PERTIS Machines: What are they and where to find them
PERTIS machines, an abbreviation of PERmit to travel Ticket Issuing System, are a piece of railway history that serve very little purpose today.
Introduced on the British Rail network in 1988, there are around 135 PERTIS machines* currently installed, but they are very slowly disappearing so this number may be fewer now.
The purpose of PERTIS machines is to enable train passengers to pay for a ticket, at a station where a ticket machine is not available. Usually in areas where a penalty fare operates but there are no facilities at the station to purchase a ticket. A passenger should insert into the PERTIS machine, the price of the ticket. (Although if there are no ticket facilities available, its a bit challenging working out the cost of your ticket…). A PERTIS machine commonly accepts 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, and £2 coins, although it is unlikely they will accept the new £1 coin. It is unclear whether they still accept the old £1 coin, although we haven’t tested but PERTIS website PERT.IS suggests that the coin detectors have been updated to accept the new £1 coins. Recent changes to the 5p and 10p coin specifications mean that some 5p and 10p coins are no longer accepted by PERTIS train ticket machines.
Upon receiving a PERTIS ticket with the required denomination for their travel fare, the passenger has 2 hours to exchange this PERTIS ticket, from the time shown on the slip, for a valid ticket on board or at a station with ticket office.
The above photo shows the reverse side of a permit to travel, and the below photo shows the obverse side with details of travel. The ticket was issued at Newhaven Harbour, machine number 01. Permit number 212 (I think…), for a value of a novel 20p. The ticket was issued at around 14.59 and it shows the BR directional lines logo.
There are 3 types of permit to travel machine: Autoslot 8, which are wall-mounted machines on the C2C network; Autoslot AS88, AS89 which are shown below, and AURA which are the latest type of PERTIS machine.
The photo to the right shows a AS88 PERTIS machine. It has a LED display which shows the current time, and the amount paid. A red light will illuminate in the event that the PERTIS machine is out of use. Coins are inserted and the passenger should either press the button for a permit, or reject their coins.
PERTIS machines can be found across the country, mostly in London and South East but their appearance extends north-west into Liverpool. They are mostly grey-coloured, although a number of the machines can be found in red.
A useful website, called PERT.IS, has a map view of all PERTIS machines including a list of stations with these historic ticket machines. PERT.IS also has a small selection of PERTIS themed models for OO/HO gauge model railway layouts so definitely worth checking out their website.
So far, we’ve found these popular machines at Bishopstone, Newhaven Town, Newhaven Harbour and Southease. Have you seen a PERTIS ticket machine on your travels? Why not share in the comments below where you found it so others can experience the sheer delight of a British Rail permit to travel ticket machine.
*Source: PERT.IS – a website dedicated to PERTIS machines.