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The ‘Bashers’

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Inversnecky

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While doing some research on the Class 40s, I can across some ‘period photos’ from forty odd years ago of ‘40s bashers’.

Certainly was a revelation to me, to see photos of crowds of youngsters posing with these locos, as no one I knew ofshared my interest in railways at that age!

I wonder how many are on this forum now? Does anyone recognise themselves?! I certainly recognise the fashions of my youth: seems so long ago now...

Lots of photos and memories here:

http://www.class40motherlist.com/seminars.html

http://www.class40motherlist.com/bashers.html

https://www.bulldogz.org/post/2018/04/13/whistling-at-sixty-bashers-and-the-forties
 

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furnessvale

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As a BTP officer I had no time whatsoever for bashers.

I have known them enter locos and smash up the instrument panel on booked locos so a substitute would have to be made which, hopefully for them, would have a preferred number.
 

Inversnecky

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As a BTP officer I had no time whatsoever for bashers.

I have known them enter locos and smash up the instrument panel on booked locos so a substitute would have to be made which, hopefully for them, would have a preferred number.

I’d never really heard much of it at the time, so quite astonishing to see those photos of youngsters clambering over engines, and lines, sticking halfway out windows...
 

NorthWestRover

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Not all youngsters! I have some similar photos in my collection with some of the same characters.
 

6Gman

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The bashers I knew were older than those illustrated (as was I) and certainly never engaged in the sort of behaviour outlined above.

Did a bit of it myself c.1982/3 but certainly not to the degree others indulged in! (Didn't have the stamina for all-nighters to Stranraer and the like for one thing)

I met one guy who had taken redundancy and then indulged in one ALR (All Line Railrover) after another until the cash ran out!
 

43096

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As a BTP officer I had no time whatsoever for bashers.
Did you always tar groups with a broading sweeping brush. All commuters because the odd one gets drunk before going home in an evening, football fans (think we know the answer on them...)?
 

yorkie

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The image posted shows what looks like harmless young teenagers; I doubt they caused the sort of destruction claimed by @furnessvale though clearly, as with many other groups, some individuals who could be described as 'bashers' would have done.

I recall a trip in 2005 when some older Class 47 bashers objected to younger people being stood at windows, and hid their bags from them and other intimidating behaviour in order to get them to move away from the window. For sure, bad behaviour among 'bashers' was clearly a thing and there is evidence of this, but that doesn't mean everyone who could be described as a 'basher' engaged in antisocial behaviour.
 

NorthWestRover

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I knew a couple of those in the photo at the start of this thread. As said, we were teenagers pursuing our hobby in an enthusiastic way but if there was any vandalism going on, then I didn't know about it. As with any group of 14-18 year olds (which is what most of those were), there'll probably be a wrong 'un, but we were all pretty naive and, as rail enthusiasts, probably a bit nerdish. Happy Times lol.
 

Ashley Hill

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I'm at the wrong end of the country to know anyone in the pictures. There a few females noted in the photos,are they wives and girlfriends conned into thinking they were going for a nice day out (which IMO they were) or are they 40 bashers too?
There was so much fun to be had on a day out bashing.The trouble with seminar shots is that if you're posing for the photo then you wouldn't have a fot with you in it for yourself.
 

FGW_DID

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There a few females noted in the photos,are they wives and girlfriends conned into thinking they were going for a nice day out (which IMO they were) or are they 40 bashers too?

In the attached photo in the opening post, the young lady (r/h side, red top), I think is called Beki. Don’t know her personally but I have seen her mentioned in various other 40 bashing tales & photos. A 40 basher and there of her own accord and not as a long suffering tag-along wife / girlfriend. :D
 

furnessvale

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Did you always tar groups with a broading sweeping brush. All commuters because the odd one gets drunk before going home in an evening, football fans (think we know the answer on them...)?
Not at all. I also arrested several bashers for stealing bags of tickets being returned for audit at Derby. They would sort through them for unmarked tickets which provided them with a good source of tickets with which to pursue their hobby!
 

WesternLancer

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Not at all. I also arrested several bashers for stealing bags of tickets being returned for audit at Derby. They would sort through them for unmarked tickets which provided them with a good source of tickets with which to pursue their hobby!
I have to say that is quite enterprising! Probably on the 'Disputes and Prosecutions' forum threads...;)

Just goes to show that with robust revenue protection checks staff side this would be an easy crime to stamp out. You can start to see why the privatised railway decided that doing away with staffed ticket barriers / guards / and probably audits of old collected tickets was cheaper than running the 'infrastructure' required. :lol:

Given the potential value of such tickets one wonders how secure the railway placed them in transit en route back to Derby....
 

theblackwatch

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Not at all. I also arrested several bashers for stealing bags of tickets being returned for audit at Derby. They would sort through them for unmarked tickets which provided them with a good source of tickets with which to pursue their hobby!
Given the plural nature of what you said, would I be right in thinking that there was a failing by British Rail to change the way it dealt with sending tickets for audit when it knew of the potential for fraud?
 

furnessvale

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Given the plural nature of what you said, would I be right in thinking that there was a failing by British Rail to change the way it dealt with sending tickets for audit when it knew of the potential for fraud?
Yes, it is always the fault of the victim rather than the thief.
 

CW2

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In the attached photo in the opening post, the young lady (r/h side, red top), I think is called Beki. Don’t know her personally but I have seen her mentioned in various other 40 bashing tales & photos. A 40 basher and there of her own accord and not as a long suffering tag-along wife / girlfriend. :D
Bekky was the daughter of the buffet manager at Chester station (aka "The Dragon"), and developed a keen interest in class 40s. She later moved south and has a successful career in the railway industry.
 

Inversnecky

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Bekky was the daughter of the buffet manager at Chester station (aka "The Dragon"), and developed a keen interest in class 40s. She later moved south and has a successful career in the railway industry.

Ah right, of course those with family/work connections to the railways will be that bit more familiar and likely to get engaged...
 

Flange Squeal

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On the topic of 'bashers', this video might be of interest to those who haven't seen it before.

Be aware it does contain swearing.

 

CW2

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Ah right, of course those with family/work connections to the railways will be that bit more familiar and likely to get engaged...
No, to be fair to her, she moved well away from her home area to a location in the south east where they were recruiting staff, and entered at the lowest grade and worked her way up. The fact she already had a good knowledge of railway operations and geography obviously helped.

Given the plural nature of what you said, would I be right in thinking that there was a failing by British Rail to change the way it dealt with sending tickets for audit when it knew of the potential for fraud?
All the ticket offices were equipped with ticket cancelling nippers, which made a V shaped notch in the tickets. This made them easier to tie up, and also identified them as used i.e. no longer valid for travel. Some station / ticket office staff were too lazy to cancel the tickets - hence if they were intercepted as described they could be re-used. Incidentally the main reason for sending the old tickets back for audit was to ensure the ticket office staff weren't pocketing the proceeds, so returning the used tickets formed a vital part of that chain.
 
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D1537

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Yes, it is always the fault of the victim rather than the thief.

BR didn't help themseves, though. Most of the ticket staff in the 80s had no idea what anything that wasn't a normal ticket was and simply accepted it. I once travelled round Scotland for 10 days showing an out-of-date Midlands Railtourer ticket (not on purpose - I'd bought a Freedom of Scotland and forgotten to swap the tickets round in the wallet). This was so prevalent that most bashers knew by face (and often name) the local ticket inspectors that actually had a clue what they were doing.

Then there were ticketing farces like the Young Persons Railcard promotion for a month, where any ticket up to £15 could be bought for £5, anything from £15-£30 was £10, and anything over that was £15. So every basher simply bought themselves a Penzance to Wick return (out via Holyhead, return via Norwich and Southampton) and had a month's All Line for £15 (in fact, two months, because the returns were valid for a month as well).

I had heard myself of people being caught stealing the "frog bags" of tickets from Derby though - mind you, a lot of the bags never even made it to Derby because they vanished before they got there, either via unscrupulous staff, or because they were often transported to Derby by simply being dumped in the BG of the same trains each week ...
 

WesternLancer

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No, to be fair to her, she moved well away from her home area to a location in the south east where they were recruiting staff, and entered at the lowest grade and worked her way up. The fact she already had a good knowledge of railway operations and geography obviously helped.


All the ticket offices were equipped with ticket cancelling nippers, which made a V shaped notch in the tickets. This made them easier to tie up, and also identified them as used i.e. no longer valid for travel. Some station / ticket office staff were too lazy to cancel the tickets - hence if they were intercepted as described they could be re-used. Incidentally the main reason for sending the old tickets back for audit was to ensure the ticket office staff weren't pocketing the proceeds, so returning the used tickets formed a vital part of that chain.
Interesting to read ref the tickets and procedure
 

WesternLancer

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BR didn't help themseves, though. Most of the ticket staff in the 80s had no idea what anything that wasn't a normal ticket was and simply accepted it. I once travelled round Scotland for 10 days showing an out-of-date Midlands Railtourer ticket (not on purpose - I'd bought a Freedom of Scotland and forgotten to swap the tickets round in the wallet). This was so prevalent that most bashers knew by face (and often name) the local ticket inspectors that actually had a clue what they were doing.

Then there were ticketing farces like the Young Persons Railcard promotion for a month, where any ticket up to £15 could be bought for £5, anything from £15-£30 was £10, and anything over that was £15. So every basher simply bought themselves a Penzance to Wick return (out via Holyhead, return via Norwich and Southampton) and had a month's All Line for £15 (in fact, two months, because the returns were valid for a month as well).

I had heard myself of people being caught stealing the "frog bags" of tickets from Derby though - mind you, a lot of the bags never even made it to Derby because they vanished before they got there, either via unscrupulous staff, or because they were often transported to Derby by simply being dumped in the BG of the same trains each week ...
The 2nd one of these (Y-P card) is like an equivalent of 'tax avoidance' - an unintended consequence of a rule being exploited by those with the knowledge to do so - not really anything wrong in that - the overall promotion described probably boosted revenue significantly (didn't they do these things in really off peak months - I seem to recall using it in a cold period so probably feb or early march) - and without the internet the numbers of people who could know how to exploit it to the extent of the Penzance Wick example was probably negligible in revenue terms.

You have reminded me that I'm pretty sure I used that offer to go from Sussex to Edinburgh out via the Cumbrian Coast and Carlisle Newcastle line and back by some other interesting route, with stops / overnights in Edinburgh and Newcastle sleeping on floors of friends. There flats were freezing hence my thinking it was off peak time of year! Good times.
 

NorthWestRover

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I used the Kelloggs go anywhere for a fiver (?) tickets to do similar Wick to Penzance return. One gripper attacked my ticket with about 10 grips as he was convinced I'd overused my ticket. I hadn't and can't remember if I was checked again after that!
 
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