34

The man from seat 61 is an amazing website. It's even hard to think someone compiled all that information with details that go well beyond the schedules. Which makes me wonder how it keeps updated.

I was planning a trip and found a few comments about possible bus connections due to work on the line. These comments seem to be at least 1 year old. This makes me wonder that these may actually be finished. Which would be fine. But worse, other work may have started or connections interrupted and that is not documented yet since this seems to be all manually curated.

How up to date is the website?

  • 1
    I've found it to be pretty good. You can check the news section to see when he's been making updates – Gagravarr Jun 22 '15 at 23:39
  • 2
    From the looks of it it seems he gets his updates from reader submissions as well as his own travels. They may be out of date if no one's been to a particular area for example – blackbird Jun 23 '15 at 0:38
  • 3
    For what it's worth, I've used it successfully in China, India, and Vietnam. But I try to double-check things with another site when possible. – JW. Jun 23 '15 at 6:03
  • 2
    If you have questions about a specific route or connection, why don't you ask them directly here, instead of casting doubt over an entire website? – Maître Peseur Jun 23 '15 at 21:28
  • 1
    @nsn: You specifically refer to 'planning a trip' and 'comments about bus connections'. Therefore, you're wondering about connections in specific countries. Most likely, that's what André Peseur is referring to. – MastaBaba Jun 24 '15 at 13:50
62

How reliable am I? Depends how much vin rouge I've had...

Seriously, I do my best to keep the site updated, it's an uphill task but if I know bustitution is over I update the site.

Countries with lots of visitors eg Italy, Vietnam, South Africa tend to be very up to date, obscure countries such as the Congo or Sudan tend (in all honesty) to get less proactive attention and fewer reports from travellers but still get updated the moment I see a news item or Google alert or traveller's report.

  • 22
    Welcome to Travel Stack Exchange Mark. I love your site, use it often and recommend it whenever suitable. – Willeke Jun 23 '15 at 19:11
  • 7
    Now that you have a travel se profile you must start participating in the community. Welcome! – JoErNanO Jun 23 '15 at 22:04
  • A celebrity in these circles! – MastaBaba Jun 24 '15 at 13:48
  • Thanks for your effort, Mark! I used your site to travel whole two months and I often ended up helping others with wisdom taken from your site. – Ayesh K Jun 25 '15 at 19:55
  • 1
    I actually checked if you had a profile before I did my answer as I was going to ping you if you did. Thanks for joining to post your answer and thanks for all the effort that goes into the site -- it's an invaluable resource for many travelers and I too recommend it regularly. – SpaceDog Jun 29 '15 at 10:00
30

I'm my experience it's pretty good, obviously it's not perfect but each page has an 'last updated' link, i.e. here's the Philippines page:

Page last updated: 30 May 2015

with the note

After hurricane damage, these trains were temporarily suspended in late 2012 and are still believed to be suspended as at 2015. It's not clear when or if train service will be reinstated. Please see www.pnr.gov.ph or https://www.facebook.com/pnrailways?ref=bf

Update May 2015: It's reported that PNR hope to get the Bicol Express back up & running by Christmas 2015. Funding has been secured to extend the route all the way to the southern end of the island in due course.

That seems pretty much the case, trains are still suspended. I can't find a source for the Christmas 2015 date but it sounds like the sort of thing PNR would say (not that it will happen).

Given that the Philippines has so little train service I'm impressed he even bothers with a page, let alone keeping it up-to-date.

As Blackbird57 say in the comments, many updates rely on people e-mailing in corrections and updates, so it's a bit like a 'curated' wikipedia. I.e. I'm sure that Philippines update came from a local here, possibly from a non-English news article which is why I can't find it in search.

But a lot of the core schedules and disruptions (particularly Europe) are updated directly from the main schedules published everything six months or so.

Of course, if there's something you want to double check then

Is there still work on the train line in X as of June 2015, if so when will it stop?

would seem completely on topic for this site ...

25

Mark, the guy who runs it, is a retired ex-railwayman, and is treated by the industry (at least in Europe) as a journalist. He has exceptionally good industry contacts on top of receiving press briefings, as well as a very large number of readers who travel widely and report in, and travels a lot himself (both at company expense, and using his "privs" discount as an ex-railwayman).

Anywhere in Europe, his information is usually more up-to-date and accurate than the official website of the rail company involved. Outside of Europe, it's more variable (he certainly doesn't have the depth of coverage for e.g. China, comparable to "how to avoid the long walk from the Metro at Paris Montparnasse"), but it is regularly updated, and where it is dubious, it will usually say what the sources are and that he's unsure. Take a look at the section about the Zahedan-Quetta train to see how clear he is about uncertainty.

  • 1
    I think the level of detail is inversely proportional with the distance from London. – gerrit Jun 23 '15 at 9:36
  • 1
    Availability of data is also a factor - much better information on Australia than on, say, Turkmenistan. – Richard Gadsden Jun 23 '15 at 15:34
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    Distance is geographic and cultural ;-) – gerrit Jun 23 '15 at 15:49
-2

This answer is a little late, but never mind.

Just by looking at the design of the site I would certainly trust it. It's well laid out, not cluttered with ads, and has plenty of information. Also, my browser didn't complain about any security issues.

It has all the signs of a trustworthy site. Good job, @MarkSmith!

  • 3
    I'm unsure as to how this answers the question of reliability in terms of up to date information. – JoErNanO Jun 25 '15 at 20:33
  • 1
    Good design doesn't necessarily mean the information is trustworthy – blackbird Jul 3 '15 at 23:53

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