Railtrack upgrades Web site to help customers beat congestion

Railtrack upgrades Web site to help customers beat congestion

RAILTRACK has overhauled its Web site, adding new modules of information and a service that e-mails customers to alert them of potential travel problems on the rail network.

The site now has maps of the major terminus stations, showing customers where shops and other facilities are, and a search facility to help people track down corporate information about Railtrack.

Customers can also sign up to get advance notice by e-mail of engineering works that may affect weekend travel from their local station. To get the service, customers need to register their e-mail address on the company's Web site at www.railtrack.co.uk

Working with Web design consultancy Clarity, Railtrack plans to add extra content to its Web site by the end of the year, including information on tube, buses, taxis and hotels.

Customers will be able to search for the extra information from a drop-down menu on the same screen they use to make a timetable query.

Clarity consultant Benjamin Chilcott said: "We're planning to add in a lot more integrated transport information. If a business person is coming down to London, they will also want to find out what tube or bus to take, or where to find taxis.

"They may want a list of hotels. The plan is to either list hotels or link out to other sites."

Visitors to the site should not expect all-singing, all-dancing graphics and animation. "We know that around 80% of visitors are mission surfers - they want to know how to get from A to B and then get off the site. For that reason we want to make sure they can do that as quickly as possible, so we have just stuck to basic HTML, and haven't done fancy animations that require the user to download extra plug-ins," said Chilcott.

Early next year, Railtrack is planning to introduce a live information service to relay up-to-the-minute information of network delay via mobile phones.

"In future, if your meeting is running late, you will be able to find out if there is still a chance of catching your train.

"We have trialled the technology on an Ericsson phone with an Internet screen, but eventually the service will be available to all mobile phones," said Chilcott, "Regular commuters will also be able to sign up to get updates via their mobile on how their morning and evening trains are running."


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