BLACKPOOL'S main railway station is set for a £600,000 first in the ongoing battle against fare dodgers.
North Station will become the first in the north to install automatic ticket gates – similar to those seen on the London Underground.
Station bosses hope the six new gates will ease rush-hour queues, as well as helping to tackle the estimated 210-million annual cost to the rail industry from people travelling without tickets.
Travellers will have to put their ticket into the machine to enter the station's platform.
Andy Murray, Blackpool North station manager, said: "We're quite excited, it's a big project. Blackpool, Manchester Oxford Road and Leeds stations have been chosen for the ticket gate system – but Blackpool is the first to trial it.
"We're looking forward to it. The main aim is to improve security for staff and our customers and increase revenue lost from people not buying tickets.
"The ticket office will have longer opening hours so people can buy tickets to get through the barriers before boarding the train.
"The gates have created extra jobs to help in the office, so the staff are very happy."
It is hoped the gates will be up and running by December 7.
Work is already under way to install the ticket gates in the main concourse, near to the ticket office.
As part of the changes, the entrance to the station from High Street will be closed and become a fire exit only.
The main entrance from Talbot Road will remain unchanged.
Steve Butcher, area director north for Northern Rail, said: "These new ticket gates are simple to use.
"I'm sure customers will soon start to see the benefits with reduced congestion during peak hours.
"They are also proven to reduce anti-social behaviour helping to maintain a more secure environment.
"The gates won't be replacing people though and our station team will continue to be on hand to advise and assist customers."