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Rail Travel mid 20th Century


Inspection of train tickets before automatic barriers

ticket inspection for entry onto a platform

Ticket inspection at the start of a train journey

To get onto a railway station platform, we had to show our travel tickets or platform tickets to a member of station staff who would be standing in uniform at the platform gate. There was usually one or more of them on duty - although this wasn't always the case. Sometimes the tickets were snipped to confirm that they had been seen. Automatic barriers were years away.

1940s ticket collector checking a passenger's train tickets as he enters a platform at a large city rail terminus

Ticket collector checking passengers' train tickets at the beginning of a journey at a large major station. The gate is half closed to force passengers to enter in single file.

Ticket inspection at the end of a train journey

To leave the platform at the end of a journey, we had to give up our tickets to a ticket collector who stood at the platform gate. I never understood how tickets could be inspected properly when hoards of passengers streamed on and off a busy train, but some passengers certainly were called back, so there must have been some cheating.

1940s ticket collector checking and collecting passengers' train tickets as they leave a platform at a large city rail terminus

Ticket collection at a large major station

1940s ticket collector checking and collecting passengers' train tickets at the end of a journey to a small rural station

Ticket collection at a small rural station

All the above images are enhanced and colourised crops of screenshots from old black and white films.

Platform gates: half open, fully open or shut?

The gates to platforms in mainline stations were half-closed for passengers entering, as shown in the above photo. This ensured single file and prevented anyone bypassing the checking process. The gates were fully opened for passengers leaving the platform, so minimising the crush of so many passengers leaving together. Platform gates were also completely closed where there was currently no service.

Douglas Adam

Ticket inspection on trains

Tickets were not normally checked on the train although there were random inspections.

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