Train Passenger Baffled as He Faces Penalty for 'Trying to Do the Right Thing'

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.07 - 2024 9:59 AM CET

Photo: Larry McGuirk /
Photo: Larry McGuirk /
Train passenger faces penalty despite good intentions, sparking a debate online.

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A train passenger, Jack Fifield, faced a dilemma and potential penalty after realizing his phone, which held his E-Ticket, might run out of battery. He sought help from Northern Railway to print his ticket but was refused, leading him to voice his frustration on social media to prove his attempt to act responsibly.

Northern Railway responded to Fifield's complaint, stating, "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."

Fifield sarcastically replied, “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 Fifield asked if he could refund his return ticket and purchase a paper version instead to ensure he was traveling with the correct documentation, customer service once again told him no.

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

Fifield argued he had tried to switch his e-ticket to a paper ticket shortly after purchase due to forgetting his portable charger, seeking a proactive solution to avoid any issues.

He inquired, “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?”

The customer service team responded, “Sorry you feel this way, but unfortunately if you cannot produce the ticket you have purchased, we cannot accept it.”

Fifield emphasized that he never attempted to board the train without a valid ticket; he was merely “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.”

The exchange sparked debate online.

many users agreeing with Fifield’s quest for a practical solution and criticizing Northern Railway's customer service. Others, however, pointed out the responsibility lies with the passenger to ensure their phone is charged for digital ticketing, suggesting turning off the phone to save battery or acknowledging personal accountability for phone usage.

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