Workmen's Tickets in the 1950s

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Does anyone know anything about Workmen's Tickets in the 1950s?
Were these issued only for short distance commutes, or available for longer journeys?

The background to my question is this:-

- My grandad was a keen recreational fisherman.
- In the 1950s, maybe into the 1960s, he made train trips from Wigan to Oswestry to go fishing there.
- He told the story of making these trips using a Workman's Ticket and having to dodge inquisitive booking clerks and ticket inspectors along the way, who would query why a "workman" was carrying a fishing basket, rods and the like.
- Now that I'm older and wiser, my understanding is that Workmen's Tickets were a carry-over from 19th Century legislation aimed at alleviating overcrowding and slum housing in cities. As such, I'd expect these tickets would only have existed for fairly short commuter trips around big towns & cities, not for a 68-mile cross-country journey involving three trains, like Wigan - Crewe - Whitchurch - Oswestry.

So was a Workman's Ticket really available for such a long journey?


According to the 1959 LMR timetable, a likely itinerary was as below.
My grandfather passed away years ago (not likely to appear in the Prosecutions Forum saying "So I made a bit of a mistake on my way to Oswestry ...."), which means I can't ask him my second question:- What is it about the fishing in Oswestry that makes such a punishing day trip worthwhile, considering the amount of time spent sitting on railway platforms waiting for connections?
Maybe any fishing enthusiasts on here can enlighten me on that.

Out:-
Wigan NW dep 0617 - Crewe arr 0736
Crewe dep 0840 - Whitchurch arr 0910
Whitchurch dep 0945 - Oswestry arr 1032

Return:-
Oswestry dep 1550 - Crewe arr 1720 (a through train from Aberystwyth)
Crewe dep 1810 - Wigan NW arr 1931
or:-
Oswestry dep 1725 - Whitchurch arr 1812
Whitchurch dep 1820 - Crewe arr 1848
Crewe dep 2046 - Wigan NW arr 2143
 
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30907

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No expert, but I thought Workmen's Tickets were only valid until 8am outward - certainly the case in London.

Only a thought, but I wonder if grandad actually used one (or even a split?) from Wigan to Crewe and then full fare?
 

Bevan Price

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Cannot answer about workman's tickets, but at that time, there would be advantages in rebooking at somewhere like Crewe. Although fares were all "distance-based", the availability of day return tickets was patchy, and generally applied only to shortish trips. Where available, day returns were usually much cheaper than ordinary returns (which cost the same as 2 singles). So separate day returns, Wigan-Crewe & Crewe - Oswestry would be cheaper than a Wigan - Oswestry ordinary return. Note also that, until some time in the 1960s, day returns (outside London) often had no peak hour restrictions.
 

lincolnshire

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There was a workman's style ticket for the workers who commuted to Blackburns Aircraft Factory ( later British Areospace Factory ) at Brough.
There was even trains that just run back and forth from Hull to Brough especially to get staff there and back home and even ran at lunchtime on a friday as it was half day for the staff. The trains have gone and only a few staff seem to now travel by train to work these days.
 

Taunton

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My experience from family and friends a generation ago was that, no different to today, they would use all sorts of incorrect expressions (which grated on my youthful mind) for railway aspects, so someone might well have referred to a "Workmans Ticket" for any sort of different fare; an Excursion, a Cheap Day, or whatever. The old GWR used to have comparable "Market Day" cheap tickets, long gone into nationalisation, but I remember this expression still being used for what turned out to be a Cheap Day Return on Saturdays (Taunton market day), no different to the Cheap Day fare on any other day.
 
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Foxcote

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I attended the Railway Training Centre in Derby during 1957 and received six weeks training in Booking Office, Parcel Office and Goods Office work. I recall issuing the Early Morning Tickets. (aka Workman's) They were valid on any train arriving at destination by 0800, or where specially authorised, by 0830 and return by any train. They were issued to a maximum of 60 miles radius. Both 1st and 2nd class tickets were grey in colour. Five and six day tickets were also available, -but did not have any discount.

There was a concession for which Artisans, Mechanics and Labourers on shift work could apply. EMT were issued and were valid outward by any train and returning by 1200 noon the following day. Holders and their employer had to sign a special card with green lettering on a white background, which the holder had to carry. This was overstamped with an 'S' to denote the extended validity. The card was renewed every six months by District Office.

It is possible that after the journey from Wigan to Crewe, your grandad may have bought a Special Cheap Day Return (1st class yellow, 2nd class lavender, both overprinted with a 'D') These were valid on any train and fares/conditions were controlled by the District Office. I have some memory of these gradually replacing the EMTs.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Apologies, I wish to clarify my previous post. For the artisans etc, the EMT ticket was overstamped with the letter 'S' not the authority card.

As a price guide, the standard second class fare in the 1950s was;
1 May 1952 to 4.6.55. at 1.75 pence per mile.
5.6.55. To 14.9.57. at 1.88 pence per mile.
15.9.57 at 2 pence per mile.
 
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Thanks for the informative comments.

We’ll never know what “creative” ticketing strategy my grandfather actually used (or his secret fishing spot in Oswestry), but it seems likely some sort of split was involved, and a Workman’s / Early Morning Ticket for the 35-mile Wigan/Crewe leg sounds plausible. I’m sure his journey involved some sort of restricted ticket, as the point of the slightly conspiratorial story told to his grandchildren was that he wasn't supposed to have fishing tackle with him.

Also remarkable is this is the only dodgy thing I'm aware of my grandad doing. In all other respects he was very old-school, honest and law-abiding. He would have been furious if anyone else in the family were to be caught cheating, stealing or not paying their proper bus or train fare.
 

Taunton

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I also heard this "conspiratorial" attitude to cheap tickets from older relatives at those times, about what the WR (and possibly GWR before them) sold as "Excursion Fares". Some were on special trains, others by regular services, but, being a day return concept, apparently you were "not allowed to take luggage". Don't know if anyone was turned away or surcharged, but allegedly ticket collectors etc would suck in their breath, although nothing more, if they saw passengers with excursion tickets and suitcases, and there were lurid stories about "sneaking out the back way" from Taunton down side platform, or being met by someone with a platform ticket (apparently free in GWR days) to carry out your bags.

Workmen's tickets were a hangover from the earliest days of the railway, because they had often been put into Acts of Parliament authorising lines built into city centres which tended to displace large amounts of the lowest-priced housing. The theory was that said low-income "workers" would now live out in the suburbs but be able to commute into the centre by train at half fare. This ignored what they might do in the several years between their house being demolished and the railway opened, and also that such workers often could not afford any fare at all, but walked to work. They did however form a useful segmentation of the market, to the extent that on shorter trips a train could make one inward trip before 0800 at workers fares, then back out to do a second trip for higher paid staff who started at 0900, at normal fares. Poorer-paid junior clerical staff who also started at 0900 would often take the earlier workmen's train and just hang around until their offices opened. In the City of London this was so prevalent that some churches opened in winter to give somewhere heated (somewhat), sheltered and to sit.
 
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30907

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Thanks for the informative comments.

We’ll never know what “creative” ticketing strategy my grandfather actually used (or his secret fishing spot in Oswestry), but it seems likely some sort of split was involved, and a Workman’s / Early Morning Ticket for the 35-mile Wigan/Crewe leg sounds plausible. I’m sure his journey involved some sort of restricted ticket, as the point of the slightly conspiratorial story told to his grandchildren was that he wasn't supposed to have fishing tackle with him.

The point being that not many people would have fishing tackle among their regulation toolkit - though there is a recorded instance on the Island of Sodor....:)
 
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