YORK train operator Northern has suspended the issuing of penalty fares and closed waiting rooms at its stations in a bid to help protect passengers and staff from the coronavirus.

Northern says it has also opened all gatelines at the stations it manages, so that passengers do not have to pass paper or season tickets through the barriers or present them to staff.

A spokesman said customers would still require a ticket to travel and should buy them before they boarded trains from stations, ticket machines, and online.

"Northern is only accepting card payments at the moment – cash payments can only be made at a small number of ticket machines," he said.

He said that in the event of bad weather, Northern - which was operating an amended timetable for key workers and essential travel only - would review the situation and might look to re-open waiting areas if appropriate.

Commercial and customer director Mark Powles said the measures further limited person-to-person contact and helped staff and passengers follow the advice from government on social distancing.

Stations which are managed by Northern in the York area and North and East Yorkshire include Poppleton, Hammerton, Cattal, Selby, Scarborough, Goole, Beverley, |Driffield and Filey.