From July 2019 there are five ways to buy a ticket on the Mid Cheshire Line and new measures to stop fare evasion:
Since July there have been ticket machines on all stations along the Line (except Lostock Gralam and Mobberley). A ticket machine will issue most types of ticket and accepts payment by card. If it doesn’t issue the ticket you want or if you can’t pay by card it will issue you a ‘Promise to Pay’ card instead of a ticket.
You can buy online and collect your ticket at the ticket machine, using the credit card that you paid with.
You can buy a ticket through the Northern app on your smartphone – in which case you don’t need a physical ticket – you just show the conductor the ticket on your phone.
There are ticket offices at the larger stations along the Line – Chester, Northwich, Knutsford, Hale, Altrincham and Stockport. The staff can sell any ticket for cash or card. So if the ticket office is open then the ticket machine will not issue a Promise to Pay card.
If you have a Promise to Pay card or if you get on at Lostock Gralam or Mobberley then you should buy the ticket you need from the conductor. But if you do not have a ticket or Promise to Pay card, the conductor will only sell you a full price single ticket – unless you got on at Lostock Gralam or Mobberley, in which case you can buy any ticket.
Stopping fare evasion
Teams of ticket inspectors are now visiting stations at random. They check all tickets as passengers get off the train. If you do not have a ticket or a Promise to Pay card then you are liable to pay a Penalty Fare of £20 – unless you got on at Lostock Gralam or Mobberley and were unable to buy a ticket on the train. Inspectors have some discretion – for example if mobility problems make it very difficult for you to access a ticket machine on the other platform.
It is now your responsibility to have a ticket (or a Promise to Pay card) when you get on the train unless you get on at Lostock Gralam or Mobberley.