Documenting Problems That Were Difficult To Find The Answer To

Can You Help Me To Get A National Rail Feed?

I want to write a very lightweight website for mobile users that allow them to enter a departure and arrival station pair on a line to get the best possible information about possible trips between those stations.

National Rail already provide a basic website showing trains leaving between two websites. But what I really want is:

  • fastest trips only (strip out any that begins before another train that arrives earlier)
  • text-mode only, no graphics (3G mobile can be unforgiving, this must be lightweight)
  • no JavaScript, information is to be as simple and basic as possible
  • shows departure platform (essential at busy terminals to know where to walk)
  • shows arrival platform (useful because arriving at some platforms is more convenient than others)
  • shows current estimated departure and arrival times
  • shows trip duration
  • shows how many stops on that trip

I already have a data-mining script that gets me this information for my personal use, and I rely on this every morning and every afternoon for my daily commute. But I shouldn’t have to use nefarious techniques to obtain this information and I’m sure it would be of enormous benefit to provide it to others.

The commuting public are treated abysmally by Network Rail in terms of physical conditions on peak-hour trains – with a significant proportion having to regularly stand for long periods (in excess of 20 minutes at a time).

Let’s respect them enough to keep them informed! I’m willing to help out but I need access to National Rail feeds – and if you know how then drop me a comment (all comments are moderated so I can keep them hidden if you so wish).

Update 2017-09-16: National Rail do actually have a free data feed API now. The wiki is available at and the feeds are available from

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