Online rail bookers suffering due to legacy platform

A creaking technology platform from the 1960s and 1970s was to blame for disruption to online ticket sales on the UK rail system during the holiday period late last year.


Network Rail blamed the Train Service Database this week after it emerged hundreds of passengers were sold tickets for journeys which had already been cancelled due to over-running engineering work.


The TSDB is a system built by British Rail which feeds live service information into ticket selling systems across the country, including online services such as NationalRail.co.uk.


The problem was highlighted by consumer watchdog Passenger Focus in a report detailing problems late last year when reconstruction work on the West Coast Main Line and at London Liverpool Street overran by a number of days, causing chaos to services after the Christmas holiday.


Travolution has learned the system, which was not upgraded by Railtrack, the heavily criticised forerunner of Network Rail, sometimes sees delays of up to 48 hours between new information being added and it feeding into online retail points.


A Network Rail spokesman said: “This is a legacy system inherited from BR based on 1960s and 70s mainframe technology.


“Fortunately we are in the midst of replacing this and our news system should be online by the end of the year.”

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