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Penalty fares hit by mix-up.

TRAIN ticket dodgers have been let off the hook after a penalty fares mix-up sunk plans to increase fines.

Central Trains launched pounds 10 fines last autumn and within weeks halved ticketless travel - estimated to cost the company pounds 2 million a year.

But now Midland rail service coordinator Centro, which drew up the original scheme, has lost a bid to raise the penalty to pounds 20 - because it forgot to get Central Trains' approval.

The rail regulator gave permission for the pounds 10 fines last September. Within a month, ticketless travel was slashed from eight to four per cent and stands at just below three per cent today.

But Centro's fresh bid to raise the fine has hit the buffers because of the communication blunder.

Company spokesman Tom Magrath said: "We will submit a fresh application in the autumn - containing Central Trains' official views."

A Central Trains spokesman said: "We definitely support an increase to pounds 20."

Seasick sailor

flown from race

A YACHTSWOMAN taking part in a sea race was airlifted to hospital yesterday - after suffering from seasickness.

Stephanie Smith, aged 47, from Coventry, suffered severe vomiting and dehydration for nearly two hours before finally being winched from her boat, named Sweet Memories.

She had been at sea for eight hours in strong winds and blistering heat, taking part in the Isle of Wight's Round the Island Race.

Solent coastguard George Doughty said: "She was airlifted by helicopter and then taken by ambulance to hospital. She was in a lot of distress.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Larner, Tony
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 27, 1999
Words:254
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