Timetable World is run entirely by volunteers giving their time and expertise freely. In this section, we explain what the website aims to do and how we are organised.
The site has been in existence since 2009, and there is a history to read about.
Timetable World is not an incorporated body, but that is kept under review. It receives free use of infrastructure from a corporate sponsor based in Maidenhead, GB.
To contact Timetable World, please use our email address:
Timetable World is a digital-only archive. We rely on partnerships with recognised public archives and private collectors for the supply of material to scan.
As with all successful partnerships, working with Timetable World delivers benefits in return. We help charities with their public outreach objectives and offer archives a way to reduce physical handling of fragile materials. The scans provide a backup and we welcome institutions embedding our web services in their own websites.
We aim to scan non-destructively but no guarantees can be given. We prefer to scan offsite but, subject to changing Covid-19 restrictions, can bring the scanning equipment onsite.
Several contributors have undertaken their own scanning, for which we are grateful. Timetable World offers a way to publish material alongside others and gain access to our free web services.
The overall production process has been streamlined. The main aim has been to reduce the effort required to publish, even if that means the book is initially indexed to a minimal level. The “publish-first, index-later” approach means that volunteers can make a useful contribution. We have begun to gather a good team of volunteers with time, interest, and skills to help improve the collection.
We believe the grid layout is a better approach than publishing large PDFs, because it makes better use of limited bandwidth (particularly on mobile devices) and is easier to browse. Using web services means that the display is separated from the content and enables the same content to be used in many ways, not just via the default viewer that Timetable World offers.
There are some things that are not included:
The first version of Timetable World was released in late 2009.
Google Maps was launched three years earlier. Google’s “Summer of Coding” in 2006 gave hotshot student programmers an opportunity to pursue projects and it led to a huge leap forward in the open source mapping technologies available. The founder of Timetable World started experimenting with one, PanoJS, in 2007, and built some maps for his personal interest.
Timetable World came about in 2009 when seeking a project whilst between jobs. PanoJS seemed ideal. As a hobbyist software developer – no more – he had never built a website before. One limitation at the time was the cost of hosting websites; the hosting plan was good value, but it only offered 10Gb of storage. Timetables stopped being added when the space filled up.
Not much happened with the website after 2011. Some mapping integration was removed because it was incomplete, and work-in-progress scanning stalled. In 2017, the space problem was solved by moving the hosting to its current location, where space is cheap and effectively unlimited.
Mid-2020 is when a relaunch of Timetable World started to take shape. It turned out that the site was being heavily used and has a loyal user base. The site had worked reliably for 10 years and, after asking on various forums, no one had a bad thing to say about it – other than its limited range.
You are reading the new website. However, the legacy website is still available and probably will be retained in perpetuity.
The style of websites has changed markedly in 10 years. Mobile and touchscreen devices have become commonplace, and these encourage a swiping style of interaction – up-and-down to scroll through words, left-and-right to make choices. Menus are fiddly to use.
The site has been rewritten to reflect the new ways of interacting. The so-called responsive style means the site adapts to work on different screen sizes. A larger screen is still recommended but the site should work on all sizes.
Follow the Legacy menu to view the former site. The content is limited to the books that were originally published. It is instructive to see how things have changed.
Maybe you prefer the older style. That’s understandable, but it took too long to prepare material and Timetable World will not be going back to it.
Who has been using the site?
The evidence is that usage is heaviest in the UK, where the site is based and much of the material is from, but visitors from North America and Germany make up a significant share. One regular correspondent is (now was) a railroad man on Wyoming’s Powder River, whom the founder has met up with in London, GB, and Cheyenne, WY.
As one might expect, the most active users are railway modellers and gamers, and railway hobbyists in general. Significant coverage of bus operations has been added only with the new website.
Based on the emails received, local historians undertaking research are another important group, often interested in the timetables to weave a larger story. Book authors and researchers for media outlets use the site for fact-checking. One lady wanted help to find the train her parents had first met on, to help celebrate a Golden Wedding.
Quite a lot of the web traffic is from robots indexing the site for the various search engines. But Google Analytics tells us the numbers of real people visiting are healthy.
Timetable World is heavily dependent on voluntary contributions. You can be credited as you wish, or not at all. But please do make contact.
Anything else? Let’s hear from you.
Timetable World is keen to establish partnerships with archives, libraries, timetable publishers and the like. We would like to thank the following organisations for the assistance given so far.
|"The memory of the bus industry"|
|For permission to reproduce in-copyright timetables|
|European Rail Timetable Ltd.: Publishers of the former Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable|
|mapywig.org: A digital archive that has expanded to include scanned maps in the public domain from many sources.|
Timetable World would like to thank the following people for their contributions.
|Phil Deaves||For kindly making his database of geo-coded GB stations available to Timetable World|
|Dan Engstrom||For his wonderful collection of pre-War US and Canadian timetables|
|David Walker||For the loan of a complete set of British timetables for 1955|
|Colin Green||For scanning and indexing the (British Railways) Western Region 1965 timetable|
|Dave Hind||For the loan of various British Railways timetables between 1920 and 1966|
|Bob Westaway||For donating a complete set of British timetables from 1973|
|David Humphreys||For the loan of various US railroad booklets|
|Ben Brundell||For scanning and sharing a West Yorks PTE timetable|
|“Ivybridge”||For scanning many books from a European collection|
|Conrad Smith||Collector extraordinaire, for the loan of timetables, use of his own scans and assistance in proof-reading the website|
|John Trevelyan||For undertaking lots of indexing work, rail and bus|
|Colin Penfold||For indexing work and the loan of various timetables|
|Ingolf Aschenbrenner||For loan of Storm 1926 and for permission to republish material from his deutsche-kursbuch.de site|
|Filippo Ricci||For pointing us towards Fondazione FS's archive|
|Kurt Sicklemore [RCTS]||For supplying missing Network Rail electronic timetables|
|Thomas King Horne 1929-2009||A donation of All India 1961 by his family|
|Chris Sutton||For donating several Japanese timetables|
|Adrian Bond||For indexing Potteries Motor Traction Co.|
|David Smith||For indexing several bus timetables|
|Ken Holway||For indexing several bus timetables|
|Ken Downing||For indexing several railway timetables|
|David Gibbens||For indexing several bus and timetables|
|Andy Allen||For indexing bus timetables|
|“Rickmansworth”||For indexing bus timetables|