Loco2 vs Trainline

6 September 2016

Earlier this year, Loco2's closest competitor was acquired by Trainline, one of the largest private companies in the UK rail market. So how does Loco2 compare to Trainline?

Paris-based Captain Train has now been completely rebranded as "Trainline.eu". As we wish our French friends farewell, we thought it was a good moment to highlight some of the differences between Loco2 and Trainline.

1. Is the UK in Europe?

Both Loco2 and Trainline sell tickets across western Europe, with direct integrations covering France, Spain, Germany and Italy, plus of course the UK.

All tickets on Loco2 are available via a single booking, whereas if you book through Trainline, you need to use their UK site for British journeys, and "Trainline EU" for the rest of Europe. This means that  journeys like Brighton to Barcelona or Bath to Berlin can currently only be booked on Loco2.

2. To fee or not to fee?

Loco2 charges no fees for debit card bookings in the UK or anywhere else. This makes us a good alternative to Trainline for UK tickets, since their booking fees add up to £1.50 per transaction.

3. The quest for ratings

Although it's not an exact measure, Loco2 has an average Trustpilot rating of 92%, versus Trainline's 88%

4. French exchange

Purchases on Loco2 and Trainline cost roughly the same because ticket prices are set by the rail operators. Currently though, all bookings on Loco2 are charged in British Pounds whereas with Trainline, non-UK bookings are in Euros. We have some exciting news on this coming soon, so watch this space...

5. David and Goliath

Probably the biggest difference between the two companies is the number of staff. 

Here at Loco2 we consist of a small but perfectly-formed team of 16, whereas according to the careers website Glassdoor, Trainline has between 200-500 employees.

6. Who's your daddy?

Back in January 2015, Trainline was bought by the huge US private equity firm, KKR, for around £450m. 

Loco2 is currently funded by a small group of individual shareholders, who've invested around £1.6m. Most of the company is still owned by the co-founders' family (including Jamie and Kate's actual dad) and friends. You can read more about our story here.

7. Tech

Trainline's core technology in the UK is based on asp.net, whereas Captain Train uses Ruby, the powerful open source technology that is also behind Loco2.

Both Loco2 and Trainline have iOS and Android apps (though until recently we have focused more on our mobile website). 

We intend to write more posts about our approach to tech soon, highlighting how we've built a powerful application with such a tiny team. If you're a software engineer who thrives in a challenging but exciting environment, then please consider joining us!



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