East Midlands Railway Web Platform

Miles mascot
Graphic of user interface

The Brief

East Midlands Railway (EMR), is a train operating company operating rail services from London St Pancras to Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield. They needed a modern, accessible and user-friendly website for customers to plan journeys, be informed of disruption, buy tickets and check service status.  Key features from the brief included:

  • Journey planner tool with options for season tickets, railcards, and discounts
  • Rainbow board widget, providing live detailed information on service disruption
  • Careers section with a simple way for EMR staff to manage their own vacancies
  • Season ticket portal - allowing customers to log in and manage their season tickets
  • Multi-user managed site, with a range of customisable CMS roles

What We Did

We chose Drupal as the enterprise web platform for its extensibility and we had already developed a library of rail company specific modules for the platform. As an Open Source enterprise platform Drupal offered the most cost effective way to integrate with the long list of third-party systems. We also developed custom modules for EMR, providing real-time train information, timetables, a live network map and ticket booking information.

Our design approach used usage data from previous rail projects to deliver an intuitive information architecture for the site, including a simple primary navigation, as well as nested in-page secondary navigation. We used responsive design principles throughout to ensure the site was accessible and optimised for all devices, including mobile and tablet. 

Finally, we used a range of performance optimisation techniques to improve page speed and user experience. These included caching within Drupal and the Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN) and automated image optimisation.

The Result

The new EMR website was launched in 2018 and received positive feedback from both customers and stakeholders. Since launch, the website receives more than 100 million page views per year and has achieved > 99.99% uptime.  The site achieved  accessibility compliance against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard.  A process of continuous improvement ensures that we are always moving forward with new features and performance parameters.


  • Drupal 7
  • PHP
  • Javascript

Hosted in AWS with Cloudflare WAF/CDN

  • Aurora Serverless SQL DB
  • S3 Buckets
  • ElasticSearch
  • AWS Guard Duty, AWS Inspector, AWS Macie, AWS Config and other security tools
  • New Relic Agents for monitoring application and infrastructure performance and for alerting to baseline violations.