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National Rail iPhone app review

Comprehensive route planning and live departure boards

National Rail
A very useful app that removes the need to navigate the National Rail website

Our Verdict

A good app, though expensive, and there are some limitations. Consider buying now and hope for an update


  • Live departure boards
  • Last train home feature


  • Limited functionality on iPod touch

Many of us regularly travel by train. This might be as part of a commute or even just for fun, either way you'll know that our rail system is a difficult beast to get to grips with, and that trains are frequently delayed, making it easy to miss vital connections as well as important meetings.

The solution to dealing with this is information. You need to be able to plan journeys efficiently and anticipate delays as far in advance as possible. You might already be used to using the National Rail Enquiries website for your planning, and therefore familiar with its live departure boards to help you see when trains are running late.

But now all that information is available straight from the horse's mouth with this, the official iPhone application. (It will work on an iPod touch, but its dependence on WiFi hotspots hobbles its usefulness, especially for status updates.)

When you first launch it, the app will prompt you to set your 'home' station based on your location. (You can also add other stations, as well as journeys.)

Planning a journey is simple and the live departures board is useful, showing a summary of the departing trains and any delays, but also allowing you to tap on any service and see its progress.

Annoyingly, there's no access to this information when you plan a journey, or indeed any way to access it when you're already on a train and want to check progress or upcoming stations, but it's nevertheless useful.

Our favourite feature is Next train home that looks up your nearest station and checks the time of the next train you can catch to your home station.

Buy from our affiliates: iTunes Store