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Trainline and Cookies

The Role of Cookies

Trainline puts small files (called cookies) on your computer in order to track information about your browsing.

Cookies serve to:

Cookies aren’t used to identify your personality, your opinions, or your shoe size.

You will see a banner at the top of our home page before we collect a single cookie from your computer. We’d rather do without the banner, but it’s the law.

Cookies, The Whole Story

A cookie is a text document. Like a notebook, a registry, or a little diary, but for computers. Like a diary, you can write in it and read what’s already been written. Also like a diary, the information that you find there isn’t public, of course, it’s only shared between the person writing in it and you. The person writing in it is a bit like the perceptive concierge for a 5-Star Hotel on the French Riviera, super clean-cut with a suit and tie and shiny polished shoes.

With excellent manners and acute attention to detail, the concierge of a 5-Star Hotel knows all your habits and quirks. His entire job is to anticipate your desires. So he is always watching you very closely, studying you, and making conversation to better understand you. He listens to your confessions, hanging on to your every word, taking all your comments into account and nodding understandingly when you state your needs. Always discreet, he makes note of what he learns about you in his diary. He understands that you are a rather early bird, that you don’t like the heat, and that you prefer SmartWater to Dasani (he agrees, of course, the taste is way better). He knows that you love your steak medium-rare, that you prefer Gamay-based wines but will settle for a glass of Pinot Noir, and that you like fresh flowers in your room in the morning. Everything is scribbled and archived in his little book, so that everything is ready when you come back to the same hotel the following year.

When Trainline stores little files on your computer to collect information about your navigation, we’re playing the role of the 5-Star hotel concierge, but without the fancy costume.

The Law is Tough, and Cookies are Overdone

The law requires us to inform you about the role of cookies. We must also get your permission to use them. And finally, we must provide you with a way to refuse their use, because maybe you prefer biscuits.

How We Use Cookies

Allow us to introduce the third party cookies we use, since they require your approval. The following list might change in the months to come, depending on how third parties evolve.

Measurement of Site Usage (Google Analytics and SiteSpect)

After having long-trusted Piwik, we now utilise Google Analytics and SiteSpect to collect information about your use of the site.

We do these tests to ensure that the site meets your needs and to help us make improvements. For example, we expanded our registration page when we realised that our customers were asking about our business model before enrolling.

Google Analytics saves information about:

We do not collect personal information (like your name, address or the colour of your hair) in Google Analytics and SiteSpect. We don’t allow Google to use or share our analysis data with other data held by Google, either.

Google Analytics uses the following cookies:

Universal Analytics

Name Expiration Role
_ga 2 years Used to count how many people visit trainline.eu in order to recognize users who have already visited the site
_gat 10 minutes Used to monitor the frequency with which web page requests are made

You can refuse Google Analytics cookies.

SiteSpect uses the following cookies:

Name Expiration Role
SSID_SME 12 months Used to track a user over time as they are assigned to experiments.
SSSC_SME Upon closure of the browser Used to send the user’s experiment assignment information to the backend webserver.
SSRT_SME 12 months Stores the data and time of the user’s last request to determine if the user’s visit has timed out.

Connecting Through a Third Party (Facebook and Google)

We use Facebook Login and Google+ Sign-in to permit you access to your Trainline account when using your Facebook or Google+ accounts.

On their side, Google and Facebook use authentication cookies to save your password information (encrypted) and to determine when your last connection was.


We don’t control what Facebook has written in their own cookies. Like Coca-Cola, their recipes are kept secret.

Nom Expiration Rôle
c_user Upon closure of the browser Facebook uses it for identification by noting your user number there
csm Upon closure of the browser Used for identification in addition to c_user; allows storing some cookies on your computer if your connection is secure
datr 2 years Created when a browser accesses Facebook for the first time and is then used to detect any behaviour of a shady connection
fr 2 years Used to record information about your browser and Facebook activity
lu 2 years In short, like data, this cookie is created when a browser accesses Facebook for the first time and is used specifically to pre-fill your email address in the Facebook login form
xs Upon closure of the  browser Used to protect against the possible use of your Facebook account by an evil pirate
s Upon closure of the browser This cookie is used in the same way as ‘xs’, but its size is a bit larger

You can learn a lot more about the privacy policies of Facebook.


We hope that you like uppercase letters because that’s what Google uses to name its cookies.

Nom Expiration Rôle
ACCOUNT_CHOSER 2 years permits you to select the Google account you want to connect through on Trainline—no, your teenage Hotmail address will not fly
GALX Upon closure of the browser permits Google to authenticate you when you click the red button to connect on our site
GAPS 2 years like GALX, except it just keeps going, kind of like the Energizer Bunny

Online Advertising (Google and Microsoft)

When you conduct a search on Google or Bing (Microsoft), certain results are actually advertisements. So that you’ll click on those advertisements, Google and Microsoft want to show you ads that are relevant to your interests. For this, they use their own cookies, which serve to retain your browsing preferences to better target you as a consumer.


Nom Expiration Rôle
NID 6 months contains your Google preferences, such as your language settings, your latest searches, and is primarily used for Adwords

You can deactivate Google targeting.


Just like Google, Microsoft uses cookies to better target you on its search engine (Bing) and websites (MSN).

Nom Expiration Rôle
MUID 2 years to track your Bing search, your location and your interactions with Microsoft services in order to optimise ad campaigns for those who advertise on Bing and MSN
MR 6 months Same objective as MUID but more temporary

You can deactivate Microsoft targeting.

Improve Trainline

We use only one single cookie on our site. It’s homemade and only serves our employees. It therefore doesn’t require your consent by law. We’re showing it to you anyway, because sharing recipes never closed restaurants.

Nom Expiration Rôle
ct_session 1 year Like the ‘P’ in Pterodactyl, this cookie is useless unless you work at Trainline, where it is used for identification

In Case You’re Allergic to Cookies

If you don’t want your computer to receive cookies, you can hire it as a beefed up bouncer that will notify you when a website tries to put cookies on your computer.

Each browser handles filtering cookies in its own way:

An alternative to changing the browser settings is to install an extension directly in the browser, which will enable you to block the majority of third party cookies. The best known of these extensions is called Ghostery. Privacy Badger also works well.

The Recipe for Trainline Cookies

captain_cookies_logoCaptain Cookies is a traditional French pastry shop, founded in Paris in 2009 by three apprentices who came to the capital to study kitchen arts under the expertise of pastry chef Jean-Michel Marlentin, awarded the Golden Rolling Pin in 1986 for his chocolate éclairs—which are unimaginably delicious.

At Trainline, members of our team eat Captain Cookies every day in order to improve trainline.eu. With Trainline cookies, they get a rich and fulfilling diet which provides them with all the nutrients necessary for their vitality.

We present to you our favourite recipe for Captain Cookies.

Serves 4 people:

Before preparing:

1. preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C

2. break the white chocolate bar into small pieces with a knife and chill—the chocolate, not the knife.

3. sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together, add the melted butter and mix it into dough.

4. add the brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, coconut, and pieces of white chocolate, stir well, never shake.

5. use the palms of your little hands to form the dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet.

6. give the balls of dough plenty of room to prevent them from sticking to each other like those people who come to sit next to you on the subway car even though the whole thing is empty, completely empty.

7. bake for 12-15 minutes and monitor them closely to prevent burning.

It is not necessary to request the consent of your guests before serving them cookies, so make haste and gobble them up!

As an unrelated side note, if you like to eat cookies, enjoy traveling by train, and even better, eat cookies while traveling on trains, we want to hear from you.