Google Maps is collaborating with thetrainline.com to allow travellers to search for train journeys across mainland Britain by incorporating information about more than 2,500 railway stations and 170,000 routes nationwide, as well as 8,000 bus stops and more than 250 tube stations.
When looking at the normal Google Maps page click "Get directions" and enter your origin and destination locations. Then click the train icon for public transport directions and easily viewable train routes on the map. Users can also use the desktop service on their mobiles, but so far there is no word on whether the Google Maps app on smartphones will include the new developments.
The Guardian tested the feature by checking the route from their offices in north London to Edinburgh. Google suggests it would take six hours and 52 minutes to drive to the destination, but the same journey by train would take four hours and 29 minutes using an East Coast train from King's Cross. They double-checked the information on thetrainline.com website and it produced the same train from King's Cross.
I checked a journey from Newcastle to Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland and when clicking the public transport icon was given a rather illogical train journey to Wylam and then the suggestion of driving or a taxi to my Heddon-on-the-Wall destination. The correct answer is to catch a 684/685 bus direct on a 23 minute journey via the old A69 to Heddon so the fact that the Google system isn't programmed to recognise bus routes will no doubt cause confusion to strangers to a particular area.
The next stage will be for Google maps to incorporate the bus details from Traveline - over to you Google!