Avoid paying a penalty fare
To travel with EMR you need a valid train ticket for your entire journey before you board, otherwise you may have to pay a penalty fare.
As part of eliminating fare evasion, we need to have an effective penalty fare scheme in place. We may charge a penalty fare if you:
- Travel without a valid ticket
- Are unable to produce the appropriate Railcard
- Travel in First Class with a Standard Class ticket
- Are 16 or over travelling on a child rate ticket
- Travel beyond the destination of your ticket
How to buy train tickets
It’s your responsibility to leave yourself enough time to buy your ticket before boarding the train. You can buy a ticket:
How much is a Penalty Fare?
Penalty Fare charges in England have changed. Charges for travelling without a valid ticket are £100 plus the price of the full single fare applicable to your intended journey served by that train.
If paid before the end of the period of 21 days, beginning with the day following the day on which the Penalty Fare is issued, the Penalty Fare is reduced to £50 plus the price of the single fare applicable.
FAQ's for Penalty Fares
A Penalty Fare is an on-the-spot fare issued to anyone who does not have a valid ticket for their journey when they have had the opportunity to purchase one.
Penalty Fare charges changed in England on 23 January 2023. Charges for travelling without a valid ticket are £100 plus the price of the full single fare applicable to your intended journey served by that train.
You have 21 days starting the day after the date of issue to pay or appeal the notice via the address that is shown on your notice. A Penalty Fare is £100 plus the price of the full single fare applicable for your intended journey. However, if it is paid within 21 days, the Penalty Fare is reduced to £50 plus the price of the single fare applicable.
When issued with a Penalty Fare you have the option to pay immediately, or you have 21 days to make the full payment.
If you do not wish to pay immediately your name and address will be taken and a Penalty Fare will be issued to you so the payment can be made within 21 days starting the day after the date of issue.
You have 21 days starting the day after the date of issue to pay or appeal the notice via the address that is shown on your notice. If it is paid within 21 days, the Penalty Fare is reduced to £50 plus the price of the single fare applicable.
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.
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.
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, once in any 12-month period. To arrange this, contact our Customer Service Centre.
Where you have been issued with a Penalty Fare in this situation, you would need to follow the appeals process as detailed on the back of the notice issued to you on the day.
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.
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 .