NORTHERN RAIL has recently installed a ticket machine on the platform of stations on the Bishop Auckland to Saltburn line that do not have a booking office.

This machine, touch screen operated, only has two functions i.e. to pay for a rail ticket either by debit or credit card or, quite nonsensically, to print out a Promise to Pay ticket.

Failure to obtain either before boarding results in a substantial fine.

It has been the usual custom for many years and obligatory to pay for your train journey via the conductor. I fear that this is another example of technology that may well end the customer service.

N Tate, Darlington