In 1844 The Railway Regulation Act set the 3rd class passenger fares at 1 penny a mile and stated that passengers should be able travel in covered coaches on a least one train a day in each direction.
In 1844 The Railway Regulation Act set the third class passenger fares at 1 penny a mile and stated that passengers should be able travel in covered coaches on a least one train a day in each direction.
The railway companies railed against this imposition, arguing that poorer passengers would rather travel at cheaper fairs in open coaches. However, the law was passed and by the 1850, most passengers were afforded the luxury of a covered carriage.
In reality the standard fares of 1d a mile 3rd class and at least twice this for 1st were simply the standard walk on fare. Just like today, railway companies worked hard to create ‘cheaper’ bargain rates for season ticket holders, party travelling and summer special rates.
By the 1930’s the railways dominance of the transport market was under pressure, as private cars, buses and coaches offered a tempting alternative. Railways hit back with speed and comfort. Trains like the Silver Jubilee, charged passengers several shillings over the standard fare. However, its speed saved the cost of a night in a hotel, so was a cheaper option to passengers.
In 1940’s Austerity Britain, the government raised railway fares by 40%, with the express intention of discouraging leisure travel. The railways were exhausted by war and could not cope with workers travelling, let alone pleasure seekers.
Worker or workmen’s tickets had existed on Britain’s railways since the 1840’s, as part of the 1844 act. These were cheap fares on early morning workmen’s trains. By the 1950’s they were re-named as ‘early morning returns’ and abolished completely in 1961. The term ‘workman’ having become socially unacceptable.
Modern ideas of selective pricing and market sensitive service provision were born in the 1960’s. The railways worked to ditch the past and re-invent themselves as a modern transport provider; tempting passengers with cheap day returns, away days, and supper savers.
Since 1844, Governments have played a key part in setting railway fares and considering the complex nature of the relationship between passengers, taxpayers and politicians; this is unlikely to change.