Have you ever wanted to know exactly which other stations you can reach on a direct train from Basingstoke? Go on, own up, you have, haven’t you?
Well, Tom Forth – thinker, data-wrangler, professional northerner, and author of some of the most interesting articles we’ve ever run on CityMetric – Is here for you. Earlier this week, he tweeted this:
Tim tweets these kind of things, and I’m sure he’s well meaning, but does he realise, I wonder, that I simply cannot resist…
*opens GBTrainTimetables.sln* https://t.co/IHR4SRSYJ7
— Tom Forth (@thomasforth) November 1, 2019
And reader, he did not resist. He instead used publicly available timetable data to build a “reachable stations” tool, which allows you to click on any station in Great Britain, and instantly see where you can go without changing.
And if you’re in Basingstoke, you’ll be pleased to hear, you have options:
But you have more options if you’re starting at Birmingham New Street:
Here’s Liverpool Lime Street:
Other places, such as Hull, are served by a narrower range of trains, presumably because they’re a) smaller and b) a bit out of the way:
You can also use the tool to see the difference in service patterns from cities’ different stations. Compare Manchester Piccadilly, from which trains run all over the country:
…to Manchester Victoria, from which they mainly serve the north:
Honestly, I could keep doing this for hours. Probably will, too.
The tool isn’t perfect. It doesn’t label the stations – you have to zoom in on the map to work out what you’re looking at (when I clicked Basingstoke, I genuinely thought it was Reading). And sometimes the data is formatted unhelpfully in the databases from which Tom is drawing – there are currently two London Bridges for some reason:
Destinations from each of the two London Bridge stations. “ATCOCode”: “9100LNDNBDC” vs. “ATCOCode”: “9100LNDNBDE” for those wondering. There’ll be a link table somewhere, probably, maybe, or maybe not. pic.twitter.com/P1uKWwaR8q
— Tom Forth (@thomasforth) November 6, 2019
But it’s still a fascinating tool, if you’re a rail nerd which obviously you are, so go have a play.
Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.
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