THE Westmorland Gazette (June 13, 'Don't travel without a ticket') carried the news that from June 30 Northern will introduce a Penalty Fare regime on the Lakes Line (and Furness Line). This means every passenger must buy a ticket before boarding a train or risk a penalty fare of at least £20.

It may seem harsh but it’s been national policy for some years to ‘buy before you board’.

Now all the Lakes Line stations have ticket machines passengers can actually buy a ticket before getting on the train. The ticket machines are card-only, so the Lakes Line Rail User Group (LLRUG) checked there is a way to avoid a penalty if you pay in cash. You take a ‘Promise to Pay’ ticket from the machine and present it to the conductor when you pay.

Northern has promised us that in the early days of the new regime the conductors will be allowed to use their discretion, but it’s best to be on the safe side and buy your ticket before you get on the train.

LLRUG would like to hear from passengers how the system works out – both successes and problems – and you can email us at, or write to us c/o the Westmorland Gazette, 1 Wainwright's Yard, Kendal LA9 4DP.

LLRUG supports the principle that that passengers should pay for their journey. Nearly all do at the moment and they shouldn’t have to subsidise anyone trying to get a free ride.

Dick Smith

Lakes Line Rail User Group