Travelling by train is an incredibly popular mode of transport for millions of people across the United Kingdom. We have an extensive rail network which operates nationally and locally, and is of huge importance to the day to day life of many people.
Whether its the daily to commute to and from work or the quickest way to get across the country, trains are used almost 24/7 and that isn’t going to change any time soon. What has changed though is how people purchase train tickets and keep up to date on times, delays and cancellation. In years gone by, all of this was done at train stations and/or on websites, however, as technology has evolved apps are now really handy for train users.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the best train apps out there. We will consider what their uses are and how they help users with their travel plans. Let’s get into it.
Best train app UK – ranked
The Trainline app is many people’s go-to app when it comes to purchasing train tickets in the United Kingdom and rightly so, it’s a very slick app and incredible straightforward to use. It also has the benefit of a pre-existing high reputation of being a popular website before they moved into the world of mobile phone apps.
When you first open up the app, there’s no messing around. You land instantly on the ‘live times and tickets’ page meaning that you don’t need to faff around to get to the part of the app where 90% of users want to be. To search for tickets and times, input your departure and arrival station and the dates in which you wish to travel on. You can also enter in any railcards that you have so the app can bring up the correct price.
Once you’ve searched, the app will bring up all results after the time you selected on the date of your choice. It will flag the cheapest train, allowing you the best opportunity possible to snag a deal. Once you’ve settled on a train of your choice you are free to purchase your tickets directly on the app, meaning that you won’t be sent off to another website to complete the purchase.
Your purchased tickets will then be stored on ‘my tickets’ and there is no need to get them printed off – these electronic tickets come with a barcode and act as a physical ticket for all journeys purchased through the trainline app. You may find that Trainline stops working from time to time, but for the most part, it’s very reliable.
If you are looking for live updates on train times then you will need to add a journey to your favourites list and then hit ‘now’. This will then bring up a list of the upcoming trains completing that journey with a message saying whether it’s on time or delayed. To be honest, this tab is an area which trainline could improve – there should be a designated tab with live updates in my opinion.
UK Live Train Times
The ‘UK Live Train Times’ app does exactly what it says on the tin – keeps user informed on the latest times on all trains across the United Kingdom. Given that we’ve just criticised the trainline app for failing in this department, it’s only fair that we give credit to an app that does do this exceptionally well.
When you open the app up you are greeted by a screen which asks you to input a train station. You should enter the station which you are getting the train from if you are looking to find out whether your train is on time or running late.
Once you’ve selected your desired station, you will be greeted by a live board which displays all upcoming departures from that station, alongside which platform each train is departing from and whether the train is on time or not. If you want, you can also look at all upcoming arrivals to that station too by selecting the arrivals tab next to departures.
One really cool feature of the UK Live Train Times is the alerts tab. Although this is part of the premium version of the app, which comes at 80p a month, it’s definitely worth getting if you’re a regular train user. This tab allows you to setup alerts for certain journeys, which send a push notification to your phone if there is any change to your train times and/or departure platforms.
The final app that’s worth talking about is TrainPal. This is an all singing, all dancing app that looks to provide users with a bit of everything when it comes to train travel in the United Kingdom. The app is more ‘gimmicky’ than the the other two apps that we’ve discussed but it definitely has its merits.
Just like Trainline, you are able to purchase tickets on the app, much in the same way – even if the search and purchase functionality isn’t quite as well presented or as slick. It also gets a little bit lost in the crammed look of the home page but once you’ve found it, it’s a straightforward task to search for train tickets and buy them.
The best thing about the TrainPal app is its box scheme. These are gifts that the app presents to users every now and then which include voucher codes and discounts off train tickets. This gimmick can potentially save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year if you get lucky.
You can also purchase vouchers via the ‘PalStore’ on the app, which can save you even more money. At the minute they are offering a £5 off £75+ purchases voucher for 79p meaning that you can save £4.21 on expensive train journeys just by using TrainPal.
To conclude, there are plenty of apps out there for train users. The three we’ve discussed here all have their own merits – Trainline is superb for purchasing train tickets, UK Live Train Times is superb for keeping up to date on train times and delays, and TrainPal is superb for snagging a deal. In short, all three are absolutely worth downloading!