UK railway station codes and live train info via SMS

Attached to this post is a full list of three letter codes for UK
railway stations (and the corresponding full station name) which I
screen-scraped from the National Rail
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/codes/ web site a couple of
years ago. I’ve included CSV and XLS. I’ve included XLS not because
I’m a Microsoft fan (I actually created the file with OpenOffice
running on Ubuntu Linux!), but because it reads into PocketExcel on my
Windows Mobile PDA, and I find that the most convenient way to browse
and search the info when I’m out-and-about.
 
The three-letter codes are useful to know for all kinds of
reasons. For example, I use them when using National Rail and rail
ticket sellers web sites – they are just quicker, easier and less
ambiguous than full station names. However, they really come into
their own when travelling by train, when you have a mobile phone with
SMS but no internet. National Rail have excellent live train info
available via a text-back service, but to use it it’s best to use
those three-letter codes…
 
The SMS number is 84950 – just text one or two codes to that number to
get live info. eg. texting “DHM” to 84950 will give the upcoming
departures from Durham, and if they are running late. But even more
useful, is to text, say, “DHM BHM” to 84950, to get information on the
next trains from Durham to Birmingham New Street, complete with
information on if, when and where you need to change. Obviously there
is a small charge for this service (I think it’s 25p a go), but it is
very fast and convenient. I’ve been using this service for ages, but
talking to people, it’s surprising how many people don’t know about
it yet.
 
Note that there is a similar SMS text-back service for UK buses, which
you can find out about from www.traveline.info but for that it’s
easiest to look up the bus stop codes you want in advance, on-line.

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Published by

darrenjw

I am Professor of Stochastic Modelling within the School of Mathematics & Statistics at Newcastle University, UK. I am also a computational systems biologist.

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