Someone at Merseyrail HQ's splashed out on the new version of QuarkXpress, and the website's been redesigned. Out goes the yellow and in comes a new calming blue colour, combined with heavy use of the new font that's been appearing on posters for the last couple of months. At first glance it's a good, professional job, and certainly more attractive than the previous one.
It's all very web 2.0. Links have been replaced with buttons; the journey planner is friendlier, and incorporates Google Maps with little M pins; and, as is legally required for any new website these days, there's a Twitterfeed. I subscribed almost immediately, and it's been interesting watching it develop over the last month or so. At first, all that happened was Twitter said "there's a problem - go to the website to find out more". That developed into "Cancellations - see website" and has now finally reached "16:58 West Kirby train cancelled", which is what you want beamed to your mobile if you subscribe to the feed. (They need to weed out some of the spam subscribers more often though).
In addition, you can put in your regular journeys into the system, and the website will specifically target you and let you know of anything special that might affect you. In addition, if you sign up before the end of September, you can win the chance to ride in the cab of a train! Wooh-wooh! I've got my fingers crossed for that one.
So it's all very swish and pretty. But - you knew there was a but, didn't you? - there's a few flaws that need ironing out. For one thing, the list of events on the front page doesn't actually list where they're being held, never mind which station is most convenient for them (there is a pdf which shows the features close to the Merseyrail stations, something I'm very pleased about). Some of the stations have incorrect pictures (Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Park both have the same one!). These are teething problems, and will presumably be corrected soon. My favourite part is hidden in the site map: the Calamity Overlay. Whip crack away!