30 Sep 2021

Python  Tools  Web  Javascript 

We’ve recently been travelling around a bit with our toddler (mostly to/from his nursery), and have occasionally run into the issue of a lift that isn’t working, which is a bit of an issue when you’ve got a buggy and a tired toddler that you’d really like to not have to navigate up some steps with. My partner prodded the internet wondering if there was any sites that provided such data, and some answers eventually came back.

There is Up Down London, but it doesn’t cover National Rail (and we live in the bit of South East London that doesn’t have Tubes, so that’s a problem), but there’s both the Tfl Unified API and the Network Rail Lifts & Escalators API (for which you really need the Open Rail Data unofficial docs), and between them we can get at least semi-reasonable data for lifts.

From those, I’ve built Paternoster, which is a tool for helping you determine when the train station you’re going to doesn’t have working lifts. It’s named after the continually moving lift type, as it helps you “keep moving with lifts”. I really should have gone straight to Django and React or similar for this one, but instead it’s Flask, jQuery and a pile of hacky semi-vanilla Javascript. You can either use it to search for stations (only from the list of ones that have at least one lift) and then if you want add some stations as “favourites” to come up every time.

I suspect there are various issues with the underlying data, but will be interested in seeing what people’s experiences with it are. If it turns out to be useful, I’ll redo it with something a little less hacky :) Source code is in the usual place.

Previously: On Infrastructure: Terraform Next: Awesome Rust projects for Hacktoberfest