Officially Licensed Train Times UK App for Android contains functionality to view both Live Departure Board (LDB) information, and Real Time Journey Planning (RTJP) information, both via the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) data services.
First Time In
When you open the app for the first time, you will be presented with a loading screen for a short while during which all the station information is loaded. You will only need to wait for this to happen once; you will then be presented with the main menu.
Whenever you wish to return to this main menu, press the Train Times UK button on the top left of any screen.
Pressing your Android '
Menu' button on any screen shows you what options you have on that screen. These options are usually also shown as short-cut buttons on the top right of each screen.
The Station Search Screen
Throughout the app, you will need to select stations, whether it's to find an address, get directions, view live progress or plan a journey. The app provides a search panel for this. The search panel consists of several tabs:
This is a full directory of stations, sorted alphabetically. You can start typing the name of the station to reduce the number of stations shown. You can long-press a station to get options on showing the address, or getting directions from Google.
This shows a list of your recently used stations, to allow quick retrieval of commonly used information. You can remove stations from here by long-pressing them and selecting the 'remove' option.
If you have location services enabled on your phone, this list will show stations in your local area, ordered by distance from you.
This shows a map, with all the stations overlaid in a readable manner. You can scroll the map or zoom in and out to search for your station. Press the station you are interested in.
For Live Departure/Arrival information, this tab builds up a list of possible choices for filtering on a direct route – note you must choose a main station first.
From the main menu, press Live Progress. From the next screen you can choose a station from which to view Live Departure or Arrival information. To choose your station, press From which will bring up a station search panel. From here you can select each of several tabs to help choose your station. Press the station of your choice and the screen will close.
Note, from the search panel, you can long-press (press and hold) a station to get the option of viewing the station address, or of linking to Google maps to get directions.
Once you have chosen your main station, you can optionally select a 'filter' station to narrow your criteria. Filter stations must be on a direct route, just like on the National Rail Enquiries website.
You can add a station (with optional filter) as a favourite by clicking the star on the Live Progress screen. Note, if you add a filter, the app will need to verify that the filter is valid before you add it as a favourite (ie that the filter is on a direct line to the station). Favourites can be accessed from the main Train Times UK screen, under Your Favourites.
On the results screen you will be presented with a list of train services that satisfy your search criteria. You can drill down by pressing a service to get the app to look for calling points for that particular service. On this calling points screen, a marker show the last reported location of that service.
From the main menu, press Plan Your Journey, and you will be presented with a screen where you can specify your source and destination stations, time of travel and other options.
The source and destination stations can be selected as described previously, using the search panel. You can then select whether you want to request information for trains leaving, arriving or for the first or last train of the day. Note, if you are wanting information for trains that are close to departing, or have already departed, use the Arriving option. Date and Time can be selected by clicking the relevant fields on the screen.
Click the Add a return journey field to add return information. Just click again to remove.
You can filter for only direct services (if available) by ticking the Show only direct trains field.
If you would like to specify stations to travel via, or avoid, press the Advanced Search field, and select a station in the usual way. Then click the Travel via field to chose from Travel Via, Avoid, Change at and Don't change at. Once you are happy with your choice, press the Add route options field. You will see your selection on the screen, with a red cross which you can press to delete the option. You can add up to three route options. Please note if you specify a too restrictive option set, you wont get any data returned.
To request fare information, press the Fare info field. This opens up the screen to allow entry of the number of children and adults, and optionally the entry of railcard information. To add a railcard, click the railcard type field to choose a railcard, then press Add railcard to add it.
You can then increase or decrease the number of railcards. Please note, if you reduce the number to zero, the railcard option will be removed.
To retrieve your journey plan information, press the Get plan field, or the Check fares field if you would like the plan to include fare information. Please note, the retrieval of fare information may take a little longer than just the journey plan.
Once your results have been retrieved, you will be presented with a list of options – up to five for your outward and return journeys. You can click on each option to be presented with a break down of the legs of the journey. If you have requested fare information, you can click the Show Fare Information field to show the list of available fares. Click on a single fare to show how it is comprised. You can also request earlier or later options – click the Menu button on your phone and select either Earlier Trains or Later Trains.
From the journey leg screen, if the leg involves a train service, you can click on Show Calling Points to view the list of stops for that leg. This will provide real time information on the planned calling points for that service. Please note that this information is not available if the outward time of that leg is in the past.
To add a particular journey as a favourite, from the main Journey Plan request screen, press the Favourite star. This will make the journey request available in the Your Favourite Requests part of the App's main menu.
Your most recent journey plan results are automatically saved. You can review them by pressing the Your Recent Journey Results option from the App's main menu. Please note, that if you long-press a recent journey result, you will be given the option of changing the details of the request. This will take you into the Journey Plan request screen where you can alter/re-submit your request.
Widgets allow you to place a 'window' of your app onto the home screen of your device. This allows parts of the functionality to be exposed without actually opening the app.
Train Times UK comes with two live departure widgets – small and medium. The small widget uses very little space on your home screen, and allows you to see the next departing train from your station of interest. The medium widget is larger, and allows you to view up to the next six departures (or arrivals) from your station of interest.
To set up an Android widget, you need to long-press a free space on your home screen, at which point your device will show a list of options – select the Widgets option. Then scroll down until you see the Train Times UK small or Train Time UK medium option. Select the one you want.
You will then be presented with a screen to choose your station of interest. You can choose the usual way, and optionally select a filter station. The small widget has the extra option of polling for the next train automatically – you can select a start and end time for the daily polling. When you are happy with the configuration, press Activate widget and the widget will be placed on your home screen.
The small widget can be asked to request data immediately by pressing the small refresh icon. You can re-enter the configuration by clicking anywhere else on the widget.
The medium widget has a few more options – you can click on the settings icon to re-enter the configuration; you can click on the direction icon to swap between departures and arrivals, and you can click on the refresh icon to request a fresh set of data. If you've set a filter station, you can also press the 'swap stations' icon to switch the 'from' and 'to' stations over.
You can have as many instances of each widget as you like on your home screen – perhaps having one for your outward journey and one for your return.
Watch this space as more features are introduced....