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The new Booking Office, 1963

A new booking office was opened at Grantham station on Sunday 19th May 1963 as part of a national programme of station improvements brought about under the British Railways Modernisation Plan of 1955.  Referring to the coming improvements The Grantham Journal of Friday March 29th 1963 announced:

…arrived at the station this week is the latest model in ticket printing machines, costing over £6,000. [which is equivalent to around £120k today]

The local paper described the updated facilities in its edition of Friday May 17th 1963:

Re-designed ticket office comes into use on Sunday

Grantham railway station is now taking on a new look.  It is in the process of being repainted, and at the same time the ticket and enquiry offices have been entirely re-designed and re-equipped, and will be brought into use on Sunday.

The new ticket office has two booking windows, an enquiry lobby and adjoining messroom.  The clear glass screen is fitted with 'Melaphone' [] speaking windows at the booking positions, and the office is furnished throughout with standard steel unit equipment, giving the advantage of wide adaptability, tidy appearance and easy maintenance.

The office is equipped with a Multiprinter Major ticket printing, issuing and accounting machine.  This machine is capable of printing 1,260 different tickets from 'blanks' in various colours, and will give full mechanisation of ticket issue at Grantham except for 'blank' and season tickets.  The machine will enable the station to dispense with their large stocks of pre-printed tickets and eliminate the old, laborious and time-consuming process of calculating the value of tickets sold.  A totalisor amount of the cash value of tickets printed by the machine can be obtained within a few minutes, and an individual record of each ticket is concurrently printed at time of issue.

The Booking Office from behind the counter on Thursday 30th April 1964. The passenger entrance from Station Road is in the background.
There is a blend of modern and traditional. The AEG ‘Multiprinter’ ticket printing machine on the right has replaced the racks of pre-printed tickets which used to line railway booking office walls. On the left near the window is an old-style dating press for issuing tickets not available from the machine.
The booking clerks are Margaret 'Peggy' Wright and Tony Bradbury.  Formerly Peggy Watson, Margaret's father 'Gus' Watson lost his life while working on the railway as a result of a tragic collision near Barkston Junction in January 1936 which claimed the lives of eight local railwaymen.  Tony was a very good footballer who played for St Anne’s FC - home ground 'The Meres' in Grantham - for many years.
Photograph taken by Cedric Clayson

BR had a number of these expensive machines (marketed in the UK by Westinghouse-Garrard) located at the bigger stations.  The Eastern, London Midland, Western and Scottish Regions had them.  They contained hundreds of individual printing plates, and the one required was selected by moving the carriage such that the two lines intersected at the required destination on the schematic map.  A blank card was inserted and the large button/lever pressed, whereupon the ticket was printed.  Multiprinters gradually disappeared in the run-up to conversion to APTIS (the Advanced Passenger Ticket Issuing System) which issued credit-card sized tickets with a magnetic stripe on the centre of the reverse which could be encoded to operate ticket barriers.  [Information from The Transport Ticket Society (]

Alongside the re-equipped booking office the Ticket Collectors received a new, heated booth.

The work of a station ticket collector could be a long, cold shift, and a heated booth was provided during station improvements carried out in 1963. On Friday March 29th 1963 The Grantham Journal reported that (p.6): 'Painting work on the improvements has been nearly completed, together with the installation of new heating and lighting at the ticket barrier.'
The woman is a police officer.
Photograph taken by Cedric Clayson on Thursday 9th April 1964.

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2 thoughts on “The new Booking Office, 1963

  1. Manjit Gill

    This is brilliant as I joined BR back in 1979 and we still had these incredible machines - loved the photos and I am still currently working for Avanti Trains with another new ticketing system called Pico.

    1. TracksthroughGrantham1

      Hello Manjit,
      Thank you very much for getting in touch – we’re grateful for your comment.
      We’re pleased to hear that you appreciate the photos from the 1960s. I’ve looked up the ‘PICO4UK’ system, which of course is very much suited to the digital era of today. You have seen some sweeping changes in your time on the railway.
      Best wishes,
      John Clayson


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