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caption=Aptis ProStation next to an Aptis machine in the National Railway Museum, York
System information
Full name All Purpose Ticket Issuing System
Machine type Ticket Office-based
Type of ticket stock Manual/Hopper-fed
Manufacturer Thorn EMI, Wells
First introduced October 1986
Machine number range 2000-5168
Window number range Upwards from 01
Downwards from 99 (spare machines)
Machines in use 2,971 (maximum historic figure)
3 (as of March 2007)
Locations/Areas/Train Operating Companies
Current users none
Former users Before privatisation:
- All passenger sectors of British Rail
After privatisation:
- All Train Operating Companies

APTIS was the Accountancy and Passenger Ticket Issuing System used on the British Rail/National Rail until 2007. It was originally called "Advanced Passenger Ticket Issuing System" as it was being developed at the time of the Advanced Passenger Train.

It was widely known as the All-Purpose Ticket-Issuing System, a description which was used during the development of the prototype devices.[1][2]

It led to the introduction, on the national railway, of a new standardised machine-printable ticket, the APTIS ticket, which replaced the Edmondson railway ticket first introduced in the 1840s.


APTIS issued impact printed tickets on credit-card sized card ticket stock, with a magnetic stripe on the centre of the reverse which could be encoded to operate ticket barriers; it could also use plain non-magnetic ticket stock.[1]

APTIS could issue receipts for passengers paying by debit card or credit card.[1] These receipts were a combination of a transparent carbonless copy paper top copy, for the customer; and a backing card, for retention by British Rail. The customer signed the receipt, handed it back; and, in return, was given the signed top copy and the train tickets.

Adoption by British Rail[edit]

APTIS was derived from a private venture ticketing system, the General Purpose ticket-issuing system, developed by Thorn EMI in 1978.[1] It had 25 kB of memory.[1]

British Rail asked 23 firms to tender for a ticket-issuing system and Thorn EMI was successful.[1] The first prototype was installed at Portsmouth & Southsea on 11 November 1982.

APTIS, along with the portable system PORTIS, was adopted as part of British Rail's £31 million investment, which was authorised in 1983.[3] The production APTIS machines had 300 kB of memory; this could be upgraded to 500 kB.[1]

Some 2,971 APTIS machines were scheduled to be installed at 1,600 staffed British Rail stations between August 1985 and September 1987.[1][2]

Phase-out of Edmondson tickets[edit]

The first production APTIS tickets were issued in October 1986 at stations including Didcot Parkway and Abbey Wood; the official launch was by David Mitchell, Transport Minister, at the British Rail Travel Centre, Regent Street, London, on 18 November 1986.[4] The first ticket was sold at Benfleet in January 1987.[5]

In 1988, the last of British Rail's Edmondson printing presses, located at the Paper and Printing Centre, Crewe, shut down.[6] The last BR station to sell Edmondson tickets prior to full APTIS conversion was Emerson Park, on the Network SouthEast Romford to Upminster Line, on 29 June 1989.[7]

Phase-out of APTIS[edit]

APTIS survived in widespread use for twenty years, but in the early 2000s was largely replaced by more modern PC based ticketing systems although some APTIS were modified as APTIS-ANT (with no obvious difference to the ticket issued) Oyster-compatible machines in the Greater London area. The last APTIS machines were removed at the end of 2006 as there was no option to upgrade for accepting Chip and PIN credit-card payments. The last APTIS-ANT ticket to be issued in the UK using one of the machines was at Upminster station on 21 March 2007.[5][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Ford, Roger (1984). "Technology Update: Ticket issuing and revenue control". In: Modern Railways, Volume 41, May 1984, Pages 256-257.
  2. ^ a b Glover, John (1985). "Mechanisation of ticket issuing". In: Modern Railways, Volume 42, April 1985, Pages 192-195.
  3. ^ Gourvish, Terry (2002). "Cost Control and Investment in the post-Serpell Railway". Chapter 6 In. British Rail: 1974-97: From Integration to Privatisation Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-926909-9
  4. ^ Railway Magazine, 1987, Vol. 33, January 1987, Page 7.
  5. ^ a b "An apt end for BR's APTIS" Rail Magazine issue 563 11 April 2007 page 14
  6. ^ "News & Notes: BR ends Edmondson". In: Railway Magazine, Volume 134, No. 1043, March 1988, Page 148
  7. ^ Farr, Michael (1991). Thomas Edmondson and his tickets. Andover: author. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-905033-13-6. 
  8. ^ c2c - Last call for ticket work horse. 23 March 2007. Archived 24 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]