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Northern Rail: No ticket machine - accused of fare evasion

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cuccir

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I don't want to pursue this matter without further information, but I feel compelled to correct an apparent confusion here:I think you have this muddled with the RoRA.
The 'strict liability' offence you refer to is the Byelaw 18 Offence of merely travelling without a ticket (with provisos).
The offence involving "passing an opportunity to pay" is the RoRA S.5 Offence which requires an 'intent to avoid payment' and where that 'intent' is evidenced by the 'passing an opportunity'.

OK - Mods delete this post and edit my previous if I'm misleading or going off topic - but I'd like to check and it may be relevant - but isn't one of the main caveats to Byelaw 18 that you can't be prosecuted for travelling without a ticket until you have had an opportunity to buy one? If so passing an opportunity to pay (without otherwise having a ticket) is both intent under the RoRA S.5 Offence and places you in strict liability according to Byelaw 18?
 
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LucyHelen

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RJ - the ticket office has, for almost all my life, been located by the exit. On leaving the train I saw the ticket machine but not the ticket office, and when that was not viable I approached the Northern representative. If it helps, he noted on the description of events that I tried to buy a ticket from the machine and that I thought he was selling tickets. I really cannot believe that they are pursuing this - surely he should have just pointed me in the direction of the ticket office when I told him I wanted to buy a ticket? It is not as though he apprehended me sneaking through the exit - I approached him!
 

ralphchadkirk

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OK - Mods delete this post and edit my previous if I'm misleading or going off topic - but I'd like to check and it may be relevant - but isn't one of the main caveats to Byelaw 18 that you can't be prosecuted for travelling without a ticket until you have had an opportunity to buy one? If so passing an opportunity to pay (without otherwise having a ticket) is both intent under the RoRA S.5 Offence and places you in strict liability occuring to Byelaw 18?

This is the wording:
(1) In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.
(2) A person shall hand over his ticket for inspection and verification of validity when asked to do so by an authorised person.
(3) No person shall be in breach of Byelaw 18(1) or 18(2) if:
(i) there were no facilities in working order for the issue or validation of any ticket at the time when, and the station where, he began his journey; or
(ii) there was a notice at the station where he began his journey permitting journeys to be started without a valid ticket; or
(iii) an authorised person gave him permission to travel without a valid ticket.
If you are on a train without a valid ticket you can be prosecuted unless you could not buy any* ticket where and when you began your journey, if a notice permitted you to travel, or a TOC employee or police constable authorised you to travel.

(* - Dave, the fact is says "any" ticket suggests that if they could not sell the ticket the passenger required, this would not be a defence?)
 

Ferret

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I don't believe I was interviewed under caution - would I have been told if that was the case? I certainly wasn't told I was being interviewed under caution...I was asked if I would have paid the fare if they had not been present and I said that I was trying to buy a ticket from him and, if there had been no chance to do so, I would in any case have paid on the return journey and it is almost exactly the same price.

To be interviewed under caution, you would have been read the 'you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so........' and probably asked if you understand the caution. So yes, I'd imagine you'd know about it!!!

As for your reply, I think that may be an issue. 'Almost the same price' is not paying the full fare owed for a start. I'm now leaning towards the idea of the negotiated settlement to be frank.

It may be worth asking a Solicitor who specialises in railway law to take a look at this for another opinion though. My advice though would be to act quickly if you intend to seek such advice.
 

LucyHelen

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My reply was only that I would have paid on the return journey if there was no opportunity to buy a ticket for the outward journey - what else could I have done? I was trying to buy a ticket!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The difference in price is 10 pence. And I said that I would have taken this option only if there was no opportunity at all to buy a return ticket from my destination
 

yorkie

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...The guard did not pass me on the train and I did not go and seek him/her out, I hardly think it is my responsibility to do so...
It's not. No-one has suggested otherwise, and I apologise that it could be misinterpreted that there was such a responsibility. (I am looking into the discussion earlier in the thread and see if we can improve the advice for future threads).

This matter is over what happened at Glossop station.
...I was asked if I would have paid the fare if they had not been present and I said that I was trying to buy a ticket from him and, if there had been no chance to do so, I would in any case have paid on the return journey and it is almost exactly the same price....
The hint here is that, on your return you would have asked for only a single. Is that correct?

If so, then Northern will be out of pocket by around 10p. Northern have prosecuted over 10p before, and the evidence suggests they will continue to do this. Therefore, that choice of words was unwise and could, in itself, be seen as evidence that you were intending to only buy a single on your return leg rather than ask for a return.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
My reply was only that I would have paid on the return journey if there was no opportunity to buy a ticket for the outward journey - what else could I have done? I was trying to buy a ticket!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The difference in price is 10 pence. And I said that I would have taken this option only if there was no opportunity at all to buy a return ticket from my destination
OK that makes a bit more sense. However I would have advised simply stating that you were looking for an opportunity to buy and if he hadn't been there, you'd have looked for the ticket office (by starting to look where you thought it was based on previous trips), and failing that on the return journey would have asked for the ticket to be issued from Broadbottom as a return to Glossop if at all possible.

(I have noted from previous visits to random Northern stations, how it is sometimes very easy not to spot a ticket office and it is not always obvious how many ticket machines are at a station, nor where they are located, and to what extent does a passenger have to explore the station in order to avoid being prosecuted. But, unfortunately, I am not sure what such a discussion will achieve in this thread, so I will post it as a new thread with some real examples at a later date.)
 
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Ferret

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It's the self-incrimination that scuppers many defences from what I've seen and heard. This does sound like an unfortunate set of circumstances that I suspect would not have come about if the ticket office had been open at the point of origin.

It is what it is though, and I really am concerned that the OP may have said far too much in repsonse to what is always the killer question.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Hi LucyHelen and welcome to the forum. This is a good place to come for sensible balanced advice, and I hope that you understand that when people come across as challenging, it is genuinely done with the intention of being helpful to new forum members' situations.

It might help if I express what happened in a different way, and then you might understand why Northern are taking what appears to be a harsh approach.

As previously posted, Northern have lots of stations without ticket buying facilities, so a lot of their customers have to pay either on the train or at the destination station.

Some customers, particularly those travelling just a stop or two, and particularly when travelling between two unmanned stations, might deliberately sit somewhere in the train where they know (perhaps from past experience) they are unlikely to meet the guard. Or they might even actively evade the guard, knowing that s/he will not be able to get to them before having to attend to other duties.

Such passengers might "think they have got away with it" upon arriving at their destination station, and walk straight past the (open) ticket office, despite knowing full well where it is.

They might then see an RPI (ticket inspector) at the exit of the station, and either:
(a) turn around to get a ticket at the ticket office; or
(b) buy a ticket from the ticket machine.

(Note that you could have bought a Glossop to Broadbottom return at Glossop, and handed in the return portion to the RPI, and been unlikely to have been challenged.)

Now, I appreciate that none of this applies to your circumstances. But it could equally well have done.

The fact you said to the RPI "I need to buy a ticket" honestly counts for nothing. Nobody was going to get past the RPI; you didn't have a ticket; so what else could you have said other than "I was trying it on and trying to evade payment".

Nor does your attempt to buy a ticket. Whilst you would probably have been allowed past if you had done so, as you didn't actually buy a ticket you didn't help matters by attempting to do so.

---

So, to sum it all up, Northern face a lot of fare evasion, and it wasn't as unreasonable as you think for them to think you would have walked out of the station if no RPI had been there.

Your admission that you would have bought a single ticket on the way back, is very damning in their eyes. The fact the single fare is only 10p less than a day return is academic - you have told them that you would willingly have paid 10p too little for your travel.

As I've pointed out, you could have bought the return fare "the wrong way around" and then they really wouldn't have any credible case in court, even though it is not strictly correct to do so. (In fact, using the return portion first is absolutely allowed; what is not strictly allowed is using the outbound portion second, but I doubt this is enforced in practice very often if at all).

Following other's suggestions, I think an honest response to Northern's letter, with an offer to pay any fare you haven't actually paid (presumably the 10p?) plus a gesture towards their inconvenience, would be a reasonable outcome for you.

Whilst it's easy to take the moral high ground, and to say that you weren't in the wrong, strictly you should not have reached the station exit without paying.

Sorry if that isn't the news you wanted to hear.
 

DaveNewcastle

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It may help the OP to decide their best way forward (and I'm mindful of the wish to minimise wasted time and stress) to consider that many passengers accused in this way suffer a lot of stress and months of protracted delay simply hoping to reach a settlement - a settlement which may be in the hundrends of pounds. Some will pay a solicitor many hundreds just to reach that point where the TOC is willing to settle for their hundreds.

In comparison I want you to realise that you are rather fortunate in that you've got there already! I know you don't feel as if you are lucky, but in comparison to many, you are! You've been offered the £80 settlement, so whatever was said in your Statement can't have been too incriminating (even if it could have been better).

Please don't pass up this opportunity to close the matter for ever.
I urge you to disregard the interest in the technicalities that have been shown and simply pay the £80 settlement and then forget it all.
 

SussexMan

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I'm not an expert in fares and I don't know the station but I really struggle to see what the OP has done wrong. I get the bit about "First Opportunity to Buy a Fare" type situation. My question is, did they not try to buy their fare at the first opportunity?

Departure Station: No option to buy ticket

On Train: No opportunity to buy ticket

Destination Station: OP says they got off the train and saw the ticket machine. They tried to buy the ticket they needed but it wasn't an option. So now there were two options (assuming we ignore the 'try not to pay' option). Option 1: Keeping walking round the station to find what other options there were to buy their ticket, or Option 2: Ask the member of staff they saw if they could buy a ticket.

Would it have been any different if the OP had said to the staff member "could you tell me where the ticket office is", or "is there anywhere I can buy a ticket", etc. Surely the actual question asked would not have changed the RPIs actions.

So what we are saying here is that the only way the OP could possibly have prevented this situation was to not ask a member of staff but wander round looking for a ticket office. Asking the member of staff seems to be where the OP has gone wrong. This is crazy.

Some people on this thread have suggested that the OP should have bought the ticket the "wrong way round" but then also admitted that this is not strictly correct. What sort of advice is that?
 

Fare-Cop

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Northern face a lot of fare evasion, and it wasn't as unreasonable as you think for them to think you would have walked out of the station if no RPI had been there.

Logic and dealing with these matters every day tells me that will be the whole reason that a report was made. The traveller had travelled without a ticket, had an 'implied contract with the rail company' allowing the journey to be made legally. There is no breach of Byelaw 18 as no ticket facilities were available.

It's a moot point as to whether the Corbyn judgement can be said to infer the traveller must seek out staff to pay, it does say a traveller who travels without a ticket and intends to pay only when asked to do so can be said to be intending not to pay, but that's not quite the same thing.

The point that the RPI would have considered is that, having travelled without paying, and having passed the booking office before reaching the station exit check, 'where would the fare have been paid if the RPI hadn't been there?' It is fair for the TOC to consider that the traveller would have left without paying. That is contrary to S.5 RoRA (1889) and in my opinion, any confident prosecutor should be able to prove the case.

Your admission that you would have bought a single ticket on the way back, is very damning in their eyes. The fact the single fare is only 10p less than a day return is academic - you have told them that you would willingly have paid 10p too little for your travel.

The fare that the traveller would have avoided is actually the whole single fare for the journey made without a ticket. In a 'fare evasion' sense the 10p reference is completely irrelevant as the day return fare (10p more than the single) is only applicable if it is paid voluntarily at the booking office or 'sin bin' before reaching the station exit.

As I've pointed out, you could have bought the return fare "the wrong way around" and then they really wouldn't have any credible case in court, even though it is not strictly correct to do so.

Yes, if the OP had gone to the booking office and declared the journey on arrival, the day return fare would have been the correct issue. No offence would have been committed

(In fact, using the return portion first is absolutely allowed; what is not strictly allowed is using the outbound portion second, but I doubt this is enforced in practice very often if at all).

As an aside, it might be interesting for some people to note that detection of the use of outward halves of two-part tickets on a different date to that printed on the ticket was the primary targeted activity when the job title 'Revenue Protection Inspector' came into being.

When British Rail Network SouthEast came into existence our job title (I was one then) had been TTI (Travelling Ticket Inspector), but the NSE business sector was primarily a commuter railway and the then two-part 'Standard Return' ticket had a validity of 3 months. Many millions of pounds were estimated lost to fare evasion annualy by travellers re-using outward halves time and again if they had not been 'nipped' and any 'old hands' reading this will remember the group photograph of all of us, who suddenly became Revenue Protection Inspectors, lined up in tiers on the steps at Waterloo.

A great many travellers were prosecuted for this offence and changes were made to ticket validities, the main one being the rule described by Mark.

Following other's suggestions, I think an honest response to Northern's letter, with an offer to pay any fare you haven't actually paid (presumably the 10p?) plus a gesture towards their inconvenience, would be a reasonable outcome for you.

No, the OP would need to offer the full single fare plus a contribution toward the reasonable costs incurred by the TOC, but I agree the OP could offer a lesser sum than Northern have demanded if they feel it appropriate. I guess that Northern feel their suggested settlement figure is reasonable.

Whilst it's easy to take the moral high ground, and to say that you weren't in the wrong, strictly you should not have reached the station exit without paying.

Sorry if that isn't the news you wanted to hear.

I couldn't agree more
 
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yorkie

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So what we are saying here is that the only way the OP could possibly have prevented this situation was to not ask a member of staff but wander round looking for a ticket office. Asking the member of staff seems to be where the OP has gone wrong. This is crazy.
Basically, yes. It is crazy. I'd love to see the Byelaws repealed, and RoR Section 5 much less anti-passenger. But sadly we do not live in an ideal world, and the rules are incredibly biased toward the TOCs. Therefore, we can only advise based on the unfortunate reality of the situation.
Some people on this thread have suggested that the OP should have bought the ticket the "wrong way round" but then also admitted that this is not strictly correct. What sort of advice is that?
It's not that the OP "should" have done this, but it is a "workaround", though a passenger should not be obliged to do this IMO.

Unless I have a good look around the station (I've been there, got off but not taken a look around the town so not gone to the ticket office) and see it described to me exactly where the OP got off the train, where the member of staff was stood, where the ticket office is, etc, it is very difficult to judge what the OP 'should' have done and whether or not their actions were in any way incriminating. But I do have a lot of sympathy for the OP as, unless you are familiar with a station, it is VERY easy to get 'caught out' by these Northern stations, but I'd rather explore this in a new thread when I've gathered some more information, than use this thread (unless someone who lives near Glossop can take photos and we can look at the specific situation at Glossop station).
 

Fare-Cop

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(unless someone who lives near Glossop can take photos and we can look at the specific situation at Glossop station).

If you go into National Rail Enquiries website, click on 'stations & on train' and select Glossop (GLO), then go to ‘Show (GLO) route’ the map of the station will be shown.

If you click on ‘show larger version’ and then ‘mouse’ across the station map a number of photographs of the station will be shown

These show the ticket office, barrier line and exit doors very clearly.

This procedure works for nearly all National Rail stations

(I have to say the system is very useful in making initial enquiries when complaining letters are received though further investigation will of course also be made in every case.)
 
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MarkyMarkD

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Some people on this thread have suggested that the OP should have bought the ticket the "wrong way round" but then also admitted that this is not strictly correct. What sort of advice is that?
I didn't say that the OP should have done this. I said (as Yorkie points out) that it was a workaround which would almost definitely have "done the job" and avoided this whole situation having escalated.

To continue with the "if the OP was actually an intentional fare dodger" theme, an actual fare dodger might have walked straight past the ticket office, seen the RPI, gone to "play with the machine" in the hope they could think of a better answer to the problem, then thought "oh well, I'm a pretty girl, I'll try it on with the RPI in the hope he'll just wave me through".

I wouldn't personally expect to be able to buy a ticket from a random member of rail staff at the exit of a station. Most rail station staff, outside a ticket office, don't sell tickets. So it is rather surprising (from Northern's perspective) that you didn't look harder for a ticket office when you failed to buy a ticket at the machine.
 

table38

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If it helps at all, the map here has some pictures if you hover over the icons

(Sorry - beaten to it by Fare-Cop in #43 - typing too slow!)
 

MarkyMarkD

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If you go into National Rail Enquiries website, click on 'stations & on train' and select Glossop (GLO), then go to ‘Show (GLO) route’ the map of the station will be shown.

If you click on ‘show larger version’ and then ‘mouse’ across the station map a number of photographs of the station will be shown

These show the ticket office, barrier line and exit doors very clearly.

This procedure works for nearly all National Rail stations
It's not the best set of pictures and (as earlier posted) seems to be out of date. The ticket office isn't where the OP says it is; the ticket machine isn't shown on the plan or the pictures.
 

ralphchadkirk

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I think this is getting somewhat silly now.

It was a mistake made by the OP in accidentally saying something that made a prosecution likely. It is vastly important to think before you speak when being questioned under caution to make sure that you don't incriminate yourself further.

I am slightly disappointed given the circumstances of this case that Northern have taken it as far as they have. However, theories about trying it on with RPIs are not helpful to the case here.

The OP has been given a "get out of jail for £80" card which I feel is the best option here. As they have offered you a settlement you may as well take it, as £80 is a lot better than being prosecuted.
 

Fare-Cop

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It's not the best set of pictures and (as earlier posted) seems to be out of date. The ticket office isn't where the OP says it is; the ticket machine isn't shown on the plan or the pictures.

You may well be right about the photos being out-of-date, but the one thing that becomes very clear is that it's an 'all in line' station.

One platform, access on/off through a straight booking hall/barrier line and into/out from the station to the street.

Sorry if it seems uncharitable, but I think it would hard to 'hide' the ticket office in a straight line set-up like that. I don't think they've altered the actual building substantially have they?.

I think Ralph says it all in post 47 really.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Ralph, I was just suggesting that the OP should try to see things from the TOC's point of view, rather than thinking they are being totally unreasonable.

For every genuine person who reaches this stage, there are many individuals who routeinely avoid paying fares and cost the TOCs (and indirectly, either taxpayers or other fare-paying customers) a lot of money.

As Fare-Cop says, it is not a very complicated station - it's hard to hide a ticket office when it's all in a straight line! Getting to the exit (unintentionally) without paying is quite an achievement, to be honest.

Paying what they ask is surely the best solution and chalking it up to experience.
 
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ralphchadkirk

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Ralph, I was just suggesting that the OP should try to see things from the TOC's point of view, rather than thinking they are being totally unreasonable.

Yes, and that is certainly what would be done by the Prosecution but the OP has been offered an £80 way of getting out of it, and that would be what I would be doing had I been in the OP's situation!
 

WatcherZero

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At Wallgate they manual gate and whip out the ticket machine as the crowds come up the steps since many stations on the line done have ticket machiens or offices. Does cause a bit of a backlog as the handheld machines slow, I remember one time on a match day he called out 'you in a group? right I will do you all together, how many?' '30!'
 

SussexMan

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I didn't say that the OP should have done this. I said (as Yorkie points out) that it was a workaround which would almost definitely have "done the job" and avoided this whole situation having escalated.

Apologies, you did say could not should. People still shouldn't have to buy the wrong ticket though.

Having now looked at the other pictures of the station that lyndhurst25 posted it is clear that the OP walked straight past the ticket office.

The ticket office is shown here.

Then if you look at this picture you can see (presumably taken from roughly where the RPI was) the ticket machine and before that (note the blue handrail) where the ticket office is which would have been on the left of the OP as they walked down to the ticket machine. Possibly they didn't see it especially as they were expecting it at the old location, it is set back from the main walkway and maybe they had their eyes fixed on the ticket machine. We have nothing to suggest the OP is making the story up so we need to believe them so it does seem an expensive mistake.
 

johnnychips

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No, I meant commissions on fines/penalties procured by their efforts. And I'm not being critical; it's out of interest.
 

Fare-Cop

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No, I meant commissions on fines/penalties procured by their efforts. And I'm not being critical; it's out of interest.

Ah, sorry, misunderstood, I have never experienced any staff being rewarded for prosecution results.

That would be unethical in my opinion and I believe that all TOCs hold the same view.
 

MikeWh

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OK, I'm going to stick my head above the parapet here and give my view on the OPs situation. First off, in view of the desire to sort this out quickly and without later consequences, I must say that the offer of £80 to settle out of court is one that almost seems too good to be true. I've not seen any other stories where out of court settlements have been reached for less than £100, so if speed/simplicity really is the driving factor then I'd grab that option with both hands.

However, I've studied the images on the NRE website and the ones on the Paul Bigland photo site and I can only feel a lot of sympathy for the OP. If she was a regular visitor to Glossop when the ticket office was next to the main entrance and this was her first visit since it moved then I think I'd have struggled in the same situation. The new ticket office seems to be set back from the main corridor a little and about half way along. In contrast, the ticket machine is in the main corridor and could quite easily be the first thing the OP saw. At this point she has already unwittingly walked past the new ticket office, and then sees a staff member next to the main entrance. It is quite absurd that asking that person about buying a ticket should result in the present situation.

At this point I must also say that I understand the railway point of view that fare evasion is a serious problem. However, every system should have safeguards because £80 is an awful lot more than £1.70 and could cause significant hardship to a lot of people in these days of austerity.

I have to repeat though that the £80 offer to make this go away completely is a good one. It's not fair (if the OP is telling the truth) but the problem will go away completely. If I was in this situation then I'd pay the settlement, then write to the customer relations department at Northern and explain how unfair I thought the whole episode was. I'd ask for the amount over £1.70 to be refunded. If that didn't work then I'd take my story to the local press or radio station, or even the Daily Mail.

I've also got a similar tale where a station has been remodeled and caused me confusion. As a boy I often went between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline accross the pedestrian crossing and up the ramp. I also have vivid memories of watching the royal wedding honeymoon departure from that point back in 1981. For various reasons I didn't visit Waterloo for many years after that time until my job took me to Woking in about 1995. The first time I went to Woking I ended up going via Clapham Junction, so it was only on the way back that I arrived at Waterloo mainline. Memories came flooding back and I went out of the concourse level entrance that I'd always used only to find that the ramp had gone! Puzzled, I went back into the main station and then saw the new escalators up to the pedestrian bridge. I'd actually walked past that on my way out of the station without realising that it was where I needed to go. Sometimes familiarity and autopilot can overcome numerous signs saying things have changed.
 

185

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I'm going to go the whole hog and stand on top of the parapet with this one. I'm of the view that if it's an unstaffed station at the start, and if the Piccadilly guard has not bothered go through, then Northern have no case here.

Annoying in a way, there are some departments of Northern Rail I utterly detest, but not their prosecutions. They tend to be spot on and are managed by someone I respect greatly, who even taught me how to check tickets some years ago. Unless there is some crucial fact the customer has not mentioned, I don't see how even asking her to pay a settlement could be considered acceptable; the passenger was still on the premesis.
 

ANorthernGuard

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As someone who works that line let me say a few things. Do we all go out after Broadbottom? of course not, its near the end of the line and you have stations with their horrible curve to sort out 1st also we can be usually seen catching a fare dodger from Hattersley <D. but back to a serious note. the Booking office is set BEFORE where the barriers are when G4s are doing blockades, you really can't miss it (unless you have really bad sight problems), you have to make a conscious decision to walk past it, now all G4s had to do was point them back to the ticket office. but as its G4s and only a minority have any clue what they are doing they have messed up (using common sense that is) and I certainly can't see our in house revenue team doing it. On a pure technical part though (as I stated earlier) the OP must have walked past the booking office and I believe that was the final nail (so to speak), its just my opinion but although very harsh Northern are in the right (IMHO).
 
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