Travelling without a ticket
Avoid paying a penalty fare
You must buy a ticket before travelling with us. If you don’t, you may have to pay a penalty fare. The penalty fare is £20 or double the single fare to the next station stop – whichever is greater.
How to buy tickets
It’s your responsibility to leave yourself enough time to buy your ticket before boarding the train. You can buy a ticket:
Problems buying your ticket
If the ticket machines aren't working, or the ticket office is unmanned – you must approach a member of on-board staff as soon as possible to buy a ticket.
Buying Season tickets
If you’d like to buy a Season ticket and the ticket office is closed, you can buy a weekly Season ticket from a ticket machine. You must already have a photocard to do this.
If you’d like to buy a monthly or longer Season ticket, you should buy a single ticket for your destination, or a Permit to Travel, and then buy your Season ticket at a ticket office. We'll deduct the cost of your single ticket or Permit to Travel from the cost of your Season ticket.
Stations without a ticket office
Some smaller stations on our network don't have a ticket office. If you're travelling from one of these stations, you are able to buy tickets on the train. Check which stations aren't included in the penalty fare scheme on our route map.
Forgotten Season tickets or photocards
You must buy a full-price ticket to cover your journey before you board the train. You can apply for a refund on this ticket at any of our ticket offices or by contacting our Customer Service Centre.
If you’ve already boarded the train before you realise you’ve forgotten your Season ticket or photocard, speak to a member of on-board staff as soon as possible. They’ll sell you a full-price ticket – you can apply for a refund on this ticket. If you’re unable to pay, they'll issue you with an Unpaid Fares Notice, which you can appeal against when you’re able to show your Season ticket.
If you've bought a discounted ticket with a railcard, you must be able to show the railcard when you travel. If you can't show a valid railcard you'll need to buy a new full-price ticket, otherwise you may be liable to pay a penalty fare.
If you forget your railcard or can't show your digital railcard for any reason, we'll refund your additional ticket costs or cancel the Penalty Fare notice, once in any 12-month period. To arrange this, contact our Customer Service Centre.
If you have a digital railcard and your phone runs out of battery or gets lost, you can swap your railcard onto another mobile device.
Travelling beyond your destination
It is your responsibility to buy the tickets required to cover your entire journey before you travel. If you don’t, you may need to pay a penalty fare.
Find out more
For full details, including what to do if you're issued with a penalty fares notice, read our Penalty Fares Policy.