Train passenger left baffled as he faces being penalised for 'trying to do the right thing'

Train passenger left baffled as he faces being penalised for 'trying to do the right thing'

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GB News
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 06/03/2024

- 15:15

A row broke out online between an angry passenger and Northern Rail

A train passenger was penalised for “trying to do the right thing” after realising his phone may die after purchasing a rail ticket.

Jack Fifield had asked a Northern Railway staff member if he could print out his E-Ticket when it dawned on him that he forgot to bring his portable charger.

After being told he could not, he took to social media to “put this here for posterity to show I tried to do the right thing” in case he was fined.

Northern Railway’s customer service account responded to Fifield online: “Hi Jack, it is your responsibility to ensure your device is charged and ready to show your ticket. We are unable to print off E-Tickets and wouldn't be able to access your account to do so anyway.”

Northern Rail/Ticket

A row broke out online between an angry passenger and Northern Rail over an E-Ticket


Fifield snapped back at the account. He mockingly quipped: “How stupid of me to forget my responsibilities. I've failed you. I should sit in the corner and think about what I've done.”

When he asked if he could refund his return journey and then purchase a paper version in order to ensure he was travelling with the correct ticket, he was once again told no.

Northern Railway said: “If you've bought a return ticket and it's already been used on the outbound, then it's not possible to refund.”

Frustration rose within Fifield, who called out the organisation for failing to assist him despite him flagging the issue.


He questioned: “So basically I've done everything right, spotted a potential problem and contacted you guys, and the answer is that I basically have to put up with it?”

To which they replied: “Sorry you feel this way, but unfortunately if you cannot produce the ticket you have purchased, we cannot accept it.”

Fifield stressed that he did not board the train without the valid ticket, and was simply “trying to pre-emptively change my e-ticket to a mobile ticket about five minutes after I bought it because I realised I'd forgotten my portable charger”.

When one user asked if Fifield could have emailed a screenshot to the ticket office, who then could have printed it off for them, Northern Railway doubled-downed on their firm bearing: “That would not be a valid ticket as it has to be an original, not a copy.”

The interaction caused a stir online, with many users agreeing with Fifield’s view, whilst some supported Northern Railway’s stance.

 Commuters buy tickets from the ticket office

Northern Rail said that ticket booth officers would not be able to print out the E-Ticket


One user said: “They need to get some customer service training in responses. Not even a sorry to hear of your situation and understand how these things can happen and we want to help.”

“Their response is quite shocking,” a second said, whilst a third snarkily said: “It’s your [Northern Railway’s] responsibility to make your trains run on time and not cancel more than you operate but you neglect that for most of the week.”

A fourth said: “Wow this is really embarrassing behavior. How have you not deleted this?” Awful customer experience.”

However, others sided with Northern Railway on the ticket dispute.

One user said: “Your phone being dead is your problem. You wouldn’t book a taxi with no cash & a dead phone, so what’s the difference on a train?

A second added: “Shut your phone off and then you will have battery life when you actually need it. Problem solved. Your addiction to phone surfing is not an excuse.”

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