Free travel taken away by Rail Delivery Group. Be very careful with your Staff Travel Cards.

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WesternLancer

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Then the Railway scores two free seats for the use of fare paying customers
But there aren't very many of them any more anyway....:rolleyes:, and the staff travel scheme budget will go down as the Treasury makes the industry shed jobs and wind down services before too long. So as you suggest probably not much of an issue.
 

philthetube

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Personally I find staff passes to be quite difficult to enforce sometimes. A while back I had a woman on my train with a spouse free travel TOC pass (and I knew her husband). However... she was with a bloke who had no ticket, and when I asked was told "oh he always travels free on my pass when we go out together". Clearly wrong, but that was a potential hornets nest that I didn't really want to get mixed up in. In the end, I try to make my decisions based on "if I had a passenger with a complimentary pass doing this, would I report it?".

Ultimately, free or discounted travel is a significant benefit and the user needs to take care to make sure they stay within the rules. They're pretty clear about what you need to do and the consequences if you don't. I suspect the distance and sums involved in the OPs incidents might have exacerbated the issue. I really get the impression this is being cracked down on lately.
I think the actions here are either to have a word with her husband, maybe opening a can of worms, or to ask your union rep to do it, maybe anonymously, the one thing you should never do is put your job on the line for someone's stupidity.
 

Ediswan

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Is there still a rule that says if no box has been filled in, it costs two ? I have never worked for the railways, but I do recall a guard saying "Sorry mate but ..." to somebody in a nearby seat (this would have been 1980s).
 

Haywain

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Is there still a rule that says if no box has been filled in, it costs two ? I have never worked for the railways, but I do recall a guard saying "Sorry mate but ..." to somebody in a nearby seat (this would have been 1980s).
Yep, an empty box is the same as an incorrectly completed one.
 

CrispyUK

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I'm a little confused at this point - why would it have been better to have been dishonest? Was the card not valid to Scotland either - so two offences?
I’m assuming the £552 in fines that has been charged included the unpaid fares for the journeys in question, so would’ve been less if a shorter local journey was declared for the date.
 

Merle Haggard

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May I point out that, although the travel is free, in some cases the TOCs receive revenue.
I had reached the salary level to be entitled to a 'status pass' quite a long time before privatisation, but I was working for a F.O.C. when that happened. As a result of this, and because there were then no reciprocal benefits, the F.O.C. had to pay the organisation that later became the R.D.G. for my pass (and presumably for boxes). When I retired, the cost of a pass for my retirement was considerable*. Presumably, this money was allocated to all the T.O.C.s on an O.R.C.A.T.S. type attribution.
And many railwaymen never travel by train for leisure - they've had enough of that on the day job.

* and taxable as a 'benefit in kind'.
 

CW2

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I'm a little confused at this point - why would it have been better to have been dishonest? Was the card not valid to Scotland either - so two offences?

The whole write dates things in concept for staff passes (and similarly for rangers/rovers/gold pass tickets/etc) has always seemed odd, as it doesn't allow for any (innocent) error to be made without out at least some form of penalty [as in this case], but also seems to allow for abuse. Additionally is allows confuses me that in this case guard 2, doesn't try and take the least harmful choice, just as a matter of courtesy - they (it seems from other posts) penalised (or corrected depending on viewpoint) the user by using another box.
The original free pass scheme required the pass holder to apply to their local admin office for free passes from specified location to specified location (and return), with the passes then valid for a month. For most staff there were 4 return free passes per annum. (I'm going from memory here, so forgive me if I'm a bit awry). When the "Date-your-own-box" system was introduced, the four returns per annum were converted to eight occasions of two days travel, and a further two boxes added specifically to cater for errors. Thus 4 returns became 8 boxes plus two extra = 10 boxes as the basic total. So if you are careful about dating your boxes you end up with two extra boxes to use per annum (10 instead of 8), but if you make a mistake and have to cross out a box then you are still within your original entitlement.
 

Merle Haggard

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The original free pass scheme required the pass holder to apply to their local admin office for free passes from specified location to specified location (and return), with the passes then valid for a month. For most staff there were 4 return free passes per annum. (I'm going from memory here, so forgive me if I'm a bit awry). When the "Date-your-own-box" system was introduced, the four returns per annum were converted to eight occasions of two days travel, and a further two boxes added specifically to cater for errors. Thus 4 returns became 8 boxes plus two extra = 10 boxes as the basic total. So if you are careful about dating your boxes you end up with two extra boxes to use per annum (10 instead of 8), but if you make a mistake and have to cross out a box then you are still within your original entitlement.


That's pretty much right, and applications for free tickets usually took about a week to be processed, so there was no possibility of spontaneous travel. Some staff offices also had the rule that the tickets could only be from the station nearest the applicants' homes. 'Boxes' were a lot better. Presumably introduced to save staff travel clerks' posts.
Just before my time, privs (i.e., quarter fare tickets) could only be obtained at a booking office with a voucher (plus payment, of course) which had to be obtained from the Admin Office.
 

306024

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Your recollection tallies with mine. The old blue card point to point tickets were a source of amusement for some. Apply for ‘Thurso to Continental Port‘ and you could be anywhere in the country along that rough line of route. Bowling to Bat and Ball was my favourite ;) Never heard of the rule about being near to the applicants’ home though.

When I joined the railway on my very first day I was advised in the strongest terms there were two things that would guarantee instant dismissal. Hitting someone, and abuse of privilege travel, with the emphasis put on the word privilege to emphasise how fortunate you were to receive such a benefit.

For what it is worth the only useful and obvious tip is to ensure your pen works properly before starting to write in the date on your staff travel card.
 

Gloster

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The original free pass scheme required the pass holder to apply to their local admin office for free passes from specified location to specified location (and return), with the passes then valid for a month. For most staff there were 4 return free passes per annum. (I'm going from memory here, so forgive me if I'm a bit awry). When the "Date-your-own-box" system was introduced, the four returns per annum were converted to eight occasions of two days travel, and a further two boxes added specifically to cater for errors. Thus 4 returns became 8 boxes plus two extra = 10 boxes as the basic total. So if you are careful about dating your boxes you end up with two extra boxes to use per annum (10 instead of 8), but if you make a mistake and have to cross out a box then you are still within your original entitlement.
My recollection is that it was four tickets a year after one year and then seven (or eight) after ten years service. I think that the original cards with boxes had either ten or sixteen boxes. I didn’t quite make the ten years, so I am not certain.

EDIT: Around 1983 I had only used three of my passes at the end of the year (the only time I didn’t use them all) and as a joke applied for Rodwell to Crowden (closed 1952 and 1957, respectively). I got it.
 
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6Gman

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Your recollection tallies with mine. The old blue card point to point tickets were a source of amusement for some. Apply for ‘Thurso to Continental Port‘ and you could be anywhere in the country along that rough line of route. Bowling to Bat and Ball was my favourite ;) Never heard of the rule about being near to the applicants’ home though.

When I joined the railway on my very first day I was advised in the strongest terms there were two things that would guarantee instant dismissal. Hitting someone, and abuse of privilege travel, with the emphasis put on the word privilege to emphasise how fortunate you were to receive such a benefit.

For what it is worth the only useful and obvious tip is to ensure your pen works properly before starting to write in the date on your staff travel card.
When we cottoned on to this we discovered the attractions of Keith Junction, East Bolden and Hamble!

But returning to the original subject the OP appears - at face value - to have been very harshly treated. My only experience of misuse was a colleague who decided that since he didn't have enough boxes to cover all his football team's away games he would cover the card with a plastic film and write the date on that rather than the card. He was found out, kept his job and had facilities withdrawn but only for 2-3 years (can't remember exactly).

It may be that, for whatever reason, the RDG is becoming more hardline. Purely anecdotal, but in the 12 months before Covid I think I had my PT card examined closely more times than in the previous 20 years. Generally a PT card simply prompts a nod and an "OK" but in 2019/20 it was suddenly not unusual for it to be taken and examined closely. Not a problem, doing their job, but has anyone else noticed a change?
 

bramling

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When we cottoned on to this we discovered the attractions of Keith Junction, East Bolden and Hamble!

But returning to the original subject the OP appears - at face value - to have been very harshly treated. My only experience of misuse was a colleague who decided that since he didn't have enough boxes to cover all his football team's away games he would cover the card with a plastic film and write the date on that rather than the card. He was found out, kept his job and had facilities withdrawn but only for 2-3 years (can't remember exactly).

It may be that, for whatever reason, the RDG is becoming more hardline. Purely anecdotal, but in the 12 months before Covid I think I had my PT card examined closely more times than in the previous 20 years. Generally a PT card simply prompts a nod and an "OK" but in 2019/20 it was suddenly not unusual for it to be taken and examined closely. Not a problem, doing their job, but has anyone else noticed a change?

Can’t say I have round here. I’ve only made a few local journeys of late, however there’s been a couple of occasions when I’ve turned up with the intention of buying a PRIV ticket and found the booking office closed at a time when supposed to be open. The gate line staff essentially said “I don’t know why you were bothering in the first place, your PRIV is more than good enough”.

I’m always a little underwhelmed with that to be honest, as it’s all very well until one encounters someone with a different attitude, then it becomes a case of who said what. I will take a free ride on a guarded train if it’s offered (I will never ask), but am much more reluctant in DOO territory.

I know someone who got into bother for a journey from somewhere on SWR (Bournemouth area I think) to Waterloo. No ticket issuing facilities at the station. Guard essentially refused to sell a PRIV ticket on the basis “you don’t need one”, but then got pulled in by revenue at the Waterloo gateline. He ended up having quite an argument about it, on the basis that he had attempted to correctly buy on the train, and therefore did not expect to have to faff around at Waterloo. They eventually let him go, but only after he made it clear he would expect the on-train CCTV to be viewed. Hardly worth the bother to save a few pounds.
 

AndrewE

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My recollection is that it was four tickets a year after one year and then seven (or eight) after ten years service. I think that the original cards with boxes had either ten or sixteen boxes. I didn’t quite make the ten years, so I am not certain.

EDIT: Around 1983 I had only used three of my passes at the end of the year (the only time I didn’t use them all) and as a joke applied for Rodwell to Crowden (closed 1952 and 1957, respectively). I got it.
It was 4 passes after 6 months and Continental concessions after a year. I joined on 25th June (by coincidence) so on Christmas day became eligible to apply for 4 passes to be used within the first 3 months of the next year, and the next summer I had free/cheap travel in Ireland in time for my A/L. On second thoughts, maybe my BR privs (after a month?) saved us money round Ireland immediately as I had a holiday pre-booked and we were able to do a tour of the Continent on free passes in my second summer.
It took careful planning (and research in the routing manual) to book successive return tickets to and from N and S coast destinations to give maximum flexibility or fit in with our planned journeys. Berwick was useful for travelling from the SW via Leeds or via Edinburgh, or perhaps we used Stirling or Perth to go to Berwick via E or WCMLs.

The other point to make is that our concessionary travel is (like a pension) actually deferred wages. People who think they aren't earnt are wrong, and it would be illegal for an employer (or RDG standing in for a former employer) to stop allowing it, just as it would be illegal (breach of contract) to stop paying a pension. Not being able to use them for a year now is very annoying... pensions are still being paid in full (if the employer hasn't bankrupted the scheme before going bust themselves!)
 

6Gman

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Can’t say I have round here. I’ve only made a few local journeys of late, however there’s been a couple of occasions when I’ve turned up with the intention of buying a PRIV ticket and found the booking office closed at a time when supposed to be open. The gate line staff essentially said “I don’t know why you were bothering in the first place, your PRIV is more than good enough”.

I’m always a little underwhelmed with that to be honest, as it’s all very well until one encounters someone with a different attitude, then it becomes a case of who said what. I will take a free ride on a guarded train if it’s offered (I will never ask), but am much more reluctant in DOO territory.

I know someone who got into bother for a journey from somewhere on SWR (Bournemouth area I think) to Waterloo. No ticket issuing facilities at the station. Guard essentially refused to sell a PRIV ticket on the basis “you don’t need one”, but then got pulled in by revenue at the Waterloo gateline. He ended up having quite an argument about it, on the basis that he had attempted to correctly buy on the train, and therefore did not expect to have to faff around at Waterloo. They eventually let him go, but only after he made it clear he would expect the on-train CCTV to be viewed. Hardly worth the bother to save a few pounds.
Reluctant to go off-topic but totally agree with that last paragraph. Same thing happened to me on an LM train into Liverpool. Guard simply refused to sell me a ticket! Just meant I was delayed having to queue for a ticket at Lime Street!

Incidentally to help this thread stay on topic I have started a thread in History & Nostalgia on "memories of PT travel".
 

philthetube

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It may be that, for whatever reason, the RDG is becoming more hardline. Purely anecdotal, but in the 12 months before Covid I think I had my PT card examined closely more times than in the previous 20 years. Generally a PT card simply prompts a nod and an "OK" but in 2019/20 it was suddenly not unusual for it to be taken and examined closely. Not a problem, doing their job, but has anyone else noticed a change?
Not sure about the last 12 months but I have noticed that where long distance tickets never used to be clipped/marked, they are almost always now,

I hate not being charged, would much rather not spend my journey thinking what if?
 

father_jack

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Snipped.........

I know someone who got into bother for a journey from somewhere on SWR (Bournemouth area I think) to Waterloo. No ticket issuing facilities at the station. Guard essentially refused to sell a PRIV ticket on the basis “you don’t need one”, but then got pulled in by revenue at the Waterloo gateline. He ended up having quite an argument about it, on the basis that he had attempted to correctly buy on the train, and therefore did not expect to have to faff around at Waterloo. They eventually let him go, but only after he made it clear he would expect the on-train CCTV to be viewed. Hardly worth the bother to save a few pounds.
Indeed that is a problem !!!

I've gotten on trains and you meet the guard and you have a valid priv ticket- "Why are you on my train with a ticket.." when you've helped them with a fare dodger or sorted a passenger in distress etc in the past. How are you supposed to get in and out the barrier at each end anyway. I suppose if you knew who the guard was going to be you could "doughnut" (buy a ticket to the nearest station to your origin and destination) to get in and out but regardless that's not a chance I'd be willing to take with my passes. I've even seen guards and revenue or guards and managers getting into disagreements about tickets on trains, particularly when the guard tells someone to "make room in standard by moving up to first class"............

Just pay the correct price and live with it is my way of doing things.
 

AndrewE

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That's pretty much right, and applications for free tickets usually took about a week to be processed, so there was no possibility of spontaneous travel. Some staff offices also had the rule that the tickets could only be from the station nearest the applicants' homes. 'Boxes' were a lot better. Presumably introduced to save staff travel clerks' posts.
Just before my time, privs (i.e., quarter fare tickets) could only be obtained at a booking office with a voucher (plus payment, of course) which had to be obtained from the Admin Office.
Completely wrong. It means that people living in Penzance or Inverness had travel concessions worth twice what Midlanders' were worth.

I had a (blue card ticket) free pass confiscated on the barrier at Crewe on the basis that it was "Penzance to Inverness and return" or something like that, and the person on the barrier claimed it had been used before so was fraudulent travel. It definitely had not been used before - for the part of the ticket I was on, and on every part of the journeys the ticket had been used correctly and in sequence...
The complaint/reprimand came up through BRB headquarters, across and all the way back down to me.

My boss called me in and put it to me: I said that the ticket was perfectly valid, had been used within the rules (I could produce a list of all the journeys I and my family had made on the succession of free passes) and that it was accepted custom and practice in the LMR ofice I had previously worked in. My (BRB-employed) boss went downstairs to the LMR staff office and talked to our (my ex-) staff clerk there. Whatever explanation Alan gave him, I was told I was exonerated, I never heard anything about it again and our (BRB) office clerk never queried any free pass application of mine - not that she had ever done so anyway.
 
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bramling

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Indeed that is a problem !!!

I've gotten on trains and you meet the guard and you have a valid priv ticket- "Why are you on my train with a ticket.." when you've helped them with a fare dodger or sorted a passenger in distress etc in the past. How are you supposed to get in and out the barrier at each end anyway. I suppose if you knew who the guard was going to be you could "doughnut" (buy a ticket to the nearest station to your origin and destination) to get in and out but regardless that's not a chance I'd be willing to take with my passes. I've even seen guards and revenue or guards and managers getting into disagreements about tickets on trains, particularly when the guard tells someone to "make room in standard by moving up to first class"............

Just pay the correct price and live with it is my way of doing things.

I got effectively told off by a guard on a Hull to Scarborough service a few years ago for buying a ticket. “Don’t worry about the revenue on the barrier line, they’re only there for the morning peak, and there’s a side gate if you look carefully”.

If they want to take the view “my train, don’t worry” that’s fine, but it can introduce problems where there’s barrier lines involved. You could presumably get into quite a bit of bother with some of the sneaky tactics which happen in Northern land, for example Blackburn.

Another more interesting one is Metrolink. I’ve had it on several occasions where their revenue board, and on seeing the PRIV in the wallet have been told something along the lines of “that would have been more than good enough”.

It’s a nice gesture at times, and can certainly leave a nice taste in the mouth, but sometimes it can be more hassle than it’s worth.
 

the sniper

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It may be that, for whatever reason, the RDG is becoming more hardline. Purely anecdotal, but in the 12 months before Covid I think I had my PT card examined closely more times than in the previous 20 years. Generally a PT card simply prompts a nod and an "OK" but in 2019/20 it was suddenly not unusual for it to be taken and examined closely. Not a problem, doing their job, but has anyone else noticed a change?

I think RDG are clapping down on Priv misuse, particularly going by the other thread on here, but I don't think that carries over to ticket checking on the ground. Personally, when I was doing tickets, I'd see the PT card and move on. As time goes by though less people are and/or are being trained by BR era staff. There is a feeling amongst some staff now, greatly varying admittedly, over the 'them and us' of the inferior entitlements staff get now. Even for me, it was a bit galling when (a few years ago) our 'Privilege' was being able to pay 25% of the FULL priced Open fare, while we'd be getting flashed boxes by students in their teens and early 20s out on the p*ss with all their free boxes of a weekend...

I can't understand anyone begrudging retired staff their boxes, but there are probably a few who do. Though with the enhanced inspections, that may just be because it wasn't unusual for some of those with boxes to feel entitled not to date them, particularly if only doing a short journey... If you're not a great fan of boxes for others, abuse of boxes is something you'll be looking out for.
 

Gloster

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I always used to do it properly as I took the attitude that, in addition to being risk averse and not wanting to chance it, I didn’t want to get somebody else into trouble. What would happen if the guard lets you off and then a TTI, as they were then, gets on? The only time I really had to talk myself out of trouble was coming up from Dover or Folkestone shortly after the cards with boxes for the dates were introduced. I had been in France for several days and had lost track of the date, so I left the box empty until the guard came around. Even though I had the PRIV card in full view on the shelf by the window, it took a fair few minutes before he was willing to accept me filling in the date in front of him, rather than him cancelling a box.
 

bramling

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I think RDG are clapping down on Priv misuse, particularly going by the other thread on here, but I don't think that carries over to ticket checking on the ground. Personally, when I was doing tickets, I'd see the PT card and move on. As time goes by though less people are and/or are being trained by BR era staff. There is a feeling amongst some staff now, greatly varying admittedly, over the 'them and us' of the inferior entitlements staff get now. Even for me, it was a bit galling when (a few years ago) our 'Privilege' was being able to pay 25% of the FULL priced Open fare, while we'd be getting flashed boxes by students in their teens and early 20s out on the p*ss with all their free boxes of a weekend...

I can't understand anyone begrudging retired staff their boxes, but there are probably a few who do. Though with the enhanced inspections, that may just be because it wasn't unusual for some of those with boxes to feel entitled not to date them, particularly if only doing a short journey... If you're not a great fan of boxes for others, abuse of boxes is something you'll be looking out for.

It does need to be borne in mind that whilst the safeguarded entitlements are good for those fortunate enough to have them, pay nowadays is a *lot* higher than in BR days, even taking into account inflation. Those retired staff may well have worked 40 years or more, so good luck to them having a day out on a box or whatever.

I can understand staff taking a harder line with dependents though.
 

RPI

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Our staff travel is a massive benefit and I dont understand why some will risk losing it/disciplinary action to try and avoid paying a priv fare that may be pence, I'm not strict on box filling etc but sometimes it gets to this time of year, new passes have been issued and people still trying it on for a free fide when they still have ten boxes left! I've always been a stickler for altered boxes/pencilled boxes though and any i come across get dealt with accordingly. The TOC that I work for doesn't operate any services from the station where I live so I always purchase a "Priv season" or residential pass, works out about a quid per day, not even worth arguing over.
 

Windandsea

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I'm a little confused at this point - why would it have been better to have been dishonest? Was the card not valid to Scotland either - so two offences?

The whole write dates things in concept for staff passes (and similarly for rangers/rovers/gold pass tickets/etc) has always seemed odd, as it doesn't allow for any (innocent) error to be made without out at least some form of penalty [as in this case], but also seems to allow for abuse. Additionally is allows confuses me that in this case guard 2, doesn't try and take the least harmful choice, just as a matter of courtesy - they (it seems from other posts) penalised (or corrected depending on viewpoint) the user by using another box.
She could have said the journeys were local ones and she would have paid £50 not well over £500.

We only have one side of the story here remember.
It is exactly what happened, there IS no other side dude. She was 100% honest even down to where she had travelled which cost her £500 extra.

Anyway the first guard should not have overwritten, because she paid the heaviest price for him doing it. I presume i cannot name and shame?
I met him almost a year later on York platform. I ''exchanged views'' with him.......
The second time was one digit altered in one box.
This may seem controversial, especially to younger drivers, but WTF happened to railway staff looking after each other? many a time i have got a guard out of potential trouble by doing something to cover his back, both freight and passenger work. So much for brothers and all the rest of it. Back-stabbing traitors in my book and i make NO apology for saying that.
 
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Watershed

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Another more interesting one is Metrolink. I’ve had it on several occasions where their revenue board, and on seeing the PRIV in the wallet have been told something along the lines of “that would have been more than good enough”.
It's slightly curious to see how this attitude has persisted more than 30 years after some of the Metrolink lines were "handed over". I don't believe there is any official reciprocal arrangement either, unlike between Northern and the Tyne and Wear Metro for example.
 

RPI

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She could have said the journeys were local ones and she would have paid £50 not well over £500.


It is exactly what happened, there IS no other side dude. She was 100% honest even down to where she had travelled which cost her £500 extra.

Anyway the first guard should not have overwritten, because she paid the heaviest price for him doing it. I presume i cannot name and shame?
I met him almost a year later on York platform. I ''exchanged views'' with him.......
The second time was one digit altered in one box.
This may seem controversial, especially to younger drivers, but WTF happened to railway staff looking after each other? many a time i have got a guard out of potential trouble by doing something to cover his back, both freight and passenger work. So much for brothers and all the rest of it. Back-stabbing traitors in my book and i make NO apology for saying that.
So there was a second box altered?
 
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