Great Western Railway gets on track with Rackspace

Train on platform

Great Western Railway has returned - and it's using Rackspace for its new app and website.

Previously known as First Great Western, the railway firm has renamed itself as heritage brand Great Western Railway to evoke the "romance" of rail travel.

Around 1.5 million people ride its trains each week, making a strong, scalable web presence and app key to helping it avoid angry customers, but the company's previous web infrastructure would stumble during busy times, particularly around Christmas.

The problems led Great Western Railway to replace its old systems with VMware Managed Virtualisation from Rackspace, using an ecommerce solution from ORM and ticketing software from Sitecore.

“We realise that for the majority of our customers their journey no longer starts in the ticket halls but online instead, so we need to have the right infrastructure in place so that they get the best possible start to their journey," said Jason Ali, digital marketing manager at Great Western Railway. "The support offered by Rackspace, ORM and Sitecore is very valuable for us, as it gives us peace of mind that we can deliver this."

He added: "Rackspace has provided access to an on-call lead engineer who’s become an expert, not only in servers, but Great Western Railway’s servers, right down to the finest details of the infrastructure."

The relaunch isn't only about having robust infrastructure - Great Western Railway also wanted to be able to personalise the experience of each and every visitor to its website.

For that, Sitecore's Experience Platform builds a separate web interface for each customer, tailoring website features - and even the images shown - to their distinct profile.