Ticket inspection

Well, for a little while now we have had ticket inspections (at least at peak hours) at Birmingham Moor Street and University, as well as New Street. This means at least 3 inspections during each journey to and from work. Sometimes they collect the tickets, sometimes not – and sometimes they try to collect even if I haven’t reached the end of the journey and need to gently remind them that I need to keep it for the rest of the journey.

These companies would do well to read Railway Management at Stations by E.B. Ivatts of the Midland Great Western Railway (5th Ed, 1910, published by McCorquodale & Co. Ltd.). He starts well and then it gets a little odd:

The examination and collection of tickets, either at a ticket platform or an exit gate, is a process which should be done with the greatest possible speed, consistent with accuracy. A fumbling ticket collector unnecessarily detaining a train full of passengers is a deplorable sight. Either old men or youths are generally unfit for the duty, unless where an old man has been always a ticket collector. Active, intelligent young men, of over twenty years of age, are most suitable. A man with a prominence of the forehead just over the eyes will make a quick ticket collector. By passing the finger up the front of the nose to where the nose joins the forehead, in some men, the skull at this point, which may be termed the root of the nose, will be found to protrude, and, in some instances, form quite a lump. Men of this type are quick, ready and observant, and most good detectives have this development. If the hair of the head and whiskers also is fine in texture and quality, so will the owner be the more incisive and perfecting in character. A ploughman cannot be expected to make a watch, nor will a clumsy, lolling man make a ticket collector.


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