Case Study

Arriva UK Trains

Asset reference
£ 250 M

in ticket sales

1 M

monthly customers served



The train operator wanted a headless solution that it could take to market in support of its current and future business goals.


The company needed a platform that was performant, integrable, customizable, retail-ready, and fast to market.

Our Solution

 Drupal, Acquia Cloud Platform


The Grand Central Rail platform serves more than a million customers each month — and the platform has recently passed £1 billion in ticket sales.

The Client

Grand Central Rail from Arriva UK Trains is an open-access passenger train operator. This means it doesn't get any sort of help from the government, and its only loyalty is to its customers. The company has been connecting London Kings Cross, Yorkshire, and the North East since 2007, and its customers consistently rate it as one of the best train companies in the country — in spring 2020, it was ranked as the best in Britain for customer satisfaction as well as value for money.

The Situation

In addition to developing a solution that would cater to its current and future business goals, Arriva UK Trains envisioned a headless solution that it could take to market. 

The Challenge

In searching for a technology platform, Arriva UK Trains faced numerous challenges. The company wanted a system that was:

  • Performant: As a B2C solution, the platform needed to be stable and able to support high visitor traffic.
  • Integrable: Since the third-party environment in public transport is very diverse, with multiple integrations that feed into content the website provides (including journey planners, scheduling systems, planning systems, commerce and pricing systems, etc.), Arriva needed a solution that allowed for easy integrations, allowing it to manage the right content at the right time using multiple integrations.
  • Retail-ready: Arriva needed a retail-ready platform that could readily provide information or content to digital native customers. 
  • Extensible: Arriva required an extensible platform that could be built upon with minimal effort whenever train operating companies want new features such as digital asset management (DAM), a customer data platform (CDP), marketing automation, or omnichannel experiences.
  • Fast to market: Arriva’s new platform needed to help the company reduce its time to market, making its white-labeled platform more competitive
  • Customizable: The company wanted to allow its train operating companies to develop solutions featuring their own UX and UI with the headless solution. The custom-labeled platform could serve as the back end while the front end still featured each train operating company’s unique UI.

The Solution

Arriva Trains UK partnered with Nagarro, and Nagarro took the lead in developing a solution that could adjust to the transportation industry’s fast-changing and dynamic behavior. As Arriva wanted to become a tech company in addition to being a public transportation company, the teams focused on choosing the right partners and the right tools to develop a platform that could solve train operating companies’ most frustrating issues. And with Drupal, Arriva has the greatest advantage of a great foundation to build on to continue its digital transformation journey. 

The Results

Trading for over five years, the Grand Central Rail platform serves more than one million customers per month — and the platform has recently passed £250 million in ticket sales. Additionally, the apps developed on top of this headless solution hold the #1 rank amongst train company apps in the App Store and Google Play in the UK. 

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