trainline logo newTrain passengers in Great Britain can ride the rails to a range of great, historic destinations, including London, Manchester, and Edinburgh. But the majority of travelers begin their journeys in the same place: Trainline.

This online booking platform is Britain’s largest, selling up to 70% of all advance train tickets in England. Its consumer website and mobile apps received an average of 20 million monthly visits in 2014, and by January 2015 those mobile apps had notched close to 7.5 million downloads.

That’s a lot of travelers, a lot of trains, and a lot of tickets.

Need for visibility

With user numbers growing all the time, Trainline wanted to accelerate the feedback cycle in the site’s release strategy. “We needed to ship much more frequently,” says Development Manager Darren Parsons, whose team was tasked with re-engineering the company’s frontend. “In order to do that, we needed to start doing continuous delivery.”

Before that could happen, Darren and his team needed to achieve full visibility into the performance of their Web and mobile apps. With the success of the business dependent on keeping customers happy, they needed to know exactly what impact each new deployment was making on the user experience. In short, they decided they needed New Relic.

“I’m slightly obsessed with New Relic Insights. Every morning, the first thing I do is pick up my phone and check each site’s overnight performance and review where we are in real-time that morning. Slightly embarrassingly, it’s also the last thing I do at night.”

—Mark Holt, CTO, Trainline

Powerful Insights

Keen to avoid capital expenditure costs, Trainline was impressed by New Relic’s monthly operational payment system. And the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model meant the company could implement the platform quickly and easily. “We did a very quick installation,” says Darren, “and within two to three hours we were already seeing meaningful numbers coming back to us.”

mark holt

Mark Holt, CTO of Trainline

The depth and breadth of those numbers impressed Trainline CTO Mark Holt. Before long, the company was using New Relic for everything from application, server, browser, and mobile monitoring to real-time business analysis.

“The APM product is really great for drilling down deeply into performance problems,” says Mark. “And I love the data we get out of the Mobile and Insights products.”

That real-time data provides powerful insights into real user experiences, helping to enable the company to respond quickly and effectively to any problems that arise.

More data, less hassle

Within two months of adopting New Relic, Trainline had reduced the number of error pages seen by users by an incredible 95%. That kind of improvement has a positive impact at every level—engineer, customer, and business.

“Our business mission is to save customers time, money, and hassle while booking train tickets,” says Mark. “New Relic plays perfectly into that mission.”

So while Trainline can’t guarantee that your train will depart on time, or that the weather will be fine when you reach your destination, it can (with a little help from New Relic) make the process of buying tickets online as easy as possible.

Watch the Trainline customer video below:


Be sure to read the full Trainline customer case study.


Speeding train image courtesy of

B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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