trainline app SME Kings Cross Station Departure Hall
This post was sponsored by Trainline

My sister and I took the train to school in Ashford, Kent unaccompanied every day from the ages of six to thirteen in what is now outmoded rolling stock; we travelled from a tiny Victorian station – Pluckley – on slam-door trains, with push down windows that popped straight back up again unless you leaned out of them (the thrill of the wind in your hair!), triangular luggage racks, battleship grey fittings, carpeted bench seating, and loos that always smelt of stale wee.

I loved travelling on those trains, wee smell apart, and the romance and independence that comes with travelling by train has stayed with me ever since. Whenever I can, I take the train, whether it’s for something exciting abroad – travelling from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur’s extraordinary Mughal-esque railway station, taking the TGV from Paris to Cannes for the Film Festival, or for travelling within England –the Night Riviera sleeper train from London Paddington to Truro in Cornwall for my holidays, an inter-city from London Euston to Manchester for a meeting, the short hop to Ascot for the races to avoid the traffice jams, or a quick nip to Banbury from Marylebone to see my mother.

Of course I love to drive but, in the words of the famous 1980s British Rail ad I usually prefer to ’let the train take the strain’ if my journey involves any hint of a motorway and, even in, say, an auto-piloted Tesla I’m still all about the car, the road, the mechanics, and there’s no chance I’ll get any work done on a drive; there will be no phone calls, no dictating copy into a voice app, let alone email answering. So, when I need to get work done I do indeed happily let the train take the strain.

And speaking of taking the strain, for years now I’ve booked all my train travel online in advance. I started my career as Bookings Editor at Conde Nast Traveller magazine in the late 90s, producing fashion and photographic shoots all over the country, and I used to book all our train travel through Trainline (it dropped the ‘the’ and the ‘.com’ in 2015).

After I left I never lost the habit, rejoicing in the ease and convenience of booking in advance, so you can imagine my joy when Trainline launched an app, especially once Apple and Android Pay were integrated, allowing users to pay for their train tickets in seconds. You can make seat reservations, and it also allows you to book with a Railcard – my sister has a Disabled Railcard – and it applies the correct discounts.)

trainline app SME

The app means that I can research, plan, compare and book my journeys on the hoof and, once on the train, there is a live journey tracker (I can’t be the only one who loses track of time on journeys, sitting bolt upright and wailing where ARE we? at various intervals).

It also gives live departure information, and the advance platform notifications in particular are genius. You may too have noticed that railway stations like to post the platform number about two minutes before the train leaves – but with the Trainline app you can beat the frenzied rush to the ticket gates. (It’s particularly useful when taking the train to sporting events when there are hundreds of people milling about the station craning their necks towards the departure boards.)

Trainline also now offer the choice of either ticket collection from the station or an e-ticket on your smartphone so you don’t even have to queue up at the station for tickets to pop out of the machine (a real bore in the rush hour). But the absolute best thing that has recently changed for me is that small businesses – SMEs like myself (small medium enterprises) – can now run both a business and a personal account on Trainline,  switching between the two as required, both on computer or on the app.

Shamefully, I am that person who presents her bookkeeper with a bucket of receipts each year at tax time, so you can imagine her pleasure at not having to wonder whether this or that journey was for work or for play. It also means that anyone working for me can have a business account linked to my corporate credit card, so they don’t incur out of pocket expenses. You can bring up any historical journey too if you need check where and when a particular journey took place.

Below: I’ve screengrabbed the journey data from some of the journeys we booked last year using Trainline. (Long before this partnership was mooted!)

Of course everything is still sent to email, so you can belt and brace all your information.

In short – if you use train travel for work and for play as a small business, then this is the way forward.

This sponsored post was written in collaboration with Trainline

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3 comments

Reply

I *love* Trainline. I was once in a line at the St. Pancras ticket office trying to get tickets for the next leg of my family’s journey, and it was moving so slow that I got on my phone to try Trainline. I ended up finishing the transaction while there were still three or four people ahead of me in line, so I just zipped out to the machine to pick them up. Another time, in Brighton, I was having a problem getting the ticket machine to give me the tickets I wanted. So, again, I just jumped on my phone and bought the tickets on Trainline then got it out the machine.

And that’s not to mention all the other times I just went straight to Trainline and just got whatever I needed from wherever I was, including a different country. I hope to be back in the UK within a few months or so, and I’m planning to travel all over the UK and Europe primarily by train this trip, with as few flights as possible. So I’m sure I’ll be using the app frequently, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Reply

My only thing with Trainline is that… isn’t all this information available on the National Rail website/app, without paying a 50p booking fee every time? I know 50p isn’t much but it all adds up if you travel by train a lot and despite many years of train travel I still don’t know what the advantage of Trainline is over NR…?

Reply

Tramline is so much easier than using National Rail! The layout is much clearer – you can see prices of standard and first class simultaneously and if you want to go one class in one direction and the other on return its easy to do on one page. Best of all you don’t get redirected to individual train companies’ sites which means you don’t need to remember different logins and passwords for different companies which drives me nuts. Several times I’ve started to go through National Rail and come against these sorts of issues because a train company tells me it recognises my email address saved from a previous transaction so I need to either remember or reset a password. So thought ‘Sod it’ and gone to Trainline. I know for more tech savvy people this will sound very trivial but who needs unnecessary complications when Tramline can smooth all this away.

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