Institute of Transport Administration

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Government support sees train travel on track to help the UK bounce back economically and environmentally

17 Aug 2021


9th August – Grand Central gets a boost in its mission to revolutionise rail travel and improve the passenger rail experience thanks to the Department for Transport through the First of a Kind 2021 competition, delivered by InnovateUK Fund via travel-tech provider, Whoosh.

Whoosh provides innovative, customer-centric technology platforms and has recently been awarded Innovate UK funding. Its industry-leading Real-Time Journey Dashboard is now operating across Grand Central’s trains and is poised to be a valuable solution in driving passengers back towards the mode of transport. The revolutionary platform receiving the funding boost enhances the customer experience through offering bespoke real-time journey updates, contactless at-seat catering and constant direct communication amongst many other valuable features.

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK have invested almost £25m into the ‘First of a Kind’ fund. This competition has been introduced as a result of the government’s focus on rail to boost the country’s economy and environmental efforts through facilitating the development of several critical projects. This includes Whoosh’s Real-Time Journey Dashboard, which is branded ‘Journey Central’ onboard Grand Central trains.

Edmund Caldecott, Whoosh CEO and founder, has said of putting rail passengers at the forefront thanks to this funding:

”The UK’s rail network is a fantastic resource and is a brilliant way to aid economic recovery and push for prioritised greener travel. However, it has long been neglected in favour of other modes of transport. Therefore, it is fantastic that the Department for Transport through the First of a Kind 2021 competition, delivered by InnovateUK, is addressing this discrepancy. This generous amount of money has enabled us to launch Journey Central alongside Grand Central, encouraging consumers to choose rail and in particular positioning this operator as ahead of the curve with the customer experience at the heart of its evolution.

Innovation such our Real-Time Journey Dashboard is absolutely vital for boosting the UK’s economy post-pandemic. An increased emphasis on meeting customers’ demands, whether that be the quick connections currently being built or initiatives to make the onboard experience more enjoyable and accessible are key in spreading the urban-pound across the UK. Plus, we’re passionate ensuring our work assists the country in moving towards a carbon-neutral future.”

The platform has already seen success across the Yorkshire-based Grand Central trains, being scanned by 68% of passengers a day at its launch. The platform also provides valuable insight for an operator as they see exactly what information and services their passengers are interested in and can prioritise their resources as a result.

With Whoosh’s technology, by scanning a QR code, customers access bespoke journey information including service, station and onward journey information. By keeping these passengers in the loop, TOCs can also offer a better duty of care and tackle standard gripes of unknown delays quickly and easily.

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