Thetrainline.com is the largest online train ticket retailer in the UK. More than 70% of the online tickets in UK are sold via the trainline.com platform. The UK rail industry has a number of train operating companies, and most use the trainline.com’s platform as their sole online presence. For the last seven years, ThoughtWorks has been their digital partner.
Cross Country Trains is a leading operator using thetrainline.com platform. They saw an opportunity to make online booking easier for their customers - and optimise their ticket sales at the same time. They wanted their customers to be able to make last minute and same-day ticket purchases. They also wanted to guarantee their customers a seat on their preferred journey.
Working with ThoughtWorks, thetrainline.com came up with the solution. In order to provide the best possible outcome, changes needed to be made across multiple systems including the call centre system, the website and the backend web services. Theses changes then needed to be optimized for mobile. Externally, adjustments to the central rail reservation systems were made to allow for rapid last minute data processing.
Releases were made incrementally over the course of three months. As the Cross Country features were being developed, other features were continuously released into production. This continuous process, while complex, meant that each feature was test driven, continuously integrated and ran unimpeded as the new features were developed and deployed.
The results? As new features were rolled out, customers were getting better deals and now have the ability to purchase last minute tickets. Seats are guaranteed by purchasing the advance tickets – giving customers peace of mind as they arrive at the train station - and giving Cross Country trains a significant advantage over their competitors.
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Cross Country Trains went on to win a Technology and Innovation Award at the Rail Business Awards for this feature. They also won an award in the Mobile Technology category at the UK Rail Industry Awards.