Frequently Asked Questions

Ticket Types

You can buy tickets online from our home or Journey Planner pages.

If you're buying tickets from us online, or by phone, any restrictions will be made clear before you complete your purchase.

You can also click here to visit the National Rail Enquiries website, or call them 08457 484 950 for all tickets and fares information.

We accept all major credit and debit cards for payment. Unfortunately, we can't accept Electron cards or any type of pre-payment card.

Children can travel free of charge up to the age of 5. Children aged 5 to 15 need to buy a child ticket, which is usually 50% off the adult fare. At 16, a child will be charged the full adult fare unless they have a 16 - 25 Railcard. For more information about the 16 - 25 Railcard please visit the Railcards page.

You cannot reserve seats on Northern trains. You can reserve seats on many other train operators' services and, if available, we will automatically try to reserve a seat free of charge. If a seat cannot be reserved at the time of booking, it will be because of one of the following reasons:

  • the train operator does not offer seat reservations (usually shorter routes)
  • the train operator has not made seat reservations available
  • the seats that are reservable are fully booked.

You can claim Delay Repay if one of our trains is late or cancelled and as a result you get to your destination station more than 30 minutes later than scheduled. Compensation can be in the form of a cheque, National Rail vouchers which you can use to buy any rail ticket or free tickets across our network, to use when you choose.

You can find complete information and apply for compensation on our Delay Repay page.

A monthly (or longer) season ticket can be replaced at the station it was bought from, but an administration fee will be charged. Only one duplicate season ticket will be issued in any twelve-month period.

7-day season tickets can't be replaced.

It's best to check your tickets when you buy them. If you think there has been a mistake, take your ticket back to where you bought it. Some advance tickets have restrictions on exchanges and these will be explained to you when you buy them.

If you have a problem collecting your tickets from the Self-Service Ticket Vending Machine, please speak to the Ticket Office staff. If there isn't a ticket office at the station, or if the ticket office is closed, please contact Northern Rail Customer Relations on 0845 00 00 125.

Any increases in rail fares are set by the Government, which recently has been at RPI +1%. This increase is the equivalent of around 10-20p per single journey, and travelling with Northern is often cheaper and quicker than the car or the bus for similar journeys.

The Government uses revenue from rail fares to invest in improving stations, trains, and services on the railway. Their long-term approach is to reduce the amount of investment from taxpayers, and increase the share paid by rail passengers.

We understand that these are difficult financial times for our customers, which is why we will continue to work with the Government and the wider rail industry to drive down the cost of running the railway to provide better long-term value for money for passengers and taxpayers.

The breakdown below shows where every pound of income from fares goes:

  • 26p - Investment into the rail network
  • 25p - Industry staff costs
  • 22p - Maintaining track and trains
  • 11p - Leasing trains
  • 9p - Interest payments and other costs
  • 4p - Fuel for trains
  • 3p - Train company profits

Statistics from National Rail.


In the unlikely event that you purchase a ticket from a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) at a Northern station and then discover you could have bought a cheaper product for the identical journey, you may be entitled to a refund to the value of the difference in cost.

Please speak to staff in the ticket office at your nearest staffed station. Alternatively, contact our Customer Centre using this form or post your tickets to Freepost NORTHERN RAILWAY. 


To understand your ticket details and which train services your ticket is valid for, visit My Ticket and travel with confidence.