A complaint to Northern Rail

This morning I was subjected to some awful customer service by the Northern Rail staff at Manchester Piccadilly. On this occasion I decided to stand up and be counted and have written a letter of complaint. (See below) This is the start of what I consider to be a ‘war of words’ and I shall keep you all updated as to my progress. I would love to hear from anyone who has similar issues with Northern Rail, so please let me know in the comments below.

21st January 2013
To whomsoever it may concern,
first of all, I would like to say that I use your service regularly and in general I’m not the type to complain. When your trains are cancelled or late, (which is more frequent than I think is reasonable), I don’t complain. When your trains are filthy or stifling hot, I don’t complain. When you replace our usual train with a 2 carriage train, forcing all passengers to get uncomfortably close to each other, I don’t complain. However on this occasion you have pushed it too far and my complaint will be vehement and relentless until I get an apology.

Let me set the scene: It’s a cold January morning; snow listlessly drifts through the air. I arrive at Mauldeth Rd station at the usual time of 7:25 to buy my ticket. As I approach the ticket office I can see that the lights are on, but no one is home. Whether your member of staff was having a smoke break, on the toilet, or practicing his favourite Kylie Minogue dance routine, is no concern of mine. Either way, he was not there to help with my purchase of a ticket. Unfortunately I was unprepared for this eventuality and was not carrying a bank card to use your ticket machine. In my innocence, I thought to myself, no problem, I’ll buy a ticket on the train.” At this point I would like to point out that I have been forced to buy a ticket on the train in the past, most often due to your ticket office being closed. On occasions when this has happened, I have had no problems, hence my surprise this morning.

On the train I looked around for the ticket conductor and after a few minutes saw him ambling down the carriage. I approached him to ask to buy a ticket, as did a few other passengers, to be somewhat rudely told to buy a ticket at the station. Ok, no problem I thought, and subsequently sat back down, comfortably unaware of what was to happen once I got to the station.

Arriving at the station, I hurried in front of the crowd to buy a ticket from the conductor on the platform. Money in hand, I approached and duly requested to buy a ticket. The conductor asked where I had come from, to which I replied, “from Mauldeth Rd please”. To my surprise he sternly said “wait there one moment.” In a moment, I was approached by another stern gentleman who informed me that he was a revenue protection officer. This is where my story takes a turn for the worst.

Over the next 10 minutes I was treated like a common criminal at the hands of your revenue protection officer. I was told that as Mauldeth Rd was a manned station, I would have to pay the full standard fare and fill out a “Failure to purchase” form. Your revenue protection officer was unable to listen to my mitigating circumstances and made it quite clear that it was my fault, even though your member of staff was not present at the station.

I was then informed that I would have to pay the full fare for my journey, which amounts to £2.30. Again, cash in hand I tried to pay for my fare to be told that the only way I could pay the fare was by cheque or postal order. Cheque or postal order, are you kidding me? What decade are you living in? Who in the hell has a cheque book anymore? I have now been forced to go to the post office and buy a postal order, for which I was charged 50p for the privilege. I was also forced to buy an envelope and a 2nd class stamp. Not only that but you have wasted over 10 minutes of my time at the station, 20 minutes walking and queuing in the post office, and 20 minutes writing this letter. For the sake of argument let’s round it up to an hour of my time that you have now wasted.

As an adviser and social media consultant I charge a minimum of £20 an hour. So, if we add up the total cost of your unhelpful and quite frankly aggressive campaign, you have cost me £23.30. (For a breakdown of the costs see below)

£2.30 – Standard fare for my journey
£0.50 – Postal order charge
£0.50 – Second class stamp
£20 – Fee for my time

I am unwilling to let this go and want an honest apology from yourselves and remuneration for the costs that I have incurred. For your information, I shall be sending this complaint to your customer relations team and I shall be blogging and tweeting about this online.

I understand that you are trying to encourage payment of fares but the only thing this has encouraged me to do, is to use the bus instead. I do hope to hear from you soon and I hope that we can deal with this issue swiftly and in a professional manner.

Yours sincerely

Leo Woodhead

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52 responses to “A complaint to Northern Rail

  1. What a horrible morning for you! I am shocked at the lack of reason or sense shown by Northern Rail (actually, not that shocked). I look forward to hearing the follow up to this. Good luck.

    • Cheers for your comment! I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about this! I shall keep everyone updated as and when I get a reply. Hopefully they cotton on to the blog, tweeets, and facebook posts and feel the need to deal with it quickly! Let’s see if the small man can win!

  2. Very bad could of been settled much easier. .no idea why they would want to customers to use a cheque or postal order those things are as ancient as their trains.

    They are one of the worst if not the worst Train providers in the UK nearly all passengers who have misfortune of having to use their trains have had bad experience. ..I believe their contract is up for tender in a few years and I hope someone else wins it and Im not even one of their customers.

    • Cheers for commenting Darren. I hope when it comes up for tender they do lose it as they are shockingly rubbish! If they had just listened to me all this could have been avoided! On the bright side, now I can have a little social media fun! Let’s see what they say to my letter. I shall be posting up any of their correspondence in full!

      • Why do people have a different set of rules when they travel on trains? If you could get on a train without a ticket at a staffed station everyone would do it. You are not the only traveller.

        If you were asked to produce your proof of payment when you left Debenhams and could not the police would be called.

        Ontrain staff & gateline staff can not cope with hundreds of people with no ticket, this is why train companies employ staff in ticket offices and provide ticket machines, season tickets & online tickets.

        If you had got to your destination and not been challenged would you have gone to the ticket office and volunteered payment? Of course not, you believe it is not your fault.

        This is why you are incentivised to pay first, as you do in every other retail environment, and penalised when you fail to use common sense.

        I wish they would have the Police on the station barriers and arrest these middle class theives rather than have to read their defensive blogs.

      • Dear A traveller, thank you for your kind words. I feel that you have may have missed the point somewhat. With that in mind I thought it might be worth summarising my point for you.

        I understand the need to encourage payment, but their tactics today were IMHO poorly thought out.

        Last week other passengers and I bought tickets on the train and at the station. On both occasions, there was no mention of an imminent change of policy. If there had been I would have ensured that I had my bankcard on me to use the machine. I wanted to buy a ticket at my point of travel, on the train and at the station. That being the case, I didn’t deserve the rudeness, the address checking, or to be forced to use archaic methods of payment. No one uses cheques anymore and postal orders are both awkward and a rip off. This was purely done to ensure that it was a hassle for me to pay it. That’s poor customer service. Rather than encourage me to pay it has encouraged me to cycle more. That is bad business!

        I hope they see my complaint for what it is, a friendly lesson in customer service. Have a lovely evening and remember, don’t troll too hard, it’s bad for the soul!

      • Oh why do people have a different set of rules when they travel on trains?

        If you walked past the till at Debenhams & were asked to produce your proof of payment when you left, and could not, the police would be called.

        If you could get on a train without a ticket at a staffed station everyone would do it. You are not the only traveller.

        Ontrain staff & gateline staff can not cope with hundreds of people with no ticket, this is why train companies employ staff in ticket offices and provide ticket machines & online tickets.

        If you had got to your destination and not been challenged would you have gone to the ticket office and volunteered payment? Of course not.

        This is why you are incentivised to pay first, as you do in every other retail environment.

      • Dear Steve, please see my reply to ‘A traveller.’ To be honest I am fairly sure you are the same person. If you’re not then I apologise, but feel that you may need to be more original in your trolling in the future. Your comments are remarkably similar. Have a joyous day Steve, much love, Leo

      • Dear A Traveller,

        I feel that you have made an unwinnable point there. In fact if you are arguing differences and different points, why should someone from a manned station be forced to buy their ticket at the office instead of on the train, when someone at an unmanned station can “Park and Ride”

        I have myself been a subject of numerous times of having to buy a ticket at my end destination due to being on trains so jam packed that the conductor cannot physically leave his part of the train to get to anyone. I’ve then had to buy one at the other end, after all wasn’t this issue the reason those people at the other end of the line exist? So that those people who previously got a free ride due to noone to collect their payment.

        Personally I think the idiot in this scenario is the man with the ticket machine at the station. Why on earth he did not just sell poor Leo a ticket (Which incidentally would of netted them the same amount of money as the pointless charade they put Leo through) and just get on with life.

        Leo, here’s my advice…..

        Next time you get on the train and wish to purchase a ticket, and are told to do so at Picadilly, choose a station nearer to Picadilly which is unmanned and therefore eligible to buy a ticket from and pocket the change…

        Consider it the same as not tipping in a restaurant when a waiter has covered your missus in Vino De Table.

  3. ‘Revenue protection officer’? Wow what a title. It obviously gives them great power and, as we know, with great power comes great responsibility. The only downside is your loss of common sense. People like this are whats known as a ‘joswworth’. They have what can be described as a ‘love of servitude’. It makes them feel important. Granted there may be people, sorry middle classed people, who would try and get on a train for free and in this case I guess they serve a purpose but if someone is trying to pay them because a series of events left them unable to pay with the correct method then the revenue protection officer is not a very smart man. If you came up to me and wanted to pay I would simply tell you to go to the office or ticket machine and pay there, thankyou for your honesty and wish you a good day.

    • It is G4S who operate the revenue protection at stations. The Failure to Purchase order is to cut down on those who deliberately avoid paying. Unfortunately some innocent passengers will get caught without a ticket for genuine reasons. You should blame those who evade fares regularly that have caused this operation to be started in the first place.

    • Cheers Gary! That’s my point, it’s not like I was trying to fare dodge! I wanted to pay, but still got penalised! At least I got have a bit of fun writing a complaint letter!

      • Bizarre! Why do people feel the need to try out their literary prowess on these things?? Adviser/social media consultant – that sounds made up. Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that you were using some of your precious work time, valued at a staggering 20 pound per hour, to keep people abreast of your ‘bad day’. Do you expect reimbursement from them too?

      • Deary me Tiger, you are feeling rather vexed aren’t you. First of all I find your comment about ‘literary prowess’ quite intriguing, considering there wasn’t much to my letter.

        If you hadn’t noticed, the letter was posted on a blogging site, a site for people who like to write about things. If I had written a short and bland complaint letter, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have received the amount of sharing or views that it did.

        Moving on, you mention that I used my precious work time to write this complaint letter. FYI, I wrote this on my lunch break, in between nibbling on my sandwich and getting annoyed that I had to queue in the post office for a postal order!

        Anyway I best be off now, hope your having a lovely day. Please don’t be so angry, it’s only a complaint letter

    • This is the worst social media experiment ever! My comment was blocked because they (the genius behind this) probably couldn’t handle hearing the truth. I have to make these assumptions due to me being excluded. He (I presume it’s a ‘he’, there must be some truth somewhere) has to be the worst made up social media consultant ever! In future you’re best off keeping things to yourself if you can’t handle some opposing views.

      • Hi Tiger, sorry I didn’t approve your first message until now. I really didn’t expect such attention to this post and I have been struggling to keep up. My blog has never had so much action. I suppose climbing isn’t as interesting as a good ole English complaint! If you hadn’t noticed I have approved negative/opposing views to this post already. It’s amazing that some have got so annoyed. The phrases ‘Keyboard warrior’ and ‘need a cuddle?’ come to mind. If you read the post and the comments already made, you can see that I tried to pay at the point of travel, during travel and at the station, something that I had done many times before, without incidence. That being said, I can understand why Northern Rail have decided to try and stop people dodging the fares. I just wish they had chosen a better way of doing it. At least they have now placed big signs at Mauldeth Rd Station, informing people of the need to ‘buy before you ride.’ Now there is no excuse for not knowing. To be honest I am kind of happy it happened, as it has encouraged me to ride to work every day. Maybe I should write a letter of thanks to them for helping me to improve my health. Anyway I best be off, I’m about to finish my lunch and I wouldn’t want to be posting replies to comments on work time. Have a great day

  4. I too have issue with how abysmal the Northern Rail service is and usually don’t bother to complain. Similar to yourself I am frequently prevented from purchasing tickets before boarding but have only had issue with this once. An ill mannered NR employee spoke to me like something on his shoe and threatened me with being arrested until my story was corroborated and I was allowed to leave!! But the reason I am leaving you this message is to tell you about an issue that left my blood boiling last month.
    I attempted to get the train to work but was forced to call a family member to take me as the ‘ticket collector’ at Whiston deemed it reasonable that the group of 25 or more passengers including a elderly couple waiting in the freezing cold snow could not travel on the 1519 train into Liverpool because 2 schoolboys were throwing snowballs and he wished to punish us all and make us wait another 30 minutes for the next train. He must have involved the driver in this decision as the (late) train approached it stopped short of where it would normally stop on the platform, presumably to let passengers get off but the trainthen accelerated past all those waiting to board. I told the ticket collector I had to be at work for 4pm and he rudely said I should ‘blame them’ pointing to the schoolboys!!! I complained to NR and they informed they would take the matter seriously then provided me with a free day pass which I attempted to use yesterday but ended up on a bus replacement service!!! I am so fed up of this company and as soon as I pass my driving test will refuse to ever get on a NR train again.

  5. Tiger, are you really complaining about someone’s complaint? Wow, don’t you have a TV to mindlessly shout at instead of boring us?

  6. i totally agree with you the train companies need to get themselves sorted,there is no comparison to purchasing goods at debenhams to traveling by train if you are not served at debenhams you have the right to just leave the goods and walk out.traveling on a train is a neccessity and what the passenger did on this occasiom is exactly what the train companied instruct people to do when it suits.with the modern tecnology it would have been possible for the train company to check on c c t v that the ticket office was closed ,as had the matter been escelated to a court of law this could be requested as evidence and as such a counter claim made for false acusation/
    I was today at Manchester piccadilly and approached by a revenue inspection officer who was randomly checking tickets his opening words to me were Tickets to which I replied Pardon and he then repeated himself and said tickets, at which point I reminded him that had missed a few words out and he asked me what they were to which I replied ,please followed by thank you.I showed my tickets and just to get the better of me he then told ne to get on my way.In reallity i dont think that this job is suited to being contracted out to companied like in this instance G4,as where the train companies do the jobs tthemselves thay are able to with good training turn the roles into ambassidors for the rail companies/

  7. My experience of travelling with Northern rail is equally dire. Every work day i catch an arriva bus in , over the last 3 months i have been using this service it has NOT been late once . My return journey from Batley rail station to Leeds is a nightmare , over the last 3 months it has been on time 0 times , and 86% of the time it has been late more than 15 minutes . The station is devoid of regular tannoy broadcasts to keep you informed of delays , and unless you happen to be standing on the bleak platform you cant hear the sporadic info transmissions. One particular evening my train was inevitably late , i was stood in the doorway talking to a couple of other travellers about the shocking service when i noticed the train had pulled in , i ran to the carriage door next to the drivers cabin , which had just been closed ( the train was still stationary) , the conductor was sat down in the drivers cabin with the window open , i asked if it was possible for him to open the door and let me on , he looked at me , laughed and shook his head , i responded with ” well thanks for being so helpful”, as the train pulled out of the station this charming conductor put his arm out of the window and proceeded to make a rude gesture with his hand at me until the train went out of sight . I echo any comments hoping this terrible operator lose its contract when it comes up for tender , and for my part , when my travel pass runs out , i will be renewing it without the train zone and will in future travel by bus both ways .

  8. i had the exact same experience; to which i sent the below on the 16th of May and am still awaiting my reply. i emailed in june to ask where my reply was, i was told that it was with managers. i still have no reply…

    i have now started driving to work, i would rather spoil the enviornment than give them my money

    To whom it may concern,

    I am writing to you in concerns of a recent incident that took place on a journey from Marple to Manchester Piccadilly on the 8th May 2013..

    As you may gather I live in Marple and make use of the public transport system Monday – Friday into Piccadilly train station and then furthering onto a Metro link zone H. For my journey I purchase a weekly ticket and the reason for doing so is that my work week can differ and I may be away from time to time on business and a monthly ticket is not really appropriate for my needs. When purchasing my ticket I always pay on my debit/credit card. There are lots of reasons for doing this and many reasons as to why I don’t carry cash. Paying with a credit card means I am insured if I lose my ticket or have it stolen, this is also the only way I am able to claim expenses through work.

    On recent occasions, (aka the last 4/5 weeks) at the ticket desk within Marple train station, the chip and pin machine has not been in use and the clerk behind the desk has been swiping the magnetic strip on the back of the card. To my horror once the card has been swiped, the clerk has not been asking for a signature to go with the card. Apparently this is because it is quicker. I’m not 100 per cent clued into what the terms and conditions are set out by Visa or World Pay but I’m pretty sure, you should not do this.

    Anyway, I recently have been the target of fraud so my trust level is not at its highest and handing a stranger my card for a swipe which keeps all the needed data for a transaction on that machine is not my idea of fun.

    The 1st week of this ‘card swiping’ I didn’t get the option to say whether I agreed to the clerk doing this as he had done this anyway and within 2 seconds I had the ticket and he had my details. The 2nd week I asked if the chip and pin was working the answer was no. So I said to the gentleman, (who is always courteous, polite and really does Northern Rail a justice) I would prefer to use chip and pin as it is safer. He then informed me, he didn’t have the option to do this and I should ask either on the train or at the other end. I can’t use the machine outside as I need to include the metro link part on my pass. So to continue, I get on the train, as instructed and wait on the man coming round to offer tickets or to check tickets. He doesn’t come. So of course there is an option on the other end I can get a ticket there, so really, I don’t fret too much as this is what I have been told to do. I get into Piccadilly and I buy my ticket which is a return to Piccadilly for the week including the Metrolink zone H option. So I didn’t actually leave the platform without paying for the journey I had just been on. All’s well and I travel for a week back and forth not an issue.

    The following week…. the same happens again.

    The 4th week of this debacle I ask when the machine is going to be fixed and he can’t give me an answer.

    So off I go on my journey again to Piccadilly where the queue is normally always bigger to buy tickets, but this I don’t mind as I prefer safety to time (this means I prefer to use a chip and pin machine, so I don’t mind waiting longer to do so). The reason I say Piccadilly is because for the past 2/3 weeks the tickets in the morning have not been checked on the train, and there has been no offer to buy a ticket whilst travelling on the train.

    I get to Piccadilly ask for a ticket and the lady opposite turns to a colleague and says ‘Here’s one, I’ve got one’ she then turns back to me adds ‘you need to speak to him for not having a ticket’

    A) I have a respectful job, I do not need to be spoken to like a rat by some female who looks like she hasn’t had a wash and who clearly has problems communicating.

    B) I am not ‘one’ I am a human being/ a customer and Northern Rail user who has followed clear instruction from a Northern Rail Employee and past actions from other journeys. I have had no explanation for what is happening. I have a wallet full of tickets that coincide with dates when I’ve purchased tickets one after the other which can prove I have never dodged paying and I am a continuous purchaser. I was not asked for such proof.

    C) My respectful job actually pays me enough money to afford to pay. I don’t see the need to not pay. It does not dent my wallet having to pay for a train ticket in which I personally think is very reasonable for the journey I take.

    Continuing:
    This man then proceeds to take me to one side. Whilst this is happening I notice that another 2 people have been subject to the same behaviour and attitude as I.

    As I am being told I am getting a ticket I try to explain why I haven’t purchased one before this point. As I’m trying to explain, the man I’m stood beside shouts ‘ will you shut up for a minute’ (I couldn’t believe it) anyway I don’t shut up and finally get my say. I refuse to give my details! He then tells me he doesn’t believe a word I’m saying and he is going to ring Marple Ticket Desk to prove me wrong. He rings Marple…. His face drops…. and he tells me to pay for a ticket with the girl that I was telling the truth however he will be watching out for me in future….apparently. Is this normal code of practise and customer service to threaten your patrons? I really do hope not.

    I then went and purchased a ticket. Which I have enclosed for your reference. I also noticed that because the 2 ‘failure to purchase’ men are busy, everyone else behind us gets away with waiting until Picadilly and just pays. Some campaign this is. The campaign actually really makes me want to drive to work.

    I decide to stay and watch how the other 2 people in the same situation as me are treated.

    Well…….. I was treated like a queen apparently. This poor man and women… The man and women were both basically explaining the same situation as me and adding that the actual ticket machine outside was out of order at Marple…(Which it was; the red light was on. I know you can check this on your system as the faults and errors are sent to you by the machine!) They were then told ‘TOUGH’ … ‘I DON’T CARE!! THIS ALL PART OF A MASSIVE CAMPAIGN TO STOP PEOPLE WHO DON’T PAY LIKE YOU’ how does he know they don’t pay? He hasn’t listened to a word they have said. And clearly is acting like a baboon.

    These people explained what had happened and where not given the chance. Instead they were spoken to like crap by the man carrying ID CARD NUMBER: 111.

    Anyway, Moral of the story is…

    Your stations and employees should communicate with each other before trying to give people tickets and fines. If I am unable to purchase a ticket at Marple, your employees at Piccadilly should know about it and not waste their time making people want to complain. If you’re trying to get people to buy at the start of their journey, make sure all the relevant equipment needed to purchase tickets is working correctly before you do so.

    It’s not our fault your machines are broke. It’s not like we were running off the platform trying to dodge a fair, we approached your staff, we opted to pay and where treated like scumbags.
    If you know you’re going to do a scheme that is trying to stop people waiting to pay until they reach Piccadilly, you should ring the other end and make sure everything is working correctly.

    Then you should advertise that you are changing the system and how things work at Northern Rail, to inform travellers you are no longer able to purchase fares at Piccadilly for this journey. And ‘Failure to Purchase’ before this is considered fair dodging and you will be fined for it. People will then be in the know and just not do it, then you have the right to say to these people who don’t pay, ‘Well you knew we were doing this’. It’s called a marketing campaign to keep your consumers in the loop. Not just try and get as much money as possible out of people by not telling them they can’t do something and then charging them for it.

    I’m an educated person so I do apologise for the rambling mess of a letter this is, however, I was so annoyed that such a large company could be so incompetent. Really?? I don’t understand.. What is wrong with you people? Where is the organisation? Where are the manners? Where is the general human decency to treat others with respect?

    I do hope the other people who were there that day have also expressed what happened to them as I think it is tedious. I was embarrassed and made out to be an idiot. They got it worse than me.

    The reason for this complaint is to keep you informed of what’s happening outside of your office and to let you know I am disgusted at how I have been treated for trying to pay a train fare that I couldn’t pay elsewhere.

    I look forward to your response.

    Kindest Regards

    Moira Doherty

  9. Hi Leo

    Sorry to hear about your experience . Northern rail are a terrible unprofessional company.

    There trains are constantly and consistently late. Dirty. Overpacked. The staff are rude and act like Nazis. They rigorously check tickets at every opportunity 3 or 4 times during your travel, yet cannot provide and do not want to provide the customer service.

    Their customer care line is manned by similar uncaring rude staff. I complained today and spoke to a member of staff by the name of Andrew Talbot about the constant smoking at our local station. The smoking goes on in full view of the staff directly under a no smoking sign! I was told by Andrew that it’s not the staffs responsibility to stop commuters from smoking and there’s nothing that can be done. Pathetic!

  10. The exact same thing happened to me yesterday. I however do not offern take the train to work but my car broke down . I walked though broad bottom train station and (lights on no one there) I thought get the ticket either on the train or piccadilly station. I had stood in the que to pay and was pulled out (money in hand) beacause I said broadbottom station return please. I it was quite frightening to be honest I didn’t know what was happening.!!! To be given a fine for the fare I was in the line to buy . Every was looking at me the worst experience of my life .!! Have the no hered of treating customers fairy and customer service .???

  11. I’m havin a very similar issue although the station I travel from is pdg goin to liverpool. The station is unmanned with no tkt facilities so if a conductor doesnt come thru the train I have no option but to purchase at destination station. I was faced wed, yest and most probably today with rev protection … how did u resolve ur issue.
    pls help ….

    • Hi Jon, the issue wasn’t resolved per say. I complained, they vaguely apologised and I paid my fine. They did put some posters up to inform everyone of the situation but I still see it happening everyday where some unsuspecting customer is unaware and is subsequently treated rudely by revenue officers. Hopefully over time if more people complain we will be heard. Here’s hoping! Leo

  12. On Sat 25th Jan at Gatley train station I went to purchase a ticket & Andy he was ever so rude as always. He come from the back pulled his face & swore under his voice. I will no longer go in to purchase a ticket of him again til u find someone that has manners & a smile on there faces 😦 He’s like it with other customers too.

  13. It’s no use just moaning on your blog; take direct action. Get on the bloody train and refuse to pay, refuse to pay at the station and insist they call the police….then you’ll have your day in court. Then write a letter to Northern Rail, telling them exactly what you’ve done and why you’ve done it and list all the Northern Rail staff you will be calling as witnesses at your trial. I’ve done this before and all that’s ever happened is that I’ve received a stern letter telling me not to do it again.

    • Cheers for commenting Lee. As it was over a year ago, my initial anger has subsided. That would have been a good way to go but alas, it’s a little late now! Keep on keeping on, Leo

  14. Did you ever receive your apology/reimbursement?
    I had a very similar ordeal yesterday and like yourself, I am not one to complain but have reached the very limit of my patience for Northern Rail.

    Please, please, please let me know how you got on! I will be penning my own stern letter tonight.

    Many thanks!

    • I got no reimbursement apart from the joy of writing the letter and blog! Still, it’s worth complaining just so they know how badly they are affecting passengers. I now only very rarely get the train (when I have no other way of travelling), so I’m glad I experienced such poor customer service, it’s saved me a fortune!

  15. Hi Loe,
    i just had a horrendous experience at bolton train station.. mine was infact by the conductor who was very very very aggressive.

    It all started earlier tonight. I had just finished work and didn’t have any data left on my phone to check the train times, luckily enough i made it to Horwich Parkway train station in time for one of the last trains. the only problem i had was whether this train was going to stop at Manchester Victoria or Piccadilly. Now these two stops don’t seem so far apart but when its half 11 on a Monday night and the last tram leaves Shudehill at 11:58pm you don’t have time to run from Piccadilly nor do i have extra money for a taxi back from Manchester. As i am a 21 year old student who’s just trying to get home the cheapest way possible.
    So when the train pulled up at Bolton train station i stood at the door and kindly asked the conductor whether this train was going to be stopping at Victoria when he replayed in a sharp loud stern tone “NO!” Taken back by the conductors attitude i then stepped down from the door and asked him which stop in Manchester would the train be stopping at then? The conductor replyed “why the hell are you getting on a train when you don’t even know where you are going?? are you thick as pig shit” At this point i am speechless, angry and really quite insulted so i said excuse me? he then repeated himself whilst waving his hand around in my face and shouting. “i am not holding up the whole train because of you! stupid girl! getting on trains to busy listening to your music and not actually noticing where you are going thick as pig shit you are thick as pig shit”. i then asked the conductor to please stop putting his hand in my face as he was making me very nervous and told him that it was fine i don’t actually want to use the service anymore because of him embarrassing me infront of everyone on the train. he then persisted to get closer and closer into my face shouting at me like i was a piece of dog dirt at the bottom of his shoe.
    I explained to the man no one has ever spoken down to me like that not even my father speaks to me in such an aggressive tone so i don’t appreciate it coming from a man whose supposed to be helping me with my journey home i then also asked what about to customer service i understand the guy might of had a hard long shift at work but i had just finished a long shift at work myself and i just wanted to get back to bury the cheapest fastest way. and i did not expect this to happen anyways i asked him for his name and where i should make a complaint as i was and still am disgusted by the way i was treated. i have not long been home to check online where and how to go about making complaints as i myself have never complained about anyone in such a formal manner before and I’m still unsure whether i should just let it slip or not i came across your blog when i was searching about the complaint so was just hoping for some feed back to be honest with you how did your complaint go in the end? do you feel like it was a waist of your time? and thank you very much for giving me somewhere to vent this bad experience 🙂

    • To be honest it was a bit of a waste of time. They didn’t reimburse me and just reiterated their usual line, “you should have bought a ticket before you got on the train.”

      Either way I had a bit of fun writing about it on my blog and it did at least help me to vent! Your situation sounds even more shocking and down right abusive! I would definitely complain! Do let me know how it all goes and good luck.

  16. I had a very similar thing happen to me in Liverpool and have complained to the customer relations team. Who quite rudely are just telling me the case is closed and not accepting any of my points.
    I have even attached a picture which is on the northern rail trains stating that the conductor of this train is happy to sell you a ticket.
    Does anybody know if I can take this further? And if so, who to? I have already had to pay the fine which due to me being naive and the person issuing me with the fine telling merge wrong information had escalated to £80!
    If anyone could help me I would be great flu because I feel like I’m getting nowhere. I never complain about anything but I really feel like this is out of order.

    • I would definitely take it further! Whilst I didn’t get any apology or compensation, you have actual photographic proof of a sign stating that you can buy a ticket on the train. It’s obviously an old poster, but that should have been taken down which is their own fault. £80 quid is far too much to let slide!

    • Appeal they should have given you the information Email address below.
      I am in the process of appealing.

      Prosecutions [prosecutions@ital-uk.com]

  17. My sympathy to all who have been wronger by Northernrail.
    Northernrail have become the bane of my life, my worst experience being 2 months ago. I board at an unmanned station and have to get a ticket on board. On a Saturday morning I was heading to Liverpool, bought a ticket in good faith from the Northernrail conductor, but when I arrived at Liverpool I was fined as they had given me a ticket for the previous day, I ended up out of pocket by around £10!
    I have had the penalty squashed and Northern sent me vouchers which I have sent back informing them I wan’t money not vouchers for an incompetent company that don’t even cover the amount I am out of pocket by.

  18. The bullying thugs who man the gates at Manchester Oxford Road station are the most unpleasant train station staff I have ever encountered.

  19. Worst experience I have every had with northern rail. En route from a station in the high peak to Manchester. I could not buy my ticket – unmanned station…. hand held device would not accept my card. Pay when you get off train no problem conductor said. Joined the long queue to pay when I get off… told hand held device again !! Would not work. Told to go to cash machine on platform and report to revenue personnel. Cash machine not working…. went to customer services on platform… I was greeted with shrugged shoulders….. Go to cash machine on main concourse and go and pay at ticket office. Ok i said very frustrated but compliant. At this point I should add that I had two kids with me. Manchester United and their were fans and opposition fans being their usual lovely selves near the ticket office. My kids got scared and ran for the exit!! You’ve guessed it ! I ran to get them back but lynched by the Revenue personnel who must have been following me! They did not give a fig that I was trying to get my kids back, we were not allowed to turn round and purchase a ticket, very rude and obstructive. They could see what I was trying to do.

    I was then sent a prosecution letter for deliberately avoiding payment of said tickets!! Pay it! I think not I am appealing, I would have taken it on the chin and paid, but for the treatment of my kids and myself and the appalling fiasco I had to try and pay also the lack of respect given in not responding to my correspondence. Shame on you Northern Rail. Targeted? I think so. What about the Anti Social behaviour going on at the same time. Too busy chasing a mother and her two kids about.

  20. To Whom it May Concern,

    I boarded the train on 03/08/14, at 8.04 at Littleborough station. At the next stop my sister; Jade Engelbrecht also boarded the train as we travel together to our places of work in Manchester centre every morning.
    Shortly after my sister boarded, the conductor asked us if we needed to buy any tickets. I purchased a return and paid cash, and my sister wanted to pay on her card. She has previously been told that her card doesn’t work in the machine so needs to be swiped, so she politely asked the conductor if he could swipe the card. He flew into a rage and started to question her as to why she had “got on the train knowing that her card needed to be swiped”. She explained that she had been told that swiping the card was totally acceptable, and so had I- on numerous occasions in fact. He was clearly very angry about the situation and he went into a rant about her asking if he could swipe the card. My sister was clearly getting upset by the situation, which could be heard by a train full of people, so I asked him if he could stop speaking to her so rudely, and I explained that I had also been told that swiping the card was the best thing to do as my card also wouldn’t work with the machines. He then got extremely angry with me and began to shout at me. He told me that I will “have to get off at the next stop as well (as my sister, who he hadn’t actually told that she would have to get off the train)” and he said that he would be “stopping the train at Rochdale” and would “refuse to go any further” unless we got off. I told him I would not be getting off the train as I hadn’t done anything wrong, I had bought a ticket and would be late for work. He walked away and then stopped the train at Rochdale. He didn’t ask us to get off the train, but someone else got on that also works for Northern Rail. He then proceeded to tell this person that, “those two over there” had been verbally abusive to him, and then continued to talk about us for several minutes. He was only stood a few feet away from us and he was talking very loudly about “kicking them off the train”. My sister and I remained quiet for the rest of the journey and made no eye contact with the conductor. Then at Castleton, more Northern Rail employees boarded the train. He then proceeded to talk very nastily again about my sister and I and lie about being verbally abused. Again he was speaking loudly and he was aware we could hear him, as could everybody else on the train. I was starting to feel harassed and distressed by his actions at this point. I got off the train at Victoria, and I purposely got off the train through a door further down as I didn’t want him to start another confrontation with me. As I got off the train, he was stood on the platform talking about me with another man. He then stretched his arm out and shouted “there she is!” I shook my head and started to walk off to go to work, and the male he was stood with shouted to me as he wanted to talk to me. He identified himself as the conductor’s manager. I tried to explain all of the above to his manager, however he did not want to listen to me at all, so I just remained quiet. He started saying that we should have bought tickets before we got on the train. I told him that I have used Northern Rail trains almost every week day for the past few years whilst at university, and now whilst I’m working. I told him that it’s inevitable that sometimes I would be running late and wouldn’t make it on time to buy a ticket, so would have to get one on the train as most people do from time to time. I also explained that there is no ticket machine at Smithy Bridge either so my sister couldn’t have bought a ticket. He was dismissive of everything I said and he was definitely not impartial. He was looking after the interests of his colleague instead of acknowledging that he had acted inappropriately and helping to sort the situation out. While he was talking, the conductor stood behind him shouting out that I was “verbally abusive”. He knew my sister was going to Salford Central as that’s where she has asked for a ticket to, but then rather oddly he started to ask me if my sister would get off the train to buy a ticket at Victoria. There was no need to ask me this question as my sister was on the train that was stationed next to him, I feel this was another way for him to harass me further. The manager was stood uncomfortably close to me and was angry also, I felt extremely intimidated and distressed so I decided to walk away and deal with the situation by way of complaint direct to the company. Whilst I was walking away I burst into tears, I tried not to but the situation had really upset me. I still can’t believe that all that happened from me asking him to not speak rudely to my younger sister. I went into the customer services department in Victoria Station as I was embarrassed that I was crying in a busy station and I explained what had happened to some of the staff in there. After I calmed down a bit I set off to work, I ended up being late because of this situation. I spent the rest of that day feeling extremely upset at how the conductor blew the situation out of proportion, and I actually feel scared at the thought that I probably will see him again. I feel that his behaviour throughout the entire journey was harassing towards my sister and I. I also feel extremely embarrassed that he felt the need to repeatedly needed to tell the story of what happened to several Northern Rail employees as they boarded the train, knowing full well that everybody, including me, could hear. This was a complete disrespect for my privacy – I believe that any disputes should be a private matter dealt with professionally through the proper channels. Not through employees that are in no way associated with the incident and in full hearing distance of early morning commuters. The thing that upsets me the most is that he labelled me on several occasions as being “verbally abusive”, when all I did was ask him once to stop speaking rudely to my sister. It was obvious that he didn’t like the fact that I had mentioned his rudeness. I am very upset at being threatened to be thrown off a train, all because of this one comment. I feel that the conductor acted very inappropriately in a situation that wasn’t really a big deal in the first place. I am also shocked that he lied and said that I was verbally abusive; I feel he made up this lie because he knew he had no reason to be acting the way he was. I found his behaviour threatening and if anything, he was the abusive one. Trying to use his power as a conductor to throw two women off a train for doing nothing is just unacceptable, and I look forward to hearing your response on the matter.

  21. That was my letter. Could have been written a lot better, but I just wrote it quickly whilst at work. Some of the staff there are so bloody rude! By the way for the trolls, the station my sister got on at has no ticket machine or ticket office.

  22. Leo,

    As a social media expert what do you think about starting a Northern Rail facebook page dedicated to highlighting the atrocious conditions and service that Northern provide? I am sure it would gather a lot of momentum with a small amount of local promotion. I too am sick and tired of complaining to no avail and like yourself I never ever complain about anything else and I tend to share my experiences on facebook with my friends.

    My latest rant this week:
    On the hottest day of the summer I love nothing more than being trapped on a stuck train with heating on full blast. Seriously is this progress !
    There will be bodies by the time this tin can reaches daisy hill

  23. Leo, PLEASE make a Facebook page or SOMETHING that can be used to directly make complaints about Northern Rail. It needs to get enough negative media attention as possible as the standards of travel keep dropping and the prices keep rising!

    I’ve had some awful experiences, in fact if I use the train every day for a week I can guarentee at least 1 unpleasant experience with the trains. I use the term “unpleasant” meaning anything from a delayed train, an unexpectedly early train or from being treated like a criminal despite actually having bought a train ticket.

    I recently wrote this review on a website about my experiences, as I too am not the type to complain (I find making a fuss just gets a little embarrassing and give people the benefit of the doubt most of the time, perhaps they are having a bad day or that the delay cannot be helped) but after recent experiences I have also had to go far enough to ring them up and complain. Only to be told I am in the wrong – how typical.

    “I could go on for hours about what a really terrible excuse of a company Northern Rail is.

    I tend to find that the staff on the trains are really quite rude, not all of them, but the majority. I’ve been using the trains by Northern Rail for years and though the ticket prices have shot up the quality of travel doesn’t seem to have increased at all. The trains are messy, unreliable and the customer service is terrible.

    I recently complained because after alighting a train I put my ticket in the bin, only to be met by a terribly grumpy employee checking tickets of people leaving the station, who told me it was actually “not possible” for me to have put my ticket in the bin. He made me return back over to the other side of the station to retreive my ticket FROM THE BIN. So disgusting! No shock at all then when I tried to hand him my ticket he didn’t want to touch it either.

    Then to make matters worse when I rang Northern to ask them why they deemed this acceptable behaviour I was met with a very condescending tone and told it was illegal not to have a ticket. As if I wasn’t already aware. My complaint of my personal treatment has been ignored and all they seem to be bothered with is dusting their disgusting treatment of customers under the carpet. NO THANKS.

    On another occasion, my younger brother has experience prejudice for being simply young. Many older customers walked straight past the ticket inspector without being harassed, he was cornered and when he offered to pay for his ticket there and then he was told no, he would have to be fined and have a letter sent home. When this letter did come it did not mention that he had been incredibly willing to pay (only not paying beforehand as he had rushed to get on the train and not met a conductor on the train and they were now not accepting his money) but they accused him of “anti-social behaviour”. Of course this was a LIE!

    And what can you do when you complain? Be bombarded with a condescending tone followed up by a wooden email filled with more patronising and a compilation of legal jargon designed to make you feel intimidated. Except it hasn’t made me feel intimidated, it’s made me see how weak the company is. They are incapable of dealing with their complaints. They simply ignore them and rely on the fact that they are the only train company available. I hope they go bankrupt.”

    I wrote this after getting bored of formal and polite emails between myself and a condescending customer service woman. I’m writing this comment on your blog because I don’t actually know a single person that feels that Northern Rail provide a good service. I mean for crying out loud, I once got on the Bradford Train and they diverted it to Leeds without telling any of the passengers!
    Your trolls commenting must just actually work for northern rail or know one of the few people that are nice that work there.

    Once I had a lovely train conductor when I was much younger who sat with me and my friends and showed us magic tricks.

  24. Hi. I just found this page via a web search. I have been treated rudely and with disrespect by Revenue Protection Inspectors before, at several train companies, the latest being Northen Rail.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. I did write to them to complain. It is a shame this happens, as (unlike others here), I usually find ticket office staff and conductors to be very polite and helpful. Too bad the Inspectors can’t join them and be nice too!

  25. Second Time the same GUY! : ( Family day destroyed! 😦 Took a train today from harrogate then Leeds to Fitzwilliam ticket paid as i am a tourist but last time that I took the same train from Leeds to Fitzwilliam I had to just go and pay the ticket inside the train heading to Fitzwilliam because soon that I realised the other train was leaving so I had to run to get it on that day, as I am inside the train This Train guard came and ask for the ticket and I just showed the one from Harrogate to Leeds and I replied can I buy one from Leeds to Fitzwilliam here with you sir? He looked with a mad face and replied: How much have you paid from Harrogate to Leeds? Well I was a bit shocked from that question but ok ! I said 7.90 sir and then he checked ok! So I gave my credit card and unfortunately it wasn’t able to charge from the card, I don’t know why. but it had money on the account so He replied I had enough from you let me have your ID…Well I am from Brazil but lived in USA for long time but now living here in UK, so and I tough ok maybe because of my accent and maybe my look I dont know but I felt very unconfortable and I felt racism on his face so he took my ID and came back saying that I will receive a fine and a bill that I have been reported ok this was beginnig of December.
    So today Morning woke up early to see my baby and wife and was coming from Harrogate where I spent days working away from family and home. I cound’t wait to get back home so took in the same train again guess who was there? The same person! ok but this time I have the ticket in my hands paid with receipt… So he came again and asked for the ticket: Let me see your ticket!!! Ok I handed the ticket and asked him in a polite way Sir can i have your name just in case if the bill that he sent on that time comes wrong I have his name yes! because he had no name Badge on both times…So he replied if you ask my name one more time I will kick you out of the train. WOW!! :/ I was in shock so I replied sir i just asked your name and as a customer I think i have the right to know who are you as a staff member of this train right? He replied thats it! next stop you are out…so i said no my ticket is here im just asking your name sir! Iam not leaving the train…so he stopped at Harrogate called the supervisor than he told me to leave the train…this young lady came and said He was wrong another lady the same…and the supervisor said Sir please leave the train! I started to cry from inside from this horrible situation that this staff member putted me through so I decided to get off the train because of the people that were inside, so went to the office and explained the supervisor what happened and he said ok I trust you because you has too witnesses that came out for you…so anyways he gave me this Comments and sugestions form to fill. But still got home late and my family day was destroyed and I think he will send me losts of reposts.. But Lord knows everything… He will pay for his mistakes…as that old saying: What goes around comes around. I have been in many countries and never experienced a situation like that. well that’s my experience today morning. Ruined day. from a unhappy person.

  26. I have experienced something very similar!

    On Wednesday 15th of October 2014 I got on the 16:59 train from Cheadle Hulme to Macclesfield. As I was unusually running late, I did not have time to buy a ticket from the ticket office at the station before getting on the train. Due to the fact that the trains do not run that often and I had somewhere important to be, I assumed that I would be able to purchase a ticket from the conductor on the train, as I have done many times in the past. (On one occasion at Cheadle Hulme station I asked for a ticket to Macclesfield and the man in the ticket office said to me “buy it on the train” whilst he was reading the newspaper). So I kept my eye out for the conductor on the train, waiting to buy a ticket. When the train arrived in Macclesfield I had not been able to find the conductor, (was there even one on the train?), so I had to get off the train. I had every intention of making my way to the ticket office in Macclesfield to purchase a ticket for the journey I had just taken.

    However, as I came down the steps there were 2 to 3 men with ticket machines. I walked up to one of these men and asked “Please can I have a single ticket from Cheadle Hulme to Macclesfield?” to which he replied “certainly miss”. He began to carry out the transaction as I handed him my card. As I was about to enter my PIN, another man touched my arm and asked “Can I have a word with you?” to which I replied “Of course”. Not knowing that I had done anything to warrant what was to happen next.

    The man took me to one side and began to inform me that he would need to take down my details. He asked me if I had any ID on me and as I began to understand what was happening I became emotional. I gave the man my ID willingly and without question. I’d just like to add that a member of the Macclesfield staff offered me a tissue when he saw me in distress, I was very grateful for this gesture. I am not used to being treated in this way and I find it frankly, very distressing.

    However, the man who I assume doesn’t work for Macclesfield train station, was in my opinion picking on me because I am a young, slim girl. I asked the man why he had chosen me out of the many (about 20 or more) people queuing in the same queue, who had also come off the same train as I did, to buy a ticket and he said “because they didn’t get on at the same station as you”. I would just like to ask, how did he know that? There were 3 much older men next to me when I tried to buy a ticket that had come from Stockport! Why did I get pulled to one side for not buying a ticket at Cheadle Hulme and he didn’t even bat an eyelid at the men from Stockport. Therefore, I have to assume that I was treated very unfairly and that it was because I was alone and wouldn’t put up too much of a fight.

    I was asked by the man who I felt was ‘interrogating’ me if I had ever been “pulled up on this”, to which I replied “no, never”. I opened my purse and pulled out a few of the many train tickets I have and stated “I go to UNI in Manchester and I buy train tickets all the time” I then pulled out my 16-25 railcard. To which he replied “I understand, but I can’t treat you any differently” which would have been fair enough apart from the queue of people who were staring at me whilst waiting to buy a ticket under exactly the same circumstances as me. Feeling a bit like I was being bullied by this much older man and I can only assume that it is because I am a 19 year old girl of 5ft with red hair.

    I travel to Macclesfield from Cheadle Hulme every Wednesday evening and I have been making this journey for over a year now, never before have I had this problem or been treated in such an awful way. I have never been treated in this way in my entire life.

    The man, I do not know his name due to the fact his name badge was turned over and he did not offer it to me upon starting the conversation, this I believe, is very poor customer service and unacceptable. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have hesitated to take down his name; however I was feeling mortified and embarrassed. He did question me on why I hadn’t purchased a ticket and to this I replied that I hadn’t had time and how I was hoping to buy one on the train or at Macclesfield station. He made a note on a little pad of this and then asked me to sign what he had written down. He informed me that if I ever got pulled up on this again that “they would come down on me like a ton of bricks” which felt very much like a threat. This statement made me feel very vulnerable on top of the embarrassment I had already been subjected to, this threat I believe is unacceptable.

    Once the guy had let me go I walked back over to the ticket man to buy a ticket, the man behind me then called at me that I did not need to purchase a ticket because the train company will ask for it back. He also informed me that a letter should arrive in the post and that I will be getting a phone call which I “must not ignore otherwise I will be in a lot of trouble”. I am a UNI student, I spend a lot of time in lectures or libraries and I work. I shouldn’t have to be waiting around for a phone call.

    I just want to conclude that I feel like I have been treated very poorly. I have been subjected to public humiliation which has caused me to feel very vulnerable. Not only did it ruin my night, it has ruined the way I view your train company. This is a case of bullying, plain and simple. To be taken out of a queue, in front of many other people, when I was about to purchase a ticket, was wrong. I had not made a move to leave the station, I am not a criminal, yet I have been treated like one and I object to that. You hire staff who’s job it is to pick and single out people and treat them like criminals. We aren’t criminals, we are customers! I do not take what has happened to me lightly, all I can say is, what goes around comes around.

  27. This is my story:

    9.11.14 Ordered return tickets from Kiveton Bridge to Manchester Piccadilly online at a total cost of £20.60 and printed the booking confirmation. I chose not to have the tickets posted to my home address because I thought that they would not arrive in time for my journey. I chose to collect my tickets from Sheffield station. It stated on the booking confirmation that my card had been debited by £20.60.

    12.11.14 Caught 09.27 train at Kiveton Bridge. Showed my booking confirmation to the conductor who informed me that it wasn’t a valid ticket and that I had to purchase another one. I told him that I had already paid for my ticket and that I couldn’t collect it from Kiveton Bridge because there was no ticket office or ticket machine. He said that I should have collected my ticket from Sheffield Ticket Office before today. I said that it was ridiculous for me to travel into Sheffield and back home only to do the same journey a couple of days later and he said “I know it’s Irish but that’s the rule”. I said “It’s a good job I’m not Irish” at which point a man standing just behind said that he was grossly offended by the conductor’s racist comment. The conductor apologised but the man refused his apology and said that it was too late. I then, after some discussion, agreed to pay for the journey and produced my pensioners travelcard. The conductor then said that the travelcard wasn’t valid because I had caught the train before 09.30. I said that I thought he was splitting hairs. He then said that the best thing to do was to report the incident to his boss and let him sort it out. He scribbled down my personal details from my booking confirmation. At no stage did I refuse to purchase a ticket.

    When I arrived in Sheffield I collected my tickets from the Ticket Office and proceeded to the Manchester platform. When I arrived at the platform I bumped into the same conductor and asked him why he didn’t do the sensible thing and use his discretion regarding my Kiveton Bridge to Sheffield journey. He refused to discuss it.

    When I arrived home that evening I checked the small print on my booking confirmation and discovered the following statement in the terms and conditions: “Please note that if you are starting your journey at an unmanned station without a self service ticket machine, and have selected to collect your tickets from an alternative station, you must collect your tickets before you travel. You are not permitted to travel to that station using the booking reference or confirmation email for this booking to collect your tickets”. So, it appeared that I was wrong to challenge the conductor. I had assumed that proof of purchase was good enough.

    13.11.14 I rang Northern Rail Customer Relations Dept and spoke with a call handler explaining what had happened and went on to say that I was prepared to pay for the Kiveton Bridge to Sheffield journey the day before. He said that he could do nothing and that I would have to wait for the letter from the company to arrive and respond accordingly.

    3.12.14 Received a notification from the Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit of Nothern Rail (Ref: 5029651) asking me to respond to the incident within 14 days of the letter dated 26.11.14.

    4.12.14 Prepared response letter.

    5.12.14 Posted response letter and supporting material (recorded delivery) to Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit of Northern Rail.

    7.01.15 Received reply to my letter of 5th Dec. It stated that I had been given a “Formal Warning” having been identified as having travelled on a rail service without a valid ticket for the journey in question. It went on to say that my actions had placed me in a very serious and unlawful position. Also, following the date of this letter, any further occurrence of this nature and your failure to provide a satisfactory explanation will result in prosecution. Offences of this nature are recordable and should you be convicted you will receive a criminal record. You are advised that the facts will be kept on record but will be amended to show that a formal warning has been issued.

    Phil K

  28. Actually reading your experience has at least made me aware I now know I’m not the only one to experience such dreadful treatment by the staff of NR. I arrived at my train approx 30 seconds before it was due to depart.The driver actually watched as I ran to the doors to board,to then see him look at me directly,hand on button and close doors!I begged him to let me on explaining I had an autistic sitting waiting at my destination and I literally was frantic about her safety.He then proceeded to walk to his cab,a matter of a few steps,as I again begged through the window,he picked up his phone to inform the station he was going to depart,barely looking at me.This was late and the next train was not for another 2 hours.Other passengers who witnessed this were clearly appalled.I’ve travelled and commuted by train for years,never complaining when trains were late ,cancelled or replaced by coachesI have friends who are both drivers and guards,so I really FULLY understand how it works and this driver could have allowed me to board.It was 23.15 before I managed to reach my autistic sister,who sadly was very upset.I can only say that thankfully the staff on their next train ,were much more understanding and took the time to sit with me and talk to me.So, Alex , CEO NR,I WILL be emailing you directly with my complaint!

  29. Should you be wrongly accused of deliberately not buying a ticket when NO ONE was available to sell you a ticket, and there were NO OTHER MEANS to purchase one,and issued with a Failure To Purchase notice, Are you aware that your details are held on a database for seven years, this is in case you commit another offence, even though ‘no crime has been committed. The database is ITAL -Independent Transport Associates Limited and the email address, should you wish to bombard them with complaints is ‘customer.services@ital-uk.com’

  30. I’ve just had a similar situation – was waiting at my local station to renew my weekly pass in a large queue – when the train arrived the guy just told everyone still waiting to buy ours tickets on the train. Usually, not a problem – the conductors are more than willing to let you purchase a ticket on the train – this time the conductors said his machine wasn’t working and we’d need to get them from our destination.

    Get to Manchester Victora and rush to the ticket people, ask for a weekly only to be told to speak to their colleague, the dreaded revenue officer. I explained the situation and he said no matter, you MUST buy a ticket before boarding, no excuses, no compromises. He highlighted the ‘Northern Rail Fines and Penalties’ link at the bottom and also highlighted the IRCAS website as ‘payment’ – naturally I went to the fines and penalties website, got the phone number and spoke to someone who would ‘investigate’ – sent an email a week or so later and nothing.

    Now this is probably my fault, but next time I chased it had gone past the 21 day period you have to pay. Only now I’m told that because I didn’t contact IRCAS directly there’ll be an £80 fine on top of the ticket price.

    Speaking to them I’m told that there’s no appeals permitted for a FTP and to pay £80 plus the original ticket by a certain date or I’ll receive a court summons.

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