Snips & Nips
Tickets are snipped, clipped or nipped using ticket clippers, also called, nippers, punches or snippers. The most usual occasion when this is done is at the time of inspection to indicate that it has been inspected and found in order and cancel the ticket so that it may not be used again. Sometimes a ticket may be clipped at the time of issue to show that it is valid for a particular purpose or day or time. It was also the custom at one time for all collected tickets to be clipped with special large clippers to invalidate them for any further use, before they were sent to the audit office.
Here we show a well known page from the Edmondson Catalogue showing the styles of Ticket Nippers the firm produced. Traditional ticket nippers can often be purchased on e-bay but these are sometimes worn and of indifferent quality and can be quite costly. A modern alternative is available from Keith Edmondson - see the link on our contacts page.
Tickets are usually clipped on the lower edge (not the end) leaving all the vital information intact and many Railways have conventions about exactly where - for example, on the Talyllyn Railway, tickets are clipped in the Up direction of travel just right of centre and on the Down direction to the left.
Examples of Ticket Clipping from the Isle of Man Railway
Two Day Ticket, originally printed for 1939, but used in 1968 with the price changed, the corner snipped off to indicate a Child ticket and the days of use clipped the first time the ticket was checked on the appropriate day. Note also the use of the impressed date stamp.
Isle of Man Railway Day Return dated 28*JU*68 and clipped for both Outward and Return journeys. The same pattern of clipper was used on the whole IMR system rather than have different patterns for different locations. It is not one of those shown in the Edmondson advert above.
Another Douglas to Port Soderick Day Return ticket of the same vintage. This one shows the use of the Half Snip 33 in the Edmondson advert to convert a full fare ticket into a half fare. The part removed would be pasted on to a form and returned to the traffic office to account for half the cash value of the ticket.
The clipping is standard on this Douglas to Ballasalla Single altered to be used for Douglas to Port Soderick.
This First Class Douglas to Ramsey Single dated 25 JY 67 shows the use of Half Snip 30 and an inspection clipping.
A Third Class Child Single dated AU*11*39, as normal at that time before to-day's DD MM YY format was adopted.
A clipping variation on a locally overprinted Workman's Return ticket from Douglas to either of two stations.
London Underground samples from 1921
The small print gives a hint of what happened to used tickets after they were collected. They were bundled up and sent to the audit office where they were sorted and the number collected compared to the number issued so that any weaknesses in the ticket checking system could be noted and action taken to correct them; any cash due or owing to other Companies could be properly accounted for and any irregularities discovered.