Trains & Phones &......things

Railtrack used to have a great service. I could personalise the menu with routes of interest over the web and then make a next journey query using the phone as I dashed towards Waterloo station. It'd give me the timetabled departure, so I knew whether to panic or not! (Of course, an alternative was to remember the timetable). It was useful, but disappeared in the corporate transition from Railtrack 1 to Network Rail.

The replacement WAP site is at http://wap.nationalrail.co.uk. It requires you to type in the station names for both start & finish stations. You can save the new journeys as bookmarks, but it lacks the intelligence & creativity of the early Kizoom solution 2. The earlier solution moved the menu to the server, and input to a keyboard and while it didn't use your cell location to know where you were and thus get the route direction right, it did use the time of day.The original solution was a clever combination of various technologies, leveraging the wireless, portable nature of the phone to offer a service that was different and usefull. Phone's/PDAs as information appliances must be different from the laptop/notepad PC, or they won't become mass consumer network access points.

The changes mean that the service has become just another online query, not one where the phone's mobility and portability make the site's use compelling.


1. Another thought here is that Railtrack were the ultimate infrastructure provider, - they sold time on the railway to train operators. They went bankrupt. I may return to this thought in a later article.

2. You also now need two bookmarks for each journey, one going out & one on return.

The previous article is here...General Musing on phones


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