Fare evasion and not having a ticket in the 1970s

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StephenHunter

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If you were caught without a ticket back in the 1970s, how would the matter be generally dealt with? It's for a story.
 
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randyrippley

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I can't answer your question, but the options to do it were much less: most stations had ticket check on entrance. There were few exceptions, Yeovil Junction was one, where the physical layout prevented entry checks. At one stage Yeovil Junction was claimed to be the only open station on BR, though that seems unlikely

Your story will need to match the way tickets were checked at the relevant stations
 

PeterC

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If you were caught without a ticket back in the 1970s, how would the matter be generally dealt with? It's for a story.
I remember that in the morning rush you could get by with waving a wallet with almost any piece of card.

I could happily travel using my building pass (we didn't wear them round our necks back then) but I could never get into the office by showing my season ticket
 

peteb

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Time to admit a friend and I travelled in the first class section of a Swindon cross country dmu from Hagley to Birmingham New St c. 1976. I think it was the 1.13pm departure. Mainly we were curious about the internal layout, airline style seats in cabin behind driver, unusual in those days...The guard simply excessed our child fare tickets to 1st and as we had return tickets we travelled home on probably the same dmu in 1st class, arriving Hagley c.4.40pm. I recall this clearly as the 'regular' brolly weilding suited commuters pointed out we were in 1st class and we rather cheekily said we had first class tickets, so what? A ticket inspection after Stourbridge Junction revealed several of these 'regulars' did not hold 1st class tickets themselves and were told to move!! Not us!!
 

Andy R. A.

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Scratching my head going back almost 50 years I sometimes covered a job which did nothing but deal with the aftermath of ticketless travel. It was a gloomy job in an even more gloomy office. I seem to recall you would get a raft of reports each day where Guards/Ticket Collectors had taken down particulars of persons travelling without a ticket. At that time there was no sure way of verifying Names and Addresses unless the Guard/Ticket Collector had managed to check some form of ID the person had with them. I think we had a pad of pre-printed letters with blanks in the wording to fill in with the places it had taken place, and amounts owing. I found one old blank example but unfortunately it only relates to Season tickets that had been 'left at home'. Anyway the letter was duly filled in and mailed out. (At that time we had to get some petty cash from the Booking Office to buy several sheets of stamps, and the details would all be entered in a large book for Audit purposes). I think an Administrative charge was added to the total owed ? I don't remember what the success rate was in recovering monies owed, but we did get some results. If a certain individual seemed to be racking up a lot of unpaid fares it was passed along to another department for possible court proceedings.
Many years later I had moved to another job and got called as a witness for the prosecution in the case of a frequent Fare Dodger. On a particularly snowy January day I had to make an an 80 mile journey to Hatfield Local Court, along with about half a dozen other railway staff witnesses, all having been given a paid day off to attend. As it turned out the person decided to plead guilty and was fined, without one of the witnesses having been called to say a word.
 

Welshman

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The Ticket Collector at the barrier had a pad of excess fare tickets, just needing the details to be inserted, and would write out a ticket then and there, keeping a copy in his pad using carbon paper. At the end of his shift, he'd pay any excess monies into the booking office, the clerk checking the amount against the carbon copies.

As has been said upthread, more stations were barriered in those days, making access to a platform and a train without a ticket more difficult. The Collector would know of those stations on his line which were not barriered, and, providing the train had stopped there, would happliy accept the passenger had boarded there. If, though, the passenger claimed he had boarded at the nearest station, and the collector knew it was barriered, he would become suspicious and question the passenger more closely, and eventually refer the matter to the station master if there was no satisfactory outcome.

I was familar with Halifax station in the early 1960s, and the barrier then was supervised for as long as there were trains - the first shift started at 4am, and the last ended at 11pm!
 

Dr Hoo

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It would be helpful to have a bit more context because arrangements were very variable, given how diverse stations and journeys are. Stepping off the Flying Scotsman (non-stop from Newcastle) at King's Cross with no ticket was obviously rather different from alighting from a diesel unit that had called at a few unstaffed stations at some sleepy country station where the 'railman' was probably yawning at a doorway.

It also depends on how 'savvy' or 'blaggy' the traveller was. E.g. "I must have left my ticket on the train", "The guard never got round to me", "I had to run for the train because my bike got a puncture, can I pay from [Anytown]".

Sad to say, it was by no means unknown for staff to accept cash pressed into their hand for an "excess fare" but never get round to formally booking it after the passenger who 'couldn't wait for his chit' had happily dashed off.

Plenty more scenarios...
 

Gloster

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I presume that you mean that he or she had boarded the train at Folkestone Harbour, but was found on arrival at Victoria to have no ticket. In that case they would probably be asked to pay the fare at the barrier and given a paper excess ticket. Recollection is that the guard or a TTI would have probably gone through the train on the journey so this shouldn’t happen.
 

D6130

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At one stage Yeovil Junction was claimed to be the only open station on BR, though that seems unlikely
I would say 'very unlikely'! In my experience the majority of rural stations in Scotland never had any form of ticket barrier control....particularly on the West Highland lines. Oban, Fort William and Mallaig were exceptions.
 

Taunton

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There was a standard "initiative test" for naval officer trainees at Dartmouth in the 1950s-70s at least, where they were taken by sealed van somewhere (the Brecon Beacons were a favourite once the Severn Bridge opened), with no money, no food, and expected (and timed) for how long it took them to get back to Dartmouth. Obviously the best approach was sneaking back by train. Railway enthusiasts normally did particularly well!

But interesting that one branch of the government expected something to be done that another branch would take you to court over.

Old hand Western Region guards, which had more than its fair share of those who had done their time in the navy, had an ability to spot same skulking in the shadows, and depending on their temprament might even invite them into the van for a cup of tea.

Wonderful story about one who beat the van back! He realised when put down that he was only about 10 miles from home, so called there reverse charges and his dad came out and drove him straight to Dartmouth. He absolutely refused to give details of what he had done (there was no procedure for this) and gave increasing levels of authority nothing more than name, rank and number.
 

ChiefPlanner

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There was a standard "initiative test" for naval officer trainees at Dartmouth in the 1950s-70s at least, where they were taken by sealed van somewhere (the Brecon Beacons were a favourite once the Severn Bridge opened), with no money, no food, and expected (and timed) for how long it took them to get back to Dartmouth. Obviously the best approach was sneaking back by train. Railway enthusiasts normally did particularly well!

But interesting that one branch of the government expected something to be done that another branch would take you to court over.

Old hand Western Region guards, which had more than its fair share of those who had done their time in the navy, had an ability to spot same skulking in the shadows, and depending on their temprament might even invite them into the van for a cup of tea.

Wonderful story about one who beat the van back! He realised when put down that he was only about 10 miles from home, so called there reverse charges and his dad came out and drove him straight to Dartmouth. He absolutely refused to give details of what he had done (there was no procedure for this) and gave increasing levels of authority nothing more than name, rank and number.

Excellent - this "intiative" test was carried forward into the 1990's from recollection , and I gather rail staff were usually co-operative.

Being an honest boy - I never fare dodged but I did over ride Newport to Temple Meads for romantic reasons. No check on the first stage , but the guard asked me to pay a return from Newport - Bristol , but when I mentioned the background for the extra ride , he laughed and just excessed me a single.

Certainly in the London area - most collectors would take any "reasonable" fare offered at a barrier as it was less provocative and "something" was received for the journey.
 

Gloster

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Recollection of travelling through Folkestone, although I normally only went out that way, is that it would probably be possible to gain access to the platforms without a ticket, either deliberately or accidentally, without too much trouble. However, I usually seemed to reenter the UK via Dover, so my recollections may not be complete.
 

matt_world2004

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Did BR publish ticketless travel estimates or the number of prosecutions. I wonder if someone has access to Athens can see if there are any court records of ticketless travel
 

Pinza-C55

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I worked at Kings Cross 1983 -89 and I was told that the barrier staff at Hatfield would take enough fare money to buy a few rounds in the Great Northern pub then when they ran out of money they'd go back to the barrier and repeat this till closing time.
 
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Once in the late 1970s I arrived at Wigan NW mid-evening on the final homeward leg of an overseas trip with a Gatwick Airport to Warrington BQ rail ticket.

I offered the collector on the barrier the exact cash for a Warrington to Wigan single*, which he gladly took and waved me through. No recollection of seeing any Excess Fare pad or carbon-paper copy during that transaction! No doubt I'd just funded an end-of-shift pint at the Swan and Railway across the road.

* my ticket was some special promotional deal as part of a travel package, so not a simple matter to excess it in the normal way. I didn't know at the time that I could have easily bought a legitimate WBQ to WGN single when passing through Euston, but they were the "good old days".
 

Islineclear3_1

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If you were caught without a ticket back in the 1970s, how would the matter be generally dealt with? It's for a story.
I never got caught. So I can't answer the question

Was easy to bunk it up to London in a 2 Hap and just hid in the toilet if the guard came along. Of course, the child fare from the Kent Coast was about £1 back then...

There were no barriers/gates back then and I don't remember ever seeing BR ticket inspectors. Perhaps I was just lucky...
 
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I remember on-train ticket checks by guards or travelling inspectors was rare during the era in the OP's question.

The exceptions, in my experience, were either on Paytrain lines (which was sometimes a case of "anyone want a ticket?", rather than "All Tickets Please!"), or on Inter-City trains into Euston - where the guard usually came through to check & collect tickets after the last stop (Rugby on the trains I tended to use).

Only once do I recall a surprise encounter with a BR Travelling Ticket Inspector on a train. Fortunately all was in order on that occasion - just as well, as this individual was very authoritative, brisk and impressive, wearing a smart black overcoat and peaked cap embossed with much gold braid, and looked like he'd heard it all before and would stand no nonsense.

So I can't report the consequences of any irregular ticketing.
Were all those old-school Travelling Ticket Inspectors like that, or did I just come across a particularly commanding Ober-gripper-führer?
 

D6130

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Were all those old-school Travelling Ticket Inspectors like that, or did I just come across a particularly commanding Ober-gripper-führer?
In my experience, most of them were like that....it seemed to be an essential qualification for the job. I remember one in particular on the Southern Region who was an ex-Military Policeman. There were exceptions of course.
 

nickw1

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In my experience, most of them were like that....it seemed to be an essential qualification for the job. I remember one in particular on the Southern Region who was an ex-Military Policeman. There were exceptions of course.

Not the 70s but the 80s, but does anyone remember the one on the Portsmouth Direct, who said "Tickets please... Your tickets please!" in a rather sing-song way? People used to call him "Charles de Gaulle" as he resembled said individual.
 

LowLevel

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I remember on-train ticket checks by guards or travelling inspectors was rare during the era in the OP's question.

The exceptions, in my experience, were either on Paytrain lines (which was sometimes a case of "anyone want a ticket?", rather than "All Tickets Please!"), or on Inter-City trains into Euston - where the guard usually came through to check & collect tickets after the last stop (Rugby on the trains I tended to use).

Only once do I recall a surprise encounter with a BR Travelling Ticket Inspector on a train. Fortunately all was in order on that occasion - just as well, as this individual was very authoritative, brisk and impressive, wearing a smart black overcoat and peaked cap embossed with much gold braid, and looked like he'd heard it all before and would stand no nonsense.

So I can't report the consequences of any irregular ticketing.
Were all those old-school Travelling Ticket Inspectors like that, or did I just come across a particularly commanding Ober-gripper-führer?

I wasn't around at the time but anecdotes from friends and colleagues who were seemed to suggest BR TTIs largely followed that form, including the black bag to carry their hat around in so they could board trains somewhat more incognito.

Depending on the inspector there was no "not cooperating, what are you going to do" either - many were equally adept at booting people out of doors or hooking them with elbows if need be.

Even into the early 2000s before the advent of CCTV and data recorders stopping at disused stations for handy drivers, guards and inspectors to deposit unfortunate individuals wasn't unusual. I know a retired conductor who spent several decades as a corporal in the Far East who used to relish battering anyone who was unwise enough to try and follow through on a threat to do him harm.
 

Taunton

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Were all those old-school Travelling Ticket Inspectors like that, or did I just come across a particularly commanding Ober-gripper-führer?
Disappointingly, they were somewhat lower down in the railway pecking order. But they did get a smart uniform, with hat, which was always worn.

On the day Liverpool-Plymouth train in the 1960s one always worked through between Shrewsbury and Hereford, being based at one point or the other. They typically had a regular "beat". They were as much seen as passenger assistance as enforcement. One also always got on the westbound Atlantic Coast Express after Salisbury, going through before it was split up into its multiple separate sections for different destinations to ensure everyone was sat in the right coach. Guards didn't do ticket matters in those times, they were there to guard the mails in the van, and look after the train operational matters.
 

D6130

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Not the 70s but the 80s, but does anyone remember the one on the Portsmouth Direct, who said "Tickets please... Your tickets please!" in a rather sing-song way? People used to call him "Charles de Gaulle" as he resembled said individual.
Ah yes....that was the one and only David Weeks from Petersfield, who was a TTC (Travelling Ticket Collector), rather than a TTI (Travelling Ticket Inspector) and therefore wore a silver braided Leading Railman's uniform, rather than a gold-braided TTI uniform. Although retired for many years, David is still going strong at the age of 80 and is a great character. In his off-duty hours he was -and still is - a great showman and circus afficianado, being both a qualified ringmaster and clown. He has appeared in TV commercials for both British Rail and McDonalds. Google him for lots more info.
 

nickw1

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Ah yes....that was the one and only David Weeks from Petersfield, who was a TTC (Travelling Ticket Collector), rather than a TTI (Travelling Ticket Inspector) and therefore wore a silver braided Leading Railman's uniform, rather than a gold-braided TTI uniform. Although retired for many years, David is still going strong at the age of 80 and is a great character. In his off-duty hours he was -and still is - a great showman and circus afficianado, being both a qualified ringmaster and clown. He has appeared in TV commercials for both British Rail and McDonalds. Google him for lots more info.

OK thanks! Interesting to know...
 
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