National Rail Enquiries 1.2 is an iPhone app that lets you get from a to b with relative ease.
Thanks to the Apple iPhone's unrivalled ease for web browsing, it's quite possible to get all your train departures information you need from the regular full-fat National Rail website at nationalrail.co.uk.
But the process is relatively slow, as you must type in station and time details into several fields, after first zooming into various parts of the page.
The official National Rail iPhone app speeds up the process tremendously, and adds features unavailable elewhere. It's not the cheapest app for the job, but for regular travellers, it's an invaluable time saver.
For standard journey queries, you use ‘Plan a journey' to type in From, To, and Time parameters. By default, time is ‘Departing now', but it's simple to use the iPhone's fruit-machine drums to change date and time fields.
You can also set your Home station, and thereafter ask the app anytime to show you the way home from one button, aided by the phone's GPS.
We use the Live Departures feature regularly, which shows the next several available trains, along with updated scheduling to inform by how much trains are running late or even cancelled. The information is updated as reguarly as electronic signage on the platforms themselves. You can also see ahead if a train is likely to make up lost time and still get you to your destination anywhere near on time.
Very useful is a linear graphical scene of the journey from end to end, with a blue dot to show the train's current position at or between stations.
Several of your oft-used stations can be pinned to the app's front page, making it easy for commuters to pull up live information for regularly used stations.
Various app options allow you to, for example, see only direct trains in search results; show 'via' stations; and show distances in miles or kilometres.
Our only complaint is the inaccuracy of platform information. For journeys through London Victoria at least, the given platform number for departing trains - a handy piece of extra information - is rarely correct.
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