More than 50 pupils had their dash to school halted when a ticket inspection team swooped on trains into Clitheroe, looking for fare-dodgers.
Youngsters arriving on the train from Blackburn at 8-12 am on Tuesday had to queue up and were not allowed to leave the station until they had paid for their tickets.
Most paid up, but some who said they couldn’t pay had to give their names and addresses to the four men and one woman from Northern Rail’s revenue protection department, based at Manchester.
The swoop was part of a week-long operation between Blackburn and Clitheroe to ensure all passengers paid their fare.
Some adults were also tackled about not having a ticket.
A Northern Rail spokesperson said: “We carry out revenue protection exercises across our network to ensure customers buy a ticket to travel on our trains.
“As we have a lot of students on the Blackburn–Clitheroe line and many journeys are between unstaffed stations, the exercise ensures they realise the importance of purchasing a ticket to travel to avoid getting into trouble for fare evasion in the future.
“The benefit of carrying out this exercise early in the term ensures they have the opportunity to purchase a season ticket which will be more convenient and cost-effective for them.”
According to Northern Rail’s regulations, anyone catching a train at a staffed station – such as Blackburn – must buy a ticket before boarding.
For unstaffed stations, such as Wilpshire, Langho and Whalley, passengers must buy a ticket from the conductor on board.