Whistle blown on long-standing tradition of clipping train tickets

Conductor/Guard Peter Francis collects fares on the Norwich to Sheringham Train pic taken 25

Conductor/Guard Peter Francis collects fares on the Norwich to Sheringham Train pic taken 25th October 1983 c11941 pic to be used in edp2 16th March 2009 - Credit: Archant

Millions of train-users know the distinctive sound of a ticket being clipped by a conductor.

The gentle click happens as a hole is punched through paper, with a tiny circle of paper dropping to the floor of the carriage.

But as the railway world itself moves into a new age and as ticketing technology advances, the age of the clipper is coming to an end.

Abellio Greater Anglia has confirmed it will phase out clipping after listening to front-line staff, who often see hundreds of passengers on their services. As well as the mess created by the hole punch the company said that a nationwide move towards the use of e-tickets was a significant factor in the decision.

It added that passengers showing tickets on phones and tablets or on documents printed at home was bringing the tradition of clipping tickets to a natural end. Conductors will now use other ways of marking tickets, including drawing crosses.


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An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: 'An increasing number of people are using mobile, print at home and smart ticketing options for their journey, for which, the clippers are obsolete.

'In addition, as a response to requests from our front-line colleagues, we are phasing out the use of clippers and will be using alternative methods of marking checked tickets.'

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The spokesperson said the decision followed action taken by other train operating companies, and that the devices currently used would be donated to local heritage railway lines.

• What do you think of the decision? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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