Trainline Customer Experience and Product Teardown

Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They were established in 1997 by the Virgin Group and within online sales beginning in 1999. They aim to make the experience as simple as possible for people to get the best prices and real time travel info on the go.


In 2015, the company rebranded itself from to Trainline and was acquired by Captain Train in 2016.

The application landscape

Trainline have a number of channels that have service. Each varies in degrees of functionality but each each customer experience is optimise for the device the customer is using. 

Getting the basics right


Trainline concentrate on make the ability of a person getting on a train as seamless as possible. They do this by ensures the core journey the person at the point of deciding which train to catch to catching the train is as easy as possible. 


A process of for a person catching a train is as follows:


  1. Decide the time you’d like to catch the train.

  2. Is it a single trip or a return?

  3. Buy the ticket

  4. Show the ticket to a conductor to board the train

  5. Board train


These steps are key to completing the task to board a train for any application and Trainline executes this perfectly on both Web and in the app,

Trainline journey to by a train ticket

National Rail app journey finder

Transition from .com to apps

The point of which Trainline rebranded from is a very significant in the change in people's behaviour. 10 years ago people would plan ahead before setting off on their journey. The same basic steps would be done before boarding the train but the person plan their journey on a desktop or laptop and buy their ticket at a kiosk of collect their ticket from a vending machine.

 During the past 10 years the time people have spent on their mobile devices have grown around the world and have only just surpassed Europe in the past year. 

Trainline have recognised this and removed the .com from their brand as mobile apps are just as frequently used as the website.

Trainline logo comparison

Trainline aren’t the only brand that have dropped .com from their brand. Here are some examples.

MoneySupermarket logo comparison

TravelSupermarket logo comparison

Made logo comparison

These changes have resulted in a significant reduction in friction from the basic steps. One of these improvements is the ability to buy tickets through the mobile app. This resulted in a reduction in queuing time at the ticket kiosk significantly reducing time before boarding the train.

The other major improvement was to scan the QR code for the train ticket. This results in the person buying a ticket and boarding a train without any possible intervention from a conductor.

Understanding Trainline customer ecosystem

The Trainline experience span a number of devices with varying degrees of features. Each have been optimised for each device.

Added enhancement 


The Trainline have continue to expand the features of their app by doing a number of enhancements:


  1. Tracking Train journeys - The Trainline app provides live updates on Train times and delays and notifies the user with clear call to actions.

  2. Business account - As well as logging into a personal account users can also log into a business account which make the ability to claim expense and manage tickets much easier and tickets are kept separated from the personal account

  3. Adding tickets your wallet - By adding the train ticket to your Apple Wallet means you don't have to open the Trainline app itself in order to reveal the train ticket. All you need is to load up your Apple or Google wallet 

  4. Receive notifications and updates on the train ticket you’ve bought.

  5. Live updates can appear on your Apple watch

In conclusion

Adidas haven't just said they take CX and digital seriously they are proving it. This is no annual report sweetner to appease their shareholders.


They want to make the customer experience personal. They have a mission, they've created the culture and strategy to push it and make it part of Adidas' DNA.

Some tips

  1.  Make a connection and make it personal - Find out what your customers are connected to and make that your mission

  2. Capture information from all interactions

  3. Play back what you know in a beneficial way

  4. Create digital stories and journeys that customers can go on and progress through

  5. Reward loyalty (from as small as logging in, it's not just about spending cash) and repay that loyalty in something unique and tangible

  6. Make the connection special – create clubs, rewards and benefits

  7. Surprise and delight them. Be bold. Be brave.

We are sure there is more to unearth and say but as a starting point all signs point to Adidas being one of the leaders in this space and the rest will do well to catch up.

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