Legal age for child to travel alone on train

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PinkFizz | 22:12 Thu 18th Jan 2007 | Law
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I have moved to a new county and I have asked my ex-Husband if I pay the train fare,will he please put my son aged 13 on the train at his end and I will meet him at this end but he has point blank refused saying 1. He can't be bothered 2. He is too young to travel alone Now his 16 year brother will also be with him but still the dad has refused. Does anybody know if there are any age limits on children travelling on trains and if it went to court what would a judge be likely to say? I am offering to pay all the fares and be the other end as soon as the train pulls in and both my sons are happy with this. p.s. If the court didnt go my way I will of course do the whole car drive myself to see my sons. TIA XX


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why on earth would you you take him to court over not putting your son on the train? Especially if you are willing to drive to see him.
I would think it would be up to your son really as to whether he comes or not, or whether he feels comfy, and it will depend on how far it is, or how long the journey is, will they have to change trains what time of day, how grown up your sons are etc etc
sorry, i know i have no experience to base this on but what would your son think about you taking his dad to court over such a small thing? would there be any negotiating over both of you driving half way? you ask what a judge would say, and my reply would be i would imagine "stop wasting my time"
I can't find any mention of an age limit for travelling alone by rail on a quick search of several rail company web sites. The national conditions of carriage are silent on the subject.

Indeed the London Transport website implies that children as young as 5 can travel without an adult, which sounds a bit scary.

Certainly 11 year olds from my local station travel alone (well with other kids) to school in the next town.

National Express have a minimum age of 14 for unaccompanied travel

So I think (but am not 100% certain) that your husband is being awkward.

Certainly at 13 (younger I think) I travelled several hundred miles home, with a change en route, from a relatives unaccompanied and don't remember even being met at the station. But it was a Long Time Ago.
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Sorry,let me explain a bit better,

My ex hates me with a vengence ever since I divorced him. As weekends are so short,if i would drive up to get my son ,drive back and then repeat the whole thing on sun it would mean 12 hours in a car on every wkend. My son says he would like ro take the train with his 16 yr old brother but their dad says no and wont even discussit.
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bedknobs - I have had a court order in place for 10 years in which the court says the father is to do 50% of the travelling and he has refused for the whole 10 yesrs,so I have done the lot. Only now I have moved am I asking for some help.
I used to run a railway station and we regularly had youngsters travelling who were much younger than 13. (There is definitely no legal minimum age)

If you travelled by train in the South East of England, you'd see plenty of 8 year olds who travel on their own to and from independent schools, by train, every day.

My friend's son regularly travelled between his parent's home and his uncle's house. He was on his own from the moment he got into a taxi in Sheffield until he got out of one in Paris. He was perfectly sensible and responsible and there was never any concern for his safety.

Thirteen year olds need their independence. Parents have a duty to help them achieve it. It's about time that your ex-husband realised that there are only two-and-a-bit years before your son will be able to leave home, get married (with parental consent) and start raising his own family.

I'm not sure, however, what a court would say about the situation. Your best approach might be to try to force him to do his 50% of the travelling. Faced with that, he might suddenly decide that the boys are old enough to travel on their own.

Er, it's not particularly important but that bit about the young lad who regularly travelled between Sheffield and Paris, on his own, might have made more sense if I'd included his age! It was 12.

sorry pinkfizz, the bit of back story makes your willingness to go to court seem more reasonable and less lala. As i say i have no experience to base my answers regarding children on, but i suppose if we limited ourselves to reply about things we know about, this place would be half as interesting!
if the 16 year old comes on the train, wont pester power from the 13 year old make the dad change his mind? Does the 13 year old enjoy coming, or does he come with reluctance? Couldn't you just say a couple of times that your car has broken down, so only the 16 yo comes? in that case the inconvieninence and pestering of the youngest might be enough to sway the dad? (assuming the 13 yo wants to come)
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Hi guys for all your lovely replies.

I actually spoke to both my sons on the phone last night and said could I please speak to their father to try yet again ask for a bit of help.

I said could he either meet me half way,do one of the journeys( and I will pay the petrol for him) or put him on the train(again I will pay the fare) and he just said "f*uck off " and hung up!
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Yes both boys are dying to come over and especially on a train - they see it as a bit of independence and an adventure .

Do one of the journeys.

When the return journey comes, put them on the train.

Ring ex to say car has broken down and that sons are on the train.

Will work at least once........
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Yes but he isn't stupid and that would wreck any further visits. Blooming man.Grrrrr
My daughter has been travelling to Ireland on her own since the age of 7. They did change the rules a few years ago and upped it to 12. I have to leave her at depatures, so she has to make her own way to the plane, then she is met at arrivals. I
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Thats interesting ummmm.

I really don't want to do anything legal but he just makes things so awkward.
MEN! they're f ' ing f ' ers aren't they?
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lol @ bednobs.
Pinkfizz I'm in a similar situation and as your problems were 2 years ago I wondered if you managed to sort your boys visits out?
May I recommend Universal Aunts. At around �11 an hour - might be a better option - also you can claim 50% off ex.

lol about that f'in and blindin': but this is not a gender specific issue. The mother of my first three also currently does not allow my 3 aged 15, 10 and 8 to travel alone from Paddington to the West Country - my wife kindly goes to escort them - sometimes with my step daughter to keep fairs down - they actually like the trip most times as there are some good shops. My advice is not to lie or abuse him. But to make sure you have got the logic across. Sounds like he has the privilege of having the kids a third of the time and is responsible for 50% travel. It is sensible for the children to travel alone from an economic and life quality point of view. Point out that no matter how your break up happened - does he think it's how he wants his boys to learn how to talk to women - with the f'in and blindin'. I worked out that I spent 5 man weeks travelling to pick up my kids from London before I put my foot down. My leverage was knowledge that she wanted to have some time without the children.
what is the legal age for children to travel alone in a taxi
im 13 and me and my mate want to go blackpool for the day from manchester would i be allowed at my age

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