Smartphones may give passengers a ticket to ride

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The end of the orange paper train ticket could be as step closer as plans are unveiled to allow passengers to travel anywhere in Britain using their smartphones.

Barcoded mobile tickets - known as m-Tickets - could be extended within three years to cover journeys involving several train firms.

They have previously been limited for use with one specific operator.

The proposals will be discussed at the annual conference of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail.

A pilot scheme covering more than 230 stations in the Midlands, northern England and Scotland has seen 40,000 m-Tickets bought.

The RDG is also exploring how to enable passengers who buy tickets online with a contactless credit or debit card to use the same card to go through the barriers at the station, so they do not need to print out tickets.

Jacqueline Starr of the RDG said: “We have a vision of fully digital, mobile-friendly train travel with smarter types of quick and easy electronic tickets which are convenient, personalised and can be used on different providers’ services.

“Many train operators already offer options like tickets on mobile phones and travel using smart or contactless cards.

“The rail industry is developing technology to make buying and using train tickets simpler.”

She added: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution and we’ll continue to cater for everyone.”