Buy Before you Board

Avoiding penalty fares and prosecutions

Buy before you board

It is vital to always purchase a ticket before you travel on a First Great Western train to avoid the risk of receiving a penalty fare.

If you board any of our trains without a ticket, at a station where ticket buying services are available, you may be charged the full Single or Return fare relevant to your journey, or be reported for prosecution, or receive a penalty fare (if travelling from a station within the penalty fares zone). If purchasing tickets on board you will not be eligible for any railcard or other discounts.

When a ticket office is closed you should use a self-service ticket machine, or a Permit to Travel machine (where available), or buy your ticket on the train. If you travel every day, it may be better (and cheaper) for you to buy a season ticket.

Penalty fares

If you join a First Great Western train at any of the designated penalty fares stations and travel to your final destination without a ticket, or a permit to travel, you will have to pay a penalty fare. This will be twice the full, single fare to the next station, or at least £20, whichever is the greater. You will also have to pay the full fare for the rest of the journey. The maps shown below clearly shows penalty fares routes and penalty fares stations:

East Penalty Fares Network Map

Central Penalty Fares Network Map

West Penalty Fares Network Map

National Rail Conditions of carriage

There are National Conditions that apply to the sale and use of rail tickets. If you would like more information, a copy of the ‘National Rail Conditions of Carriage’ booklet, is available from the National Rail website -,
Further information

This information is only a guide and is not a complete statement of the law or regulations.For further information, please call 03457 000 125. Penalty fares and prosecutions are something that most people who travel with us never have to face. To make sure you avoid the Consequences of inadvertently traveling without a valid ticket, please buy before you board.

Download full Buy before you Board Leaflet for more details