Northern Railway Website

Hitch supported Arriva Rail North through the research and bid phase for the award of the Northern Rail franchise. This process included a range of scoping, planning and research to ensure that their proposal would exceed expectations, and ultimately delight customers. Upon the award of the bid, Hitch was ready to bring these plans to life.

The Brief

Following the success of an interim ‘bid announcement’ website following award of the franchise, Hitch was immediately asked to begin planning the foundations for a long-term Northern Railway marketing website.

The Approach

This project had to take into consideration a range of factors: the incumbent franchise’s existing offering, the insight into customers’ needs gathered during the scoping phase, as well as Northern Railway’s franchise commitments.

This informed the development of a large and complex website, which required a number of innovative concepts to give greater functionality, including:

  • Integrated ticket purchase

  • Up to date information on the status of lines and stations

  • Improved access to browse upcoming engineering works, request on-train passenger assistance, and apply for compensation in case of journey delays.

The Results

Hitch and Northern have developed a fully-featured marketing website, allowing a range of features with user experience at it’s heart.

Some of these key features include:

  • Automatic content repositioning - the ticket purchase module reacts to the browser size, scaling and repositioning content to ensure ideal viewing on desktop or mobile.

  • More relevant routes displayed - weighted searches, previous user behaviour and geolocations ensure the most relevant routes are displayed.

  • Up to date station information - integration with the central rail industry data feed allows access to up-to-date ticket office opening hours, accessibility, and staffing levels without relying on direct content management.

  • Improved usability for delays – the search now only displays lines with current delays so users don’t have to wade through irrelevant data of lines running on time.

  • Live service information - each station page has up-to-the-minute information on current arrivals and departures.

  • Geolocation data - allows the site to display appropriate promotions and ticket offers, as well as departure stations when buying tickets online.

Hitch and Northern continue to develop new features for the site, with integrated user accounts and a directory of Northern activities due to launch in the coming months.

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