about the information age now that people have started sharing appropriate information freely, kudos to UK rail companies and National Rail (and to GNER for their onboard wifi!).


  1. Paul Robinson Says:
    I think this is because they need to store the information for target-checking. They get penalised if trains arrive late. If however the train is delayed for reasons other than signals/equipment/staffing issues - e.g. disruptive passengers - they can say that isn't part of the target that means get fined. So the train company puts that in the database, and to make sure you don't end up sitting there going "look! bloody useless train company!" and blame the right asbo-wielding-binge-drinking-perpetrators, they make that info available. In other words, the information age has helped them avoid fines and feed you propaganda in a stream-lined fashion. Trebles all round! :-) Good that the WiFi is useful though - not been on a train with a laptop for a while so look forward to checking it out...
  2. jamesb Says:
    the dark side of data is that in monitoring and measuring everything, yes you can make it public but in the process you're creating automatons, carriers who don't give a shit about the service only about targets. so in providing free information / data you're creating a framewrk which is anti-libertarian which furthers our atomism and individualisation. the Adam Curtis documentary The Trap elucidated on this really well bring back the useful, informative conductor :)

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