A UNIVERSITY professor who got off a train before his final destination was stunned when he was asked to pay £155 to leave the station.

Martyn Evans was told he would have to pay up after leaving the train at Darlington, near his home, rather than wait until Durham, where he works at the university’s philosophy department.

However, since the issue was highlighted, train company East Coast has cancelled the fee – though defended its stance by saying the policy was standard across the industry.

The company said the case highlighted the need for passengers to read their ticket’s terms and conditions before travelling.

Prof Evans had bought three advanced first-class singles from East Coast to cover his journey from Durham to London, on to Birmingham and back to Durham.

As it was approaching 8pm as he arrived in the North- East, he decided to disembark one stop early to go home to Hurworth, near Darlington.

However, when he tried to leave the station, the ticket machines would not let him out.

Station staff said his ticket was invalid because he had left the train too early and was told he would have to pay £155 – the price of the same ticket from Birmingham to Darlington.

Instead, he signed an invoice and asked to pay the ticket later.

Prof Evans said: “Like most people, it did not enter my head that I was in default of the terms and conditions by getting off the train early.

“Anyone would understand that you’d be liable to pay extra if you stayed on the train too long. But if you get off early, you have not used all the product you have paid for.

“The whole process made me feel like a wrongdoer from the start and that disgusted me more than the money itself,”

he added. “Nobody could anticipate that you’d be at fault for getting off too early.

That is madness.”

An East Coast spokesman said: “The terms and conditions of the Advanced Purchase First Class ticket, which Professor Evans had used, clearly state that breaking a journey en route, or starting from an intermediate station, is not permitted.

“We have contacted Professor Evans to discuss this with him and, as we accept this was a genuine mistake on his behalf, we have cancelled the excess fare he was charged on this occasion as a gesture of goodwill.”