Railway information groups have been around since 1999. Enhancments in mobile phone technology began to intergrate with mobile 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 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. 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 since this issue occurred will not be in the public domain, and will be kept private.

Many of the photographers who provide photos for Taunton Trains have made full use online advance information (as well as contributing themselves). Having up to date information while out at the lineside can provide much more felixibility for the photographer.

In order to receive information from these groups you will need to set up a Yahoogroups Profile. This can be done by going to 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.


With increasing amounts of information available to the general public with regards to tracking trains on the move, the more ways enthusiasts also find to monitor the same trains and services, thus allowing them to pinpoint their exact position. Many online public services exist, such as Real Time Trains, Open Train Times, and now also Traksy. Both OTT and Traksy have used free feeds available from Network Rail to produce full signaling diagrams for many routes around the UK. Traksy now includes Taunton. For the uninitiated it may seem confusing at first, but above you can see the platforms at Taunton (orange) platform numbers 2,3,4,5 & 6. As trains pass through they are denoted by a four digit code (the headcode), each headcode identifies a service. By clicking on that service you can see it's schedule. The headcodes move in real time as they pass signals and detection equipment giving a live view as to the location of each service. We have provided an embedment of the Traksy website above (which can also be used on any hand held mobile device), Traksy covers the majority of the UK, and as long as your enter a station name you can see the track diagram for that area. Please also visit the Traksy website for more details.


Real Time Trains also take live information from Network Rail feeds to provide real time train information and display in a timetable format which is easy to understand. the system also includes Non Passenger workings and Freight services. The nationwide system provides acurate train and schedule information for the user, and also keeps information for up to five days before its deleted.


Rail Gen Information

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.

South West Rail Gen & Wiltshire Avon Gen are two of the local groups.

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