Problems using a Britrail pass on London Overground (denied travel)

classicmds

Member
Joined
20 Jun 2017
Messages
23
Should I be worried that this won't be accepted?
I think officially (i.e. based on what the Rail Delivery Group -- who are, i I believe, the ultimate authority on this -- have told me), they want to see a passport. The T&Cs also do state that a passport should be presented for the initial validation at a ticket office.

In practice, I think the response might vary and I expect many ticket officials would go with the spirit not the letter of the law. But I think you might find one or two (the consensus seems to be -- beware of manual ticket checks at London Euston!) who insist on the passport as that is what they have been told must be shown.

I think your hardest case to argue (should an official cause difficulty) is the initial validation check, as the terms and conditions do state a passport must be taken to a ticket office. I think it would be easier to argue that there is no specification that a passport be shown at any subsequent ticket check.

It is probably worth calling up the company that sold you the ticket to ask this question and get an answer in writing. Does anything in their sales material specify you need a passport to buy the ticket, or just foreign residency? If just residency (which seems to be what most vendors state), it seems a very legitimate question to ask them how to proceed without a passport.
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

U-Bahnfreund

Member
Joined
6 Feb 2015
Messages
222
Location
Hagen, Germany
I think officially (i.e. based on what the Rail Delivery Group -- who are, i I believe, the ultimate authority on this -- have told me), they want to see a passport. The T&Cs also do state that a passport should be presented for the initial validation at a ticket office.

In practice, I think the response might vary and I expect many ticket officials would go with the spirit not the letter of the law. But I think you might find one or two (the consensus seems to be -- beware of manual ticket checks at London Euston!) who insist on the passport as that is what they have been told must be shown.

I think your hardest case to argue (should an official cause difficulty) is the initial validation check, as the terms and conditions do state a passport must be taken to a ticket office. I think it would be easier to argue that there is no specification that a passport be shown at any subsequent ticket check.

It is probably worth calling up the company that sold you the ticket to ask this question and get an answer in writing. Does anything in their sales material specify you need a passport to buy the ticket, or just foreign residency? If just residency (which seems to be what most vendors state), it seems a very legitimate question to ask them how to proceed without a passport.
Thanks for your answer!

Regarding your last paragraph, I bought the ticket from ACP Rail and their Britrail Pass site (http://www.acprail.com/rail-passes/britrail/britrail-pass) only states ‘Eligibility: You can buy a BritRail Pass if you are not a UK resident.’ I only now found an additional information on what seems to be the official Britrail Pass website (http://www.britrail.com/britrail-passes/eligibility-conditions-of-use/): ‘To validate a rail pass, present it along with your passport to the Railway official at the station of departure.’ But it doesn’t specify what the term ‘passport’ includes.
 

classicmds

Member
Joined
20 Jun 2017
Messages
23
Thanks for your answer!

Regarding your last paragraph, I bought the ticket from ACP Rail and their Britrail Pass site (http://www.acprail.com/rail-passes/britrail/britrail-pass) only states ‘Eligibility: You can buy a BritRail Pass if you are not a UK resident.’ I only now found an additional information on what seems to be the official Britrail Pass website (http://www.britrail.com/britrail-passes/eligibility-conditions-of-use/): ‘To validate a rail pass, present it along with your passport to the Railway official at the station of departure.’ But it doesn’t specify what the term ‘passport’ includes.
Yes: it seems one of the issues is that the retailers all sell the pass without mentioning that you will actually need a passport. The pass is then delivered and the pass itself mentions taking your passport to the ticket office, without any acknowledgement that you may not have one and that this was never specified when the pass was purchased, nor is it any in way a condition of eligibility for purchasing. Of course, lots of people using will have a passport, but as your case proves, I am sure lots will not.

I'd email/call ACP (I bought from them and have had better luck calling than emailing -- they never reply to email) and ask.
 

Harpers Tate

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2013
Messages
1,307
I know a couple who
- are ethnic Cantonese
- live exclusively in Hong Kong
- we born there
- and have lived there all their lives; lives which pre-date the UK > China takeover.

These residents at the time (along with many others - possibly everyone who was there, I don't know) were permitted to apply for British Citizen passports, and did so. In all important respects, these peoples' passports are the same as mine. They are Britrish Citizens. Yet they are not, and never have been, UK residents. Perhaps RDG would care to comment on these peoples' eligibility (or otherwise) as visitors for BritRail, and if they are welcome, how would they go about proving eligibility. Because apprently their local identity card (sufficient for them to travel freely in and out of China) wouldn't be enough.
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,045
Location
Liskeard
Yes, I agree. It would make most sense for the vendor to check residency, and then for any checks in the UK to be about establishing identity (i.e. is the person named on the pass the one actually using it?) rather than residency (let alone nationality). .
IP address of where it's purchased, overseas credit/debit card to purchase and overseas delivery address should give some kind of verification albeit not conclusively.

When I tried watching my sky go and iplayer from wifi in Greece, they knew I wasn't in the uk, so I guess the britrail webpage can know as well?
 

jon0844

Veteran Member
Joined
1 Feb 2009
Messages
24,446
Location
UK
If RDG decides it's down to your passport, all those foreigners working here may as well get these passes. Some of them may even live in their home country for more than six months and genuinely be able to claim they're only visiting, even if they're living her for 3-6 months to work.
 

InFoTan

Member
Joined
9 Sep 2016
Messages
34
...what would a validating ticket office do if presented with a UK passport? Are they looking for a "foreign" passport, or just an official form of identity when stamping the pass?
I can say that I have presented a British passport for validation of a Britrail pass several times and had no problem (last time was September 2016). I would happily produce evidence that I live in Hong Kong but I have never been asked for it!

The ACPRail site does specify on their T&C page that you need your passport to validate the pass:

BritRail Passes are issued open dated and must be validated within six months from the date of issue and prior to the first day of use. To validate a rail pass, present it along with your passport to the Railway official at the station of departure. At this time, the first and the last day of validity of the pass as well as the passport number is entered and the passenger must sign the pass.​

And if you do a Google search for Cantonese ethnicity you get this: Cantonese people
 

maniacmartin

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 May 2012
Messages
5,159
Location
Croydon
I know a couple who
- are ethnic Cantonese
- live exclusively in Hong Kong
- we born there
- and have lived there all their lives; lives which pre-date the UK > China takeover [...]
Are you sure that their passports say British Citizen and not British Subject?
 

Mojo

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
7 Aug 2005
Messages
17,539
Location
0035
British National (Overseas) passports were issued to Hong Kong Residents and look exactly the same, except they don't have "EUROPEAN UNION" on the cover and a different code and status under Nationality.
 

jumble

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2011
Messages
310
The problem is it is not practical for railway staff to be expected to try and verify proof of residency when any such proof is likely to be in a language that they don't understand.
Or indeed producing some kind of proof of address that the RPI has absolutely no way of verifying if it is real or not.

It always amused me in the USA that petrol stations took particular notice of my UK driving license as proof of identity when I imagine they have no way of checking anything much.

I think that here is a case of the railway having to trust that people who have dual nationality and relatives abroad don't abuse the system.
Of course I suppose the RPI could call BTP who would be able to conduct a physical search and do computer checks that might reveal the truth.
HTH Jumble
 

jumble

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2011
Messages
310
IP address of where it's purchased, overseas credit/debit card to purchase and overseas delivery address should give some kind of verification albeit not conclusively.

When I tried watching my sky go and iplayer from wifi in Greece, they knew I wasn't in the uk, so I guess the britrail webpage can know as well?
However a VPN set to our company servers using remote gateway ( with directors permission) soon sorted out Netflix from USA so geographic IP address does not help verification
 
Last edited:

Harpers Tate

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2013
Messages
1,307
British National (Overseas) passports were issued to Hong Kong Residents and look exactly the same, except they don't have "EUROPEAN UNION" on the cover and a different code and status under Nationality.
It's not what my friends have. They are British Citizens. Their passports are indistinguishable from mine (except for the obvious differing personal data, photo, etc.) Possibly it was only certain people - maybe professionals or something - that were allowed to apply for "real" British passports; that I don't know. But I do know for certain what these friends have.
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,045
Location
Liskeard
However a VPN set to our company servers using remote gateway ( with directors permission) soon sorted out Netflix from USA so geographic IP address does not help verification
A that something an everyday person could do? I wouldn't have known until you posted this!
 

takno

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
1,760
A that something an everyday person could do? I wouldn't have known until you posted this!
Yes, it's fairly common, particularly for Netflix, iPlayer etc. There are services which make it fairly trivial to do, although I'm slightly myself since some of them are malware scams.
 

MotCO

Member
Joined
25 Aug 2014
Messages
958
My opinion is that providing a service where the cost depends on the customer's nationality risks being found to contravene the Equalities Act 2015.
Didn't something like this happen in Malta on their buses? Local residents could purchase cheap tickets, whereas visitors had to pay more. I think this had to be changed, and did at around the time Arriva handed back the contract.
 

lejog

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2015
Messages
1,321
A that something an everyday person could do? I wouldn't have known until you posted this!
Yes you can even just get browser plugins which you just choose the country you wish to appear to be in from a drop down list. I have to echo takno's warning, VPN providers incur significant server and bandwidth costs, and installing software from free or cheap suppliers is NOT advisable, it will almost certainly contain spyware or malware. There are plenty of reputable VPN suppliers though, at a fee.

But it appears that Britrail passes are now available as m-tickets, and I can certainly get past the geographic verification stage by accessing via a server in Ireland. I haven't had time to look at details, but I didn't see any requirement to authorise the m-ticket, it appears just to be turn up and go.
 

takno

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
1,760
Didn't something like this happen in Malta on their buses? Local residents could purchase cheap tickets, whereas visitors had to pay more. I think this had to be changed, and did at around the time Arriva handed back the contract.
A discount for local residents would be fine, but a discount for Maltese nationals would not be. I'm not sure what the situation was in Malta, although if they had to change it I suspect it was the latter.
 

InFoTan

Member
Joined
9 Sep 2016
Messages
34
It's not what my friends have. They are British Citizens. Their passports are indistinguishable from mine (except for the obvious differing personal data, photo, etc.) Possibly it was only certain people - maybe professionals or something - that were allowed to apply for "real" British passports; that I don't know. But I do know for certain what these friends have.
I fear that we are veering way off topic here, but that's correct - according to the Daily Express:

Before the handover, 50,000 selected Hong Kongers, mainly white-collar professionals and civil servants, were given British passports.​

They also issued a large number of BNO passports that don't give British citizenship.
 

welshpax

Member
Joined
26 Apr 2010
Messages
83
I am a resident of Dubai but with a British passport, I have used about a dozen Britrail passes over the past 3 years and not been asked for my passport once. apart from the initial validation.

I also have the easiest method of buying my passes, I call my travel agent in Dubai, give her my card number and it is delivered to my office within the hour!

No one has ever questioned me when I use a Britrail pass, no funny looks, no comments and no issue with validity on any operator, reading the posts here, I think I have been a bit lucky!

I dont carry my passport around with me, however, I do keep a colour copy of my residents visa and passport details page should it ever be required.
 

U-Bahnfreund

Member
Joined
6 Feb 2015
Messages
222
Location
Hagen, Germany
Hello, this thread gave me a few questions. My father and I will be travelling with a Britrail Pass in a few weeks and we both don't hold a passport, but only a German ID card (Personalausweis). The ID card contains a photo and also the address. Should I be worried that this won't be accepted? I don't think we'd be able to get real passports before we leave as it always takes ages to get them at the Bürgeramt.
If anyone is interested - we had our passes validated today at Manchester Airport station and the person in the ticket office didn't even ask for a passport or any kind of identification.
 

Top