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Train ticket machines aren’t working

Tickets available are limited and info isn't clear

Ticket machines at railway stations are letting train passengers down. Which? research reveals that machines don’t offer a wide enough range of tickets and aren’t clear about when, where and how tickets can be used.

Which? visited 11 mainline stations in London and found them lacking in basic tickets and information. 

Buying a ticket for tomorrow was restricted to after 4pm at one station and unavailable at others. Information buttons often failed to provide anything about ticket validity – get this wrong, and you could get a fine or miss your train altogether. 

Top five ticket machines nightmare video

See the top five problems we found with ticket machines in our ticket machines nightmares video.


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Share your stories about trains and tickets machines using our trains and ticket machines story share. 

We’ll pass on our findings to the Department for Transport and the train operating companies to show them the problems passengers are having.

Which? says

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd told us: ‘Ticket office hours are being cut, often leaving people with little choice but to use a machine. It is only fair that machines sell exactly the same tickets as websites or ticket offices. We are calling on the train companies to update their machines and also make it crystal clear how, when and where tickets can be used.’

Which? has shared its findings with each of the relevant train companies, trade body Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) as well as the Department for Transport (DfT). 

Unless action is taken by the industry to improve ticket machines for passengers, we believe the DfT should address this issue as part of its Rail Fares and Ticketing Review.

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