The standard size of train tickets is 2-1/4 in. long and 1-3/16 in. wide. The dimensions were set down by Thomas Edmondson, who invented the Edmondson tickets back in the 1840s. Although the Edmondson ticket system is no longer used in some countries, the dimensions are still utilized.
How the Edmondson Ticket System Works
The tickets are printed on cards with numbers on them. A machine is used to date stamp each one. The tickets are stored in a cupboard where the highest number for each type can be seen. Colors are used to distinguish between the different types.
The half fare was made by putting a diagonal cut crossways on the ticket. This means the value is cut in half, regardless of the size of train tickets. The other half can be utilized as credit or on another person. The half fare is usually for children.
In other countries, half tickets were made by putting a horizontal slice a third of the ticket. As time went by, tickets for children started being issued.
At the back of the ticket are printed the terms of agreement. This varies depending on the railway that issued the ticket. In other countries, the back is filled with pictures of other travel destinations.
History of the Railway Ticket
The origin of the train ticket began when stage coaches were still the primary mode of transport. A passenger had to make reservations 24 hours ahead of time. The booking offices were inns. The George in Borough High St, London is an example.
The passenger would go to the inn and make the travel arrangements and a copy of the ticket was given to them. Note: the size of train tickets were not standardized then.
The Emergence of the Edmondson Tickets
In 1836, Thomas Edmondson became station master at Milton at the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway. Seeing the disadvantages of the then current arrangement, he designed a system wherein the passengers were identified using numbers instead of names. His system included stating down the name and class of the tickets. These were printed on cardboard and numbered.
This was followed by the creation of the ticket dating machine. There is a remnant of a ticket used by the London and Greenwich Railway Company. The cardboard ticket is 3-1/2 in. by 2-1/2 in.
Size of Train Tickets Elsewhere
The Edmondson tickets may be the standard, but other types emerged. There are some European rails that measure 1-1/2 in. by 5/8 in. In Lithuania, the tickets are 5 inches long. The tickets used in Malta are 1 sq m. In British North Borneo, some tickets are circular in shape.
In Japan, the return tickets are twice the size of the single tickets. Among the biggest tickets issued were those in Persia. The Persian State Railway issued a ticket 8 inches by 4 niches.
In certain parts of the United States, some tickets are 15 inches long. In terms of the size of train tickets, these are probably the largest.