More powerful rail journey planning

More powerful rail journey planning

28 July 2015

Access to timetable data means planning European train journeys on Loco2 is more powerful than ever!

When we started Loco2 many years ago, we were frustrated customers seeking an easier way to plan and book train tickets in Europe.

Since then, lots of things have changed and we're proud of what we've achieved so far to make booking complex train journeys more straightforward. However until now there has been a gap in our offering, one that the more seasoned rail travellers among you will be aware of.

When planning a journey that spans multiple countries (particularly those to Eastern Europe, where online booking systems are less sophisticated), one of the biggest challenges is finding an itinerary to use as a starting point for your trip. 

One company that does this well is Deutsche Bahn, whose journey planning tool can handle almost any query thrown at it, producing ambitious itineraries such as Moscow to Barcelona in the blink of an eye. But since Deutsche Bahn only sells tickets for trains that start or end in Germany, while the online timetables are helpful, they are only part of the puzzle.

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We've always known that getting access to comprehensive European timetable data would help to solve some of the problems faced by Loco2 customers. It's been a long and complicated process, but we're very pleased to announce that we can now show timetables for almost every train in Europe. Combined with our expanding train ticket coverage, the addition of timetables make Loco2 the most sophisticated online rail journey-planning tool.  

From today, if we can't find tickets for your entire journey, we'll show an itinerary or timetable to help with the next stage of your planning. It includes recommended routes, suggested stops and tips for modifying your search to find tickets. Although we might not be able to sell every ticket, we'll help you to break your journey down and work out what's possible.   

As well as slashing the number of failed searches, the timetable data means that we can also show detailed maps of train routes and details of every intermediate station along the way. Simply click on the train name/number in search results to reveal the map and stops.

There is lots more that we can do with the data, from tackling tricky cross-border journeys that require tickets from multiple rail operators, to checking train times at short notice and finding alternative ways to reach your destination. We're excited about the potential!

Today's announcement is big news for our travel geeks since it means a huge expansion of the journeys we offer and tickets we can sell via Loco2, but we still have lots more to do. As always, we're grateful for all feedback, so please give the new features a whirl and let us know what you think!

Disclaimer: Despite the most comprehensive European rail dataset, there are some omissions and inaccuracies in the data supplied, especially in Southern Europe. Please abide by the warning we provide on pages that use the data.

Banner image and thumbnail: Colourful abstract map © A-R-T-U-R | iStock

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