Northern, the UK’s largest train operator outside of London, was, just for once, encouraging its customers to break the rules at Newcastle’s Central Station today.

The train operator launched an interactive roadshow at the station to promote the number of ways its customers can purchase tickets; highlighting the convenience, speed and ease of buying a ticket via its website or app before they’ve even reached the station.

One benefit customers can enjoy when making an online or app-based purchase is jumping the queues at ticket offices and ticket vending machines at stations.

Game savvy customers were invited to play a brand new online game ‘Queue Jumper’, developed especially for the train operator, for the chance to win £250 in rail vouchers. The game, which involves a journey through a station and collecting as many tickets as possible, encourages players to share the buy before you board message with others by posting high scores on social media.

Many rail users don’t realise it’s a legal requirement to purchase a ticket before boarding the train if they have passed a facility to do so at their departing station, such as a ticket office or ticket vending machine.

Richard Allan, Customer and People Experience Director for Northern, comments: “We thought the game would be a fun way to raise awareness of the law around buying a ticket before boarding a train, but also promoting the benefits of doing so. Northern now offers more ways than ever for customers to purchase their tickets and with just a little bit of planning customers can save both time and money by buying in advance.”

Northern customers can save an average of 60% with an Advance Purchase ticket, which can be bought in the station, online or through the app before the date of travel.

The roadshow moves on to Leeds station on Wednesday 2 November, Manchester Victoria station on Friday 4 November, and Liverpool Lime Street station on Monday 7 November.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the TVM is broken?

Northern’s on board teams are authorised to offer a discounted ticket if you have boarded at a station where the TVM is broken.

What happens if the ticket office is shut?

Our conductors have access to systems that confirm if a specific ticket office is shut. They are authorised to offer a discounted ticket if you have boarded at a station where the ticket office is not open.

What happens if the TVM doesn’t offer the ticket I want?

Our TVMs offer a full complement of tickets that are valid for immediate travel on that particular day. Please be aware not all tickets are available from TVMs for all services, for example, advance purchase tickets.

The best way to make sure you get the ticket you want, and the best value, is to buy in advance from our website, our app or at a ticket office.

What happens if the TVM is card only and I only have cash?

Our conductors know which TVMs are card only and if you have boarded at a station where this is the case, and you have only cash, they can offer you a discounted ticket.

What happens if I’m delayed on my way to the station and don’t have time to buy a ticket?

If you were anticipating buying a ticket at the station on your day of travel you would only have been sold a full fare ticket. You will be required to purchase a full fare ticket on board the train.

The best way to make sure you get the best value is to buy in advance from our website, our app or in station

What happens if the queue is too long for the ticket office / TVM and I will miss my train?

You should always leave yourself enough time to purchase your ticket allowing for a potential queue at busy times. It is unreasonable for you to queue longer than five minutes in peak time and three minutes in off peak time. Where this is the case our conductors will apply discretion and sell the full range of tickets on board. We regularly review and monitor queuing times at our stations and aim to provide additional resource where required. It remains a legal requirement to purchase your ticket where ticket buying facilities are provided but we are committed to delivering excellent customer service and are able to apply discretion where a queue is excessive. 

The best way to make sure you get the best value is to buy in advance from our website, our app or at a station.