Britain's railways go ticketless

3 Aug 2006 by business traveller

Two British train firms are following their mainland European counterparts and adopting eticketing. Midland Mainline (MML) and One Railway either have, or are poised to, allow passengers to book online and print out their tickets from their home or office which will eliminate queuing at station booking offices.

The paper booking is then validated by station and on-board train staff. And now Virgin Trains has indicated it will shortly announce a similar scheme covering a number of mainline services.

MML's scheme is active on various trains running from London St Pancras to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield. One's equivalent is launched on August 11 (so no details are currently posted on its website) and covers only the 50-mile London Liverpool Street to Cambridge run.

The above routes can also be booked through rail agent The Trainline. By contrast, German Rail has for some time allowed passengers to book and print out their own tickets online over practically its entire network. While France's budget IDTGV services (these are special TGVs running between Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Marseilles and Nice) also extend the same service to online passengers.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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