PASSENGERS are being warned that penalty fares are being introduced on three Northern rail routes - Lancaster to Windermere, Barrow to Lancaster (the Furness Line) and Barrow to Carlisle (the Cumbrian Coast).

The penalties will be £20 fines or double the cost of a single fare, whichever is greater. They will be enforced at destination railway stations by Northern staff, in a bid to discourage people from travelling without buying a ticket first.

The new penalty routes will go live from Sunday, June 30, said Northern.

The train operator said penalty fare routes have either ticket offices or ticket vending machines so customers can buy tickets before they travel. Tickets can also be bought from the Northern website or mobile app.

|If ticket offices are closed or machines out of order, customers will still be able to buy a ticket from the on-board conductor, Northern said.

Where customers want to pay cash, but ticket machines are card only, they will be able to obtain ‘promise to pay’ notices from the machines which can be presented, along with cash, to the conductor.

Northern said it was investing millions of pounds to introduce more than 600 new ticket machines across the network and had developed its website and mobile app to give customers more options and to make buying a ticket easier.

The company said there would "still be some circumstances in which customers are unable to buy tickets and our authorised collectors are able to use their discretion to ensure no one faces unfair penalties".

Robert Parker from the Furness Line Action Group (FLAG) said the announcement raised a number of questions.

He has asked Northern to clarify issues FLAG has identified.

"I've asked what they consider to be a 'reasonable time' to visit the ticket machine to buy a ticket," he said.

"If you look at a station like Roose, if the machine is on one platform only, for a disabled passenger to then have to walk up the road, along Roose Road, and down to the other platform, and then back again, it's a considerable walk and could take 10 minutes.

"The same would apply to Dalton. So we would like to see machines on both sides under those circumstances."