thetrainline.com

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thetrainline.com is an online and telephone service selling tickets for travel on British train services. It was created in 1997 and online ticket sales started in 1999. thetrainline.com Ltd was formerly part of the Virgin Group and is now owned by private equity investors and management. The business has expanded significantly in the last eight years, acquiring its main online competitor Qjump from National Express Group in February 2004.[1]

Thetrainline.com website is the leading independent retailer of train tickets online, and is licensed by the Association of Train Operating Companies. Its systems are accredited by the rail industry, but it is both independent of any train operating company and impartial in that its systems search the full range of possible journeys and rail travel fares based on customer preferences (such as price or time).[2]

In addition to the online service provided direct to customers operated under its own brands thetrainline.com and Qjump, it provides the website services for 14 of the 20 UK train operating companies operating under their own brands, as well as providing a rail business travel service direct to a number of large blue chip corporations, travel management companies and travel agents. Trainline also provides a call centre service to a number of the customers referred to above.[3]

Thetrainline's main offices are in London and Edinburgh.[4]

In July 2006, Exponent Private Equity acquired TheTrainLine, for £168 million. TheTrainLine was bought from a consortium of shareholders that included the Virgin, Stagecoach and National Express transport groups.

In July 2007, thetrainline acquired Advanced Smartcard Technologies and ECEBS Ltd, signalling a new strategy to enter the smartcard market. Ecebs was subsequently sold to Bell ID in November 2012.[5]

In 2008, thetrainline started supplying Newbury Data ND4020 rail ticket printers and self-service kiosks to its corporate and travel management clients.

Thetrainline.com's main competitor (in train booking software) is Atos's WebTIS product which is used by East Coast, Chiltern, Southern, Southeastern, London Midland and Atos's own site redspottedhanky.com. First Great Western will move from thetrainline based booking engine to Atos's WebTIS product in November 2012.[6]

Partnership with Google Maps[edit]

Thetrainline.com’s most recent partnership (January 2012) is with Google to launch its extensive national rail travel information service for mainland Britain on Google Maps. Users of Google Maps will have train route and timetable information for more than 2,500 stations and 170,000 trips nationwide at their fingertips, in addition 8,000 bus stops and over 250 tube stations.

Gadgets[edit]

In August 2008, thetrainline.com launched its ticket alert service. Ticket Alert enables customers to sign up for email alerts, via thetrainline.com website, which notify them as soon as advance tickets (typically the cheaper tickets) become available for specific journeys, which the customer pre-selects.

In September 2008, thetrainline.com relaunched its website, adding a feature known as the Best Fare Finder, which allows customers to search for the cheapest fare between selected stations on a given day.[7]

In October 2009, thetrainline.com introduced their iPhone application which allows for journey planning, timetable download and basic station information. The updated version of the application which allows tickets to be purchased via an iPhone is available free from the iTunes Store and was released in October 2010. Free versions of the app also exist for Blackberry, Android and other mobile devices.

In January 2011, thetrainline.com introduced a quick train times tool so that users can find train times for all national rail stations in an instant.

Booking fees[edit]

thetrainline.com charges customers a 2% fee for using a credit card to purchase tickets. A £1.50 booking fee also applies to all transactions. This makes paying some level of booking fee unavoidable.[8] It is possible to buy the same tickets from the websites of the train operating companies, who in many cases do not charge a booking fee.[9]

Refunds[edit]

As of late 2011, users can request a refund and/or a change of journey on thetrainline.com. Across the rail industry a £10 charge is applied for this service.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rail booking firms set to merge". BBC News. 2004-02-09. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  2. ^ "About thetrainline.com | How to save money on train tickets". Thetrainline.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  3. ^ "About thetrainline.com | How to save money on train tickets". Thetrainline.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  4. ^ http://www.thetrainlinejobs.com/departments/
  5. ^ "Bell ID buys Ecebs". Finextra. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  6. ^ "Twitter / JustinMcAree: @FGW Is it true FGW are moving". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  7. ^ "thetrainline.com launches unique tool to help consumers easily uncover the cheapest rail fares" (Press release). TheTrainLine. 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  8. ^ ""Booking and credit card fees" - thetrainline.com". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  9. ^ "How to avoid TheTrainLine fees". Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  10. ^ "Changing and Cancelling tickets". National Rail website. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

External links[edit]