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Another surprise addition to the App Store and Google Play store today: an official National Rail Enquiries app to let you check train times on the go, just four years after the App Store first launched. Not too late by British transport standards, then.

The official, free ad-supported National Rail Enquiries app for iPhone and Android 2.2 and up finally patches a glaring hole in National Rail’s service, and we’re relieved to report it does it rather well (Before you ask: no, the popular UK Train Times app that’s been out for years on iPhone wasn’t official, it just used National Rail’s logo until February this year, when the Association of Train Operating Companies asked it to stop).

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From the app, you can check departure boards and plan journeys (even offline), set favourite routes, get disruption updates and even receive push alerts if something’s gone horribly wrong on your commute (You can set the parameters for this in the settings).

Those fond of a kip can also set an alarm to go off when you reach your stop, while route planning in the capital also takes into account Zone 1 Underground stations and the Docklands Light Railway.

We’ve given it a quick test on Android, and it’s a snappy, clearly designed app which does just about everything you’d need it to. The app’s design is consistent across both platforms (which does mean the back and search buttons on Android phones do nothing), and adverts are unobtrusive. Admittedly, this does make us wonder who’d choose to upgrade to remove them for the exorbitant price of £4.99, but hey, your loss.

Windows Phone and BlackBerry users, sadly, are left out in the cold with this one, but fret not: against all the odds, National Rail’s mobile site is actually rather good, and efficient, and free. Who’d have thought?

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