By Stephanie
03 May 2023

Paragon ID revolutionises the production of the iconic UK rail ticket



Paragon ID is pleased to share that it has revolutionised the production process for magnetic rail tickets in the UK to reduce the environmental impact by 87%

Paragon ID is the sole supplier of the familiar orange magnetic rail tickets to UK train operators. These were previously manufactured using a solvent-based system to produce the magnetic strip on the reverse of the ticket, which holds passenger journey data and is read by entry and exit barriers. In partnership with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), a two year-long project involved a £230k investment to change the solvent-based production system to a water-based one. 

During the project a total of 11,000 tickets were tested for durability and compatibility with the rail network. This was carried out using the testing facilities at RDG and in conjunction with various ticket machine manufacturers and operators such as Fast Rail Tickets, Flowbird, LNER and Hull Trains.

The programme's success has resulted in an average reduction of 69 tonnes of solvent emissions per year, a more environmentally friendly train ticket and the potential for the production process to be recognised as a Best Available Technique (BAT) by Hull City Council.

With the UK rail industry as a pioneer of the new process, the project kickstarts a new standard in train ticket production worldwide, with Paragon ID looking to expand into transport systems in major cities globally. The demand for paper-based tickets still sits comfortably at around 500m per year in the UK, with the Rail Delivery Group investing in encouraging passengers back onto the railway post-COVID.

Ryan Mellors, General Manager – BBP at Paragon ID commented:

“We are proud of our long-standing relationship with RDG, producing millions of magnetic rail tickets and associated travel products each year. This project is an excellent example of our successful collaboration, this time with the shared goal of protecting the environment and increasing sustainability while continuing to provide a quality product for rail customers across the UK”.

For Paragon ID, the solution will now be rolled out across other sites around the globe, benefitting other transport operators in Europe and beyond such as the Paris rail network, and helping them to reduce their impact on the environment. 

The resulting engineering improvements of this project, together with additional refurbishments to Paragon ID’s Hull site, was unveiled to the press and a senior cohort of representatives from Paragon ID on 8th December 2022. 

We are excited about the launch of these water-based environmentally friendly tickets. The new tickets are the outcome of a successful two-year partnership between RDG and Paragon ID.