And these are mere cats ...
These are meerkats ...
And this ...
So every little cardboard ticket (remember them?) ...
But a similar process had to be re-applied to today's privatised railway. A standard (full-price) return from Portsmouth to Glasgow would obviously be valid on trains of all these companies:-
South West Trains to Waterloo
Southern Trains to Victoria
First Great Western to Bristol
Cross Country from Bristol
Virgin from Euston
East Coast from Kings Cross
Scotrail from Edinburgh to Glasgow
But it doesn't end there. With a "break of journey" the itinerary could (possibly) involve:-
Chiltern Trains between London and Birmingham
London Midland between London and Birmingham
East Midland Trains via Sheffield
Northern Trains in (guess where) the North
Trans-Pennine in various places
Scotrail via Dumfries
Cross Country from York to Glasgow
Arriva Trains Wales in the Manchester area.
Grand Central between London and York
Hull Trains between London and Doncaster
Somehow the revenue needs to be shared. But How? Answer, Orcats or, more correctly O.R.C.A.T.S. The abbreviation (!) stands for Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services. In other words, Orcats is the modern day equivalent of the Railway Clearing House. The complex computer program is titivated by data from regular surveys of where people are going and how. And, every so often there are minor skirmishes between companies but, generally, it seems to work.
Somehow or other, the Clearing House system looks as if it might haver been more understandable and possibly more reliable and accountable. At least it used real data, not computer generated
The source of the Clearing House pictures will be revealed in tomorrow's blog. In the meantime, this is what a "Google" search produced when fbb asked for "orcats pictures".