Whether you’re making a single journey or commute on a train in the UK, you’ll want to know if there are any problems, such as delays and cancellations.

Previously it was possible to get text messages, emails and Twitter alerts, but now you can get updates sent to you via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

To get notifications, you simply need to sign up for the alerts on the National Rail website.

Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Go to the National Rail website and enter the details of your journey. It can be one-way, return, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a direct train or if it involves changes along the route. Similarly, it can be a regular journey you make on weekdays, or a one-off trip.
  2. Click – or tap - the ‘Keep me updated’ button: green for WhatsApp and blue for Messenger. (If you don’t see the buttons, click on ‘view details’ for the particular train you intend to catch. They should appear on the page with the journey details.)
  3. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp
  4. If there’s a choice of train times, select the one you want to travel on as this will determine which service you receive updates for. Click Continue.

  5. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp
  6. On the next screen, there’s no need to do anything if it’s a one-off, single journey. But if you’ll make it regularly and it’s a return, use the toggles to enable these and select which days you want alerts and what time the return journey will be.

  7. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp
  8. Enter the phone number that you use for WhatsApp and click the ‘Keep me updated’ button.

  9. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp
  10. You should receive a message on your phone in WhatsApp asking if you want alerts, so tap 'Yes, that’s right'. If you don’t do this, you won’t get any further messages.

  11. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp
  12. Don’t bother tapping Menu as it doesn’t do anything, and tapping My Journeys takes you to the Zipabout website, which powers the alerts. You can set up more journeys there, or get alternative train times for the same journey.
  13. If there’s any disruption or delay to your planned journey, you’ll receive messages, and even if there are no problems, you’ll still get at least one message with details such as the platform, number of carriages and that the service is expected to leave on time.

  14. How to get National Rail train delay updates via WhatsApp

Note that you’ll have to go through this process each time you set up a new journey, including entering your phone number for WhatsApp each time.

If you want to use Messenger instead of WhatsApp, the only difference (apart from clicking the blue button) is that you’ll have to sign into your Facebook Messenger account instead of entering your phone number.

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