Our revenue protection policy

All tickets, please! 

Most people understand that if you want to travel, you need to buy a ticket - but fare evasion still costs the rail industry an estimated £200 million a year.

With the help of your feedback we’re doing everything we can to stop people cheating fares. One of the key ways we’re doing this is by bringing criminal proceedings whenever we believe fare evasion amounts to deliberate fraud.


What you need to do

To travel on our trains you need to buy a ticket that’s valid for the date and time of your journey before you board. It’s your responsibility to buy and collect your ticket beforehand, and to carry it with you at all times so it can be inspected or used in an automatic ticket barrier. It’s no good hoping you can buy one from the Train Manager or telling them ‘it’s definitely in your bag somewhere’. 

So if you want a smooth journey, you need to keep your ticket safe. After all it’s not just a ticket, it’s your receipt, and the only thing that gives you the right to travel.


It’s all there in black and white

When you purchase a ticket and travel with LNER, you’re agreeing to a legal contract with us that’s set out in The National Rail Conditions of Travel. It’s what makes sure everything is fair for passengers and train companies across the country. You can pick up a free copy from all our stations or from our Customer Services team. You can also download them from www.nationalrail.co.uk.

If travelling in breach of your ticket's terms and conditions – i.e. if you’re trying to travel with a ticket that isn’t valid for the service you're travelling on – then you’ll be asked to purchase a new one or pay an excess fare. 

We suggest you read the terms and conditions of your ticket carefully before boarding the train, and check for any restrictions that may apply. It might not be your most fun pre-trip job, but it’s better than finding out too late. Take a look at details of all the ticket types available, along with their terms and conditions, and restrictions.


When it’s OK to travel without a ticket

It's an offence to board a train without a ticket. The only exceptions to this are:

  • If the ticket office is closed.
  • If a self service ticket machine that accepts cash isn’t working and the ticket office is not open or there is no ticket office.
  • If you're unable to access our ticket retail facilities as a result of a disability.
  • If you’re entitled to concessionary fares without a Railcard, such as permanent wheelchair users.

In these circumstances you can buy any ticket available on the train, on the day of travel, including any Railcard discounts that apply.

Travelling without a valid ticket

It is an offence to board the train without a ticket, where none of the exceptions above apply. If you are asked to purchase a ticket onboard the train, this will be at the full Standard or First Class single rate and you won’t be able to use a Railcard discount.

If you have a ticket, but it’s not valid for the journey, you will be requested to either pay an excess fare or purchase a new one (depending on the type of ticket that you have).

Below are examples of the kind of situations where you may be asked to pay an excess fare or purchase a new ticket.

  • You have an Advance ticket, but get on an alternative service to the one shown on your reservation coupon (or you don’t have the corresponding seat reservation needed to validate your ticket)
  • You’re traveling on a peak service with an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket
  • You have a ticket purchased with a Railcard discount but don’t have the valid Railcard with you (or you haven’t met the conditions of the Railcard)
  • You are in First Class accommodation but only have a Standard ticket
  • You’re aged 16 years or older, but have a Child rate ticket
  • You’ve travelled beyond the destination of your ticket
  • Your ticket is only valid with an alternative Train Operator

If you can’t pay the fare on the spot, an authorised member of staff (Train Manager, Revenue Protection staff) may issue you with an Unpaid Fare Notice (UFN).

Lost and forgotten tickets

When you have a reservation and receipt but you’ve lost your ticket
If you lose your train ticket you will have to buy a new one or else be issued with a Unpaid Fare Notice (UFN). You then have 28 days to find your lost ticket and show it to us, otherwise you will need to pay your UFN.

When you lose or forget your reservation
If you have a copy of your booking confirmation and your travel ticket (and assuming the ticket is valid), you can still travel.

What is an Unpaid Fare Notice?

An Unpaid Fare Notice may be issued to anyone who travels without a valid ticket and can’t pay for a new ticket or excess fare (whichever is applicable). They don’t require you to pay an extra charge, penalty or fine - just to pay a normal ticket price for that journey, because a valid ticket wasn’t presented.

In order to complete the Unpaid Fare Notice with details of your journey, an authorised member of staff will ask you for your name and address. In order to avoid administration fees being added (which are non-refundable), you need to pay the UFN within 28 days of the date of issue. If you refuse to provide your name and address, or give false details, you’re committing a criminal offence, which could lead to prosecution.

How to pay for an Unpaid Fare Notice

Payments must be made to LNER within 28 days of the date of issue of the Unpaid Fare Notice and the payment options available are:


  • Online – you can make a payment online. All you will need is a credit/debit card and payment can be made using the notice number printed on the Unpaid Fare Notice (prefixed LN) and your surname.
  • By Phone – We have just released our new 24 hour payment line, you can call 0800 044 3344 to make a payment via credit/debit card. To do this you will need your payment reference number (11-digit numerical reference) found at the bottom of your notice.

What happens if you don’t pay within the prescribed number of days?

If LNER don’t receive your payment within 28 days of issue, non-refundable administration charges may be added to the outstanding amount and legal proceedings could be brought against you as part of the Railway Byelaws and the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, Section 5.3(a). The decision to prosecute is always based on the merits of each individual case.


What is a Ticket Irregularity Report?

If you have been issued with a Travel Irregularity Report/Notice, you have been reported for failing to produce a valid travel document for the journey which you were making.

A statement will be submitted by the officer who issued the notice, to the Investigations & Prosecutions team, where a decision will be made with regards to the next steps to be taken by LNER.

All cases are provisionally listed for a court hearing, however for the majority of cases we try to provide you with the opportunity of paying an out of court settlement rather than progress to legal proceedings.

A letter will be posted to you in due course.

If you wish to discuss your Travel Irregularity with the Investigations & Prosecutions team, please await written correspondence which will provide you with a contact email and postal address.

If you are unsatisfied by the decision made by LNER you can appeal to the Rail Ombudsman however this does not place your case on hold with LNER.

How to appeal

If you want to appeal against your Unpaid Fare Notice you need to do this within 28 days of it being issued. You need to make your appeal in writing, and include the following information:

  • A copy of the Unpaid Fare Notice
  • The reason why you couldn’t produce a valid ticket or authority to travel
  • The station where you started your rail journey
  • The exact date and time you were travelling
  • Any other relevant information or documents such as tickets and booking confirmations

You can either send a statement in writing to:

London North Eastern Railway, PO Box 632, York, YO1 0ET

Or email this to appeals@lner.co.uk

We will consider your appeal based on the facts of the case. Even if you appeal, you still need to pay the amount you owe within 28 days. If you don’t, you could incur non-refundable administration fees.

What to do if your appeal isn’t successful

If your appeal isn’t successful and you want to appeal further, you’ll need to contact the Rail Ombudsman. They are an independent ombudsman who will liaise directly with London North Eastern Railway Limited to make a final decision.

You can contact them:

Freepost - Rail Ombudsman
1st Floor
Premier House
Argyle Way

What to do if your appeal with Transport Focus is not successful

Unfortunately, if your appeal to the ombudsman isn’t successful, this is our final decision. If you’re still unhappy, you may wish to seek legal advice.