Railway information groups have been around since 1999. Enhancments in mobile phone technology began to intergrate with moibile phones. Railway enthusiasts soon realised they could untilise Yahoogroups to create a group for rail enthusiasts to join, then those people who were members could then post information about workings and trains they saw. As time went on and technology progressed then it soon became possible to forward these Emails to mobile phones by setting up additional accounts with service provider O2. This new technology of posting information from a mobile phone to the internet at the lineside or 'on the bash' spawned a new eara of Railway information. Railway 'gen' became pretty much instant. This obviously kept everyone in the loop and also meant that sometimes hours waiting on a cold and windy bridge could be cut down to as little as 10 minutes!
As technology has increased over the years mobile phones now have internet and Email capabilities built in. This has enabled a whole host of Railway Gen groups to appear covering all manner of topics, locomotive classes, and reigions. In the South West we have several 'Gen Groups' which cover our region. South West Rail Gen was the first, having been set up in 1999 the group is now 10 years old and still running. GW-Gen came second in 2007 but now supplies much more information than SWRG and was very successful, sadly the group suffered at the hands one individual who spoiled the information supplied to hundreds of people. Any future groups which are set up issue occurred will not be in the public domain, and will be kept private.
We have made full use of both of these groups (as well as contributing) in order to take photos for the website, the freedom of such groups allows prior planning, and sometimes last minute decisions to be made with regards locations for photos, due to any failures or incidents which may have occurred.
In order to receive information from these groups you will need to set up a Yahoogroups Profile. This can be done by going to www.yahoogroups.com. Once this has been completed you can choose which of the Railway Gen groups you wish to apply to join. Most groups have a moderatorship whereby you will need to be approved to join. (Some groups being more strict than others, on who joins. Remember this is down to the group owners!). Once approved as a member you will be free to email information to that group and receive it via your chosen Email account.
|National Rail departure boards can be accessed for any station in the UK and provide a good up to date way of keeping a track of booked passenger services and any late running which may be occurring.|
|Open Train Times is operated by Peter Hicks, and houses an 'advanced' section which will provide a list of headcodes, booked passenger services, and freight trains with advance timings of their operations.|
|Real Time Trains provides real time train data showing on time and late running of live services on the network, with data feeds taken from various locations to provide an up to date 'live system' to track services. A version two of this system is currently under development.|
|Iris Rail provide Departure Boards for Stations which are presented in a similar way to the same boards viewed at Station.|
Yahoogroups (a free service) operated by Yahoo, provides the ability to subscribe your Email address (which can be accessed from a mobile phone or tablet) to a 'Group'. It also provides the ability to email the 'group' from your line side location to inform others of railway observations as they happen. There are many groups which cover South West operations, which can be found via a simple search. This service allows Emails to be sent direct to mobile phones giving up to date info on some of the rarer workings in the area.
Links to Reigonal Groups can also be found here: REIGONAL GROUPS
|Network Rail also provide another interesting resource. Their website hosts a location where it's possible to download working timetables for the whole of the UK. Tauntons PDF download is located here|