UK National Rail Enquiries - the official app!

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It's all very well having an entire service (in this case a rail network) represented via the Web - but sometimes there's comfort from having a dedicated application, with a UI and navigation that feels like it belongs on a platform. In this case, an official (there are several unofficial mobile web wrappers and licensed third party titles) app for UK National Rail Enquiries, though if you delve too deeply into the data you'll still be passed through to the mobile Web. But that's OK, this stuff is all online anyway.

From the description in the Store:

Live train information whenever you need it. Get the must-have app from National Rail Enquiries, the UK’s number one travel website. 
Access detailed, real-time train information from all Britain’s train companies. So much more than a timetable, you can track specific trains and find out about any disruptions to your journey:

  • View all your favourite and recent journeys
  • Plan journeys home or to work all on one screen
  • Pin your journey to the start screen for one-tap journey plans and live train requests
  • Live journey updates for your home station from the app tile on your phone home screen
  • Live departures and arrivals boards for any station
  • Get travel alerts as they happen
  • Plan your journey to/from a London Underground or DLR station
  • Compare rail fares & buy tickets

Here's the new app in action - it's simple, clear and effective:

Screenshot, National RailScreenshot, National Rail

The 'home' pane builds up with tiles for stations you've previously viewed data for, i.e. it builds up into a list of your 'favourites'; (right) tapping through into a station there's a choice of live departures and arrivals boards, bang up to date and comprehensive. Not shown here, but you can also tap through into any train to see its full itinerary.

Screenshot, National RailScreenshot, National Rail

Great to have all the platform data kept up to date too - isn't the UK public transport system a wonderful digital thing these days? Well, apart from the prices! (right) You can plan any journey and the system will return route options.

Screenshot, National RailScreenshot, National Rail

There's the usual selection of preferred route, railcard picking, and so on, ending up with a quoted price...

Screenshot, National RailScreenshot, National Rail

Tapping through to 'buy' takes you to the mobile web version of the FGW site (in this case) - it's perhaps understandable, given the number of operators on the UK tracks, but it's a little clumsy for the end user; (right) the Settings pane sets up some sensible defaults.

You can download this for free in the Store here. It may not be the end-to-end solution that would exist in a perfect world, but it's a terrific official source of all that data you need when standing on platforms across the country.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store