The major release of the last few weeks was the introduction of service allocations into Realtime Trains. We were pleased to announce earlier this week that GB Railfreight now release their train allocations on this site. This feature has been in the works for quite some time and was one of the pushers to release the new site last October to facilitate it. I’m pleased to see that feedback was almost universally positive - apart, of course, from the few people who said it was ruining the fun.
To answer the many questions about the future of this feature, GB Railfreight are the only operator that we have train allocation data for currently.
RTT ‘Ad Free’
Ad revenues have been down for some time now despite traffic continuously rising. Adverts are a necessary evil to fund the site but I’m increasingly looking at other ways of funding the site. As such, an ad-free version of RTT is in the works which will cost a small fee per month. The proceeds from this will go into continuing to fund the upkeep and development of the site.
There are various other features that I’m looking at putting into this in the long run that may be of use, but for now it’ll just be ad free.
This is currently expected to be released in May. Timescales may and do slip.
The next version of the API is currently in development. It’s a substantial update and will fix a number of issues with the current one - anything temporal will be in ISO 8601 format for one! There will be a call for testers when it’s ready in our pre-production environment. This will probably be in April as things currently stand.
We’re currently considering the arrangements for providing the API and new limits on the ‘free tier’ of usage and will provide more information closer to the time. When the next version launches, we will keep the old API live for six months.
Train allocations and heritage railway data is not included in the API.
In the media
For some reason, there’s a lot of coverage of RTT in the media this month… here’s a rundown of what I know about:
There’s an article in Railway Gazette International this month about RTT, my views on passenger information and what we’re working on. You can find it online (registration required) or in the March 2020 issue.
RTT is also briefly mentioned in the March 2020 issue of The Railway Magazine in an article entitled ‘Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be’ on page 20. We’re mentioned as a positive change to railway enthusiasts. I guess that’s a good thing! (Sorry about the gen groups.)
Railway Herald has given us coverage of the launch of train allocations with GB Railfreight. That’s on page 10 of the issue on 4th March.
Recent system updates changelog
- Support for train allocations in real-time views
- Update data sources page to add train allocations
- Add real-time allocations to the status pages
- Improve advert rendering and position adjustments
- Support for ingesting train allocation real-time messaging
- Improvements to the schedule infill mechanism with network map data from railgeometry