PASSENGERS will shortly be able to use their smart phones to travel on the Virgin Trains East Coast route from York to London and Edinburgh.

Virgin Trains is the first franchised rail operator to offer 'm-Tickets' for all ticket types and across all routes in a major step towards eliminating the traditional orange ticket.

A spokesman said the bar-coded m-Tickets which customers download to their smartphones or other mobile devices will be offered for journeys on Virgin Trains services purchased through the Virgin Trains (east coast) website or the Virgin Trains app.

"The app means that customers can both buy and use their tickets on their mobile for maximum convenience," he said.

"It also means that customers wanting to buy their tickets on the day can download the app via the free Virgin Trains station Wi-Fi, avoid queues, and select their ticket via a simpler interface than ticket machines.

East coast journeys can be booked via the east coast website for mobile m-Tickets from March 1.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said the Government wanted to build a 21st century railway that provided better journeys for all, and much simpler and smarter ticketing was a vital part of that.

"We have been clear that we will support the industry with ticketing innovation but that we also want rail companies to do what is best for their passengers, without government interference.

"The expansion of mobile tickets means more Virgin Trains customers can enjoy the benefits of this new technology, and it will help us get rid of outdated paper tangerine tickets.”