A TRAIN operator has announced five new routes - including one serving Chester - on which penalty fares are to be introduced.

Penalty fares are designed to discourage people from travelling on trains without first paying for their tickets and will be implemented on a number of new Northern routes from the end of June.

The penalties, which will be £20 fines or double the cost of a single fare (whichever is the greater), will be enforced at destination stations by Northern’s authorised collectors.

Penalty fares have been in place across the UK rail network for many years, and were introduced to Northern’s routes with a trial in West Yorkshire.

Northern says that trial was well received by customers.

Now Northern has announced new routes which are set to ‘go live’ on Sunday 30 June.

The routes to be introduced are:

• Navigation Road, Altrincham to Chester

• Lancaster to Windemere

• Barrow to Lancaster (Furness Line)

• Barrow to Carlisle (Cumbrian Coast)

• South Milford to Hull

Stations on penalty fare routes will have either ticket offices or ticket vending machines so customers will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before they travel.

In addition, tickets can be bought at any time before a customer boards a train by using the Northern website or mobile app, with no booking fees incurred.

If these facilities are not available at stations, or if offices are closed or machines out of order, customers will still be able to buy a ticket from the on-board conductor.

Where customers want to pay cash, but ticket machines are card only, they will be able to obtain ‘promise to pay’ notices from the machines which can be presented, along with cash to the conductor – the full range of fares will still be available on board.

Where customers feel a penalty fare has been applied wrongly there is an independent appeals process.