A shocked rail passenger was handed a whopping £1,048 bill by ticket inspectors – after he and his family boarded the WRONG TRAIN.
The man, in his 40s, was travelling from Birmingham New Street to London Euston with 38 family and friends who had each purchased London Midland only tickets.
But they accidentally boarded the faster, and more expensive, Virgin Trains service.
Ticket inspectors discovered the family’s mistake on the 10.30am service on Monday when it pulled into Coventry.
They gave the group the option of paying £800 to travel to the next stop – 100 miles away in Watford or face an even heftier fine and prosecution through the courts.
The party eventually paid the full amount to complete their journey to London Euston.
A fellow passenger who witnessed the inspectors confront the head of the family said: “It was a pretty heart-stopping moment.
“He looked a little faint and I’m not surprised really, I mean, it’s such a lot of money.
“The inspector was very matter of fact about it all and I understand he was doing his job – but it was an honest mistake.
“I think allowances should be made when it does look like a genuine error.”
London Midland charges £6 to £70 for a single ticket for an adult to travel from Birmingham New Street to London Euston during weekdays at 10am, and £3 to £35 for a child.
Meanwhile Virgin Trains charges from £20 to £82 for an adult, and from £10 to £41 for a child.
The revenue protection policy at Virgin Trains states that it issues Unpaid Fare Notices (UFNs) to customers travelling without valid tickets who are unable to pay at the time.
A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “If people are travelling in large groups we encourage them to make the most of our group offers; on our Birmingham to London route, fares would start at £7.50 for an adult single fare (£3.75 for children).
“That would mean all 39 could have travelled for a maximum price of less than £300. We run three trains an hour between Birmingham and London Euston, with journey times of one hour 25 minutes.
“Unfortunately, if passengers have booked to travel with another operator their tickets are not valid on Virgin Trains’ services.”