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Ticket Punch
Catalog #: 1990.0119.01, Accession #: 1990.0119
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

Used on passenger trains running on the Southern Railway's Murphy Branch (a branchline route) by a Southern Ry conductor.

Physical Description
Plated, steel ticket punch with "L" die (i.e., die makes an "L" shaped hole). Punch has a coil spring between handles. Dimensions: 4 1/2" L x 2 3/8" W x 5/8" H: Marks: Bonney- Vehslage Tool Co. New York.
Date Made:
about 1920
Dates Used:
1920 - 1940
South Atlantic
Region of the Southern Railway System
Gift of Albert S. Eggerton Jr., a retired public affairs officer of the Southern Ry.

A railroad conductor on a passenger train was (and is today) the supervising officer of the train and supervisor of the entire train crew. In addition to this supervisory role, the passenger-train conductor serves as the pursar, in charge of seeing to it that all fares are collected, either by himself personally or by his assistants, the uniformed trainmen on board. After fares are collected, the conductor does the accounting. A passenger-carrying railroad company was (and is) thus dependent on responsible and diligent conductors for its income.

A conductor's punch cancelled the passenger's ticket stub and also cancelled the main portion of the ticket retained by the conductor. Each conductor had his own punch, which made a specifically shaped hole; the hole shape differed from punch to punch. In this way, if a passenger presented a stub and claimed his ticket had already been taken, a conductor could verify who in fact cancelled the ticket.

In the days before laptop computers and scanned tickets, the passenger-train conductor carried redeemed tickets or stubs, as well as cash, in a locked case. On a passenger train, a conductor appropriated an unassigned passenger compartment as his office, and the ticket case was kept locked in the compartment when the conductor made his rounds.

Related People, Places, and Events
Bonney- Vehslage Tool Co.

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