‘Tap in, tap out’ train travel to be trialled in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester’s pay-as-you-go pilot scheme is planned to include 17 stations.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 1st February 2024

‘Tap in, tap out’ train travel is set to be trialled at several stations in Greater Manchester next year as part of a new pilot scheme.

It means thousands more passengers will benefit from “simpler and more flexible” travel.

Under the new pilot schemes announced by Rail Minister Huw Merriman today (1 February), 90 railway stations across the West Midlands, and on selected routes in Greater Manchester, are set to be fitted with cutting-edge technology that allows passengers to simply ‘tap-in and tap-out’ of their local train network.

Essentially meaning there’ll be no need to plan ahead or search for the right train ticket, the Government claims passengers can rest assured knowing they’ll pay “the best fare” for their journey.

The pilot schemes are said to be part of the Government’s plans to “reform the railways”, while also delivering on ‘Trailblazer’ devolution deals that are aimed at giving local leaders and authorities a “bigger say” in how their rail network is run.


Trials will also apparently “pave the way” for the future rollout of similar technology to more stations across the North and Midlands.

This is funded, in part, by £100 million that’s been reallocated from the now-defunct HS2.


Greater Manchester’s pilot scheme is planned to include 17 stations on the Glossop to Manchester Piccadilly, and Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria lines, and will use contactless bank cards and devices to run.

The Department for Transport (DfT) say’s our region’s scheme will support the wider ambition to deliver full multi-modal fares and ticketing integration across bus, Metrolink, rail and cycle hire as part of the Bee Network by 2030.

‘Tap in, tap out’ train travel is to be trialled in Greater Manchester next year / Credit:

“We want to encourage more people back onto our trains, with tap-in technology meaning using our stations couldn’t be easier,” Rail Minister Huw Merriman said as the pilot schemes were announced this morning.


“Our railways have a long history, but projects like these, which are part of the Government’s wider plans for reform, will ensure they have a bright future too.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham added: “We are transforming how people travel in Greater Manchester, with the aim for people to pay for journeys easily and seamlessly across buses, trams, trains, and cycle hire.

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“We look forward to progressing with these new contactless rail pilots and working together to develop a more meaningful and accountable partnership that allows us to integrate local rail services across the city-region into the Bee Network.”

With plans already underway expand pay-as-you-go train travel in the South East later this year too, the pilot stations confirmed today will see the total number of ‘tap in, tap out’ stations in England increase to around 500 in 2025.

Featured Image – Rail Delivery Group (via iStock)