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Metropolitan Tickets

Today if you buy a ticket at Amersham station from either the ticket machines or booking office, the small piece of card given to you is very efficient and functional. You can now even buy an "Oyster" card which is a smart card that is "topped up" with the value of your ticket and you use it to swipe the ticket gates without having to put it into the gates. The modern card ticket or Oyster card details which zones you can travel into, or to which specific station. They both contain data which can be read by the automatic ticket barriers. Today there is little need for railway staff to actually read your ticket or punch it, but in years gone by tickets were far more detailed (at least that is the impression given to the traveller) and railway staff would inspect the ticket in detail and punch it to authorise your travel.

I am grateful to Richard Hardy for allowing me to reproduce the tickets below. These show where you could travel to or from Amersham (or through Amersham) and give an insight into a different world of railway travel.

Although the railway to Amersham was built by the Metropolitan Railway, it was actually managed by a joint committee of the Great Central Railway (who wanted a route into London Marylebone) and the Metropolitan. The two railways (and later the London North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R.), which took over the Great Central in 1923 and London Transport, which took over the Metropolitan in 1933) took it in turn to run the line. The above ticket was issued by the "Joint Committee" to allow a member of the armed forces to travel from Wendover (perhaps from the Halton base) to Chesham, a journey requiring a change at Chalfont. The above ticket was issued by the L.N.E.R. to allow a passenger to transport a bicycle to Amersham from Marylebone, note how part of the ticket has been hand written.
Another L.N.E.R ticket for a journey to "Amersham & Chesham Bois" as Amersham station was originally called Issued by the Joint Committee, a ticket to allow a dog to travel (with its owner) from Aylesbury to Amersham or Verney Junction or Brill. Interestingly, when this ticket was issued, services to Verney Junction and Brill had ceased.
Another Joint ticket, this time the Met & L.N.E.R. from Croxley Green to Amersham. This would probably have involved a change at Moor Park and Sandy Lodge, few trains ran on the Watford Branch from the Rickmansworth direction, despite a special bay platform being built at Rickmansworth. The railway did much to promote the area it served. Metroland was the name given to the area and as well as promoting housing, leisure activities were promoted, such as walking tours
An L.N.E.R. ticket from Finmere (near Buckingham) to Amersham, via Quainton Road. Any railway service north of Aylesbury was withdrawn in the late 1960s. Now if someone wants to travel from North Bucks to South Bucks by train, they would have to go via London. Season tickets were sold to specific stations, unlike today where you travel to a zone. if you wanted to travel beyond your usual station, an extension ticket was required. The above ticket would allow an extension to Liverpool Street from Baker Street - first class
An L.N.E.R. ticket from Manchester to Amersham. the route taken has long disappeared from the rail network. A Joint ticket allowing the carriage of a pram between Amersham and Pinner.
Not only was there first class on the Metropolitan Trains, there were also Pullman Cars. The above ticket allows travel on a Pullman car, as long as the passenger already had a first class ticket.

Below is a route map from an old Metropolitan coach. This shows the route north of Rickmansworth and must be pre 1936 as some of the stations shown on the map were no longer served after 1936

Metropolitan Route Map

The station top left is Verney Junction, which was a junction with the Oxford / Cambridge route. The Great Central route diverted at Quainton Road.

(Thanks to Jim Simmonds for upgrading the quality of the image)

For details of how Amersham station used to be in the 1930s click here
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