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Rail passengers to get travel updates via Facebook Messenger

Passengers can now get personalised updates if their train is late or cancelled via Facebook Messenger, as part of a National Rail trial.

Customers can sign up to receive notifications via the messaging app about any possible disruptions to their journey on most trains in Britain, although not all Transport for London services are included.

Those who take part in the trial can choose to get information for regular commutes and one-off journeys, and will be sent information such as details of alternative trains if theirs has been delayed or cancelled.

For how to claim if your train is late or cancelled, see our Train Delays guide.

How do I sign up for the trial?

The trial is now live and there are two ways to take part:

On Facebook or Facebook Messenger

  1. Search for National Rail on Facebook, or search directly on Facebook Messenger for National Rail. 
  2. If using Facebook Messenger, you can skip this step. If on Facebook, choose the 'Send Message' option at the top of the page.
  3. With a message tab open, click 'Get Started' and then select the menu option on the left-hand side of the tab, marked with three horizontal bars.
  4. Select 'My Journeys', then fill in the various options to choose what level of updates you'd like to receive.
  5. It may then ask you to fill in further details such as selecting a specific journey time, or range of journey times.

On the National Rail website

  1. On the National Rail website, fill in the full details of your journey including the stations you're travelling from and to and what time you're leaving, before clicking 'Go'.
  2. On the next page, click 'Keep Me Updated', under the list of travel options.
  3. If you aren't logged in to Facebook Messenger already, you'll be prompted to log in.
  4. You'll receive a confirmation message and your selected journey will be saved to the 'My Journeys' list within the Messenger tab.

You will receive updates as soon as there are delays lasting more than 10% of your total journey time. You will then continue to receive instant updates.

If you want to change details of the journeys you receive updates for, you can go back into the menu – marked with the three horizontal lines on the side of the chat tab – and select 'My Journeys'.

You can stop getting updates by going into the menu, clicking 'My Account' and choosing the 'Opt out of messages' option. Be warned, this will delete all your journeys. On your mobile, you can delete individual journeys by selecting them and swiping to the left.

An image of a Messenger chat showing the service in action.

What does National Rail say?

Crispin Humm, head of customer strategy at National Rail, said: "We are committed to putting our customers at the heart of everything we do, which is why we're investing to deliver new technology that will allow us to provide a more tailored service, keeping our customers informed during times of disruption.

"This new tool will provide customers with useful and relevant information so that they will feel in control of their journeys."

Alex Froom, head of product at Zipabout, the transport tech company that created the technology behind the trial, said: "For years Twitter has been the main source of information for those looking for minute-by-minute information on travel news. Whilst Twitter is a great information tool, people don't want to scroll endlessly through news feeds to find out about delays to journeys that may not be relevant to them.

"By harnessing this new technology National Rail will be able to get bespoke, accurate information to customers in order to better help make their end-to-end journeys with ease."

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