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Rowthorne Profitability

Local History > Local History 2 > Railways > Workmans Trains
How profitable was Rowthorn & Hardwick Station? (Glynn Waite).

One day a couple of years ago when I was at the National Archives at Kew looking at statistics for passengers at certain stations, I also took photos of those for Rowthorn & Hardwick between 1896 and 1922. Unfortunately, I had no need to look at the previous book, so I can’t say what the situation was between 1890 (when the station opened) and 1895 – although I doubt it would have been little different from the situation on the page commencing in 1896.
[For the record, there are 5 books containing such statistics, starting in 1872.]
As you will see, in 1896, which was one of the better years, 2,952 people purchased tickets at the station. The sobering thought, however, is that this averaged out at between 9 and 10 passengers a day. But the station still made a profit initially, as there was also revenue from parcels and goods traffic.
The expenses figures on the far right to be compared with the revenue on the left were pure staff costs. Initially, there was a Station Master and a Porter (usually a junior on a low rate of pay), but the station didn’t really warrant two people and in 1906, following the transfer of SM Joseph Lickorish to Esholt, the post was withdrawn, with the only person at the station then being an adult Porter. The SM at Glapwell became responsible for the supervision of the station, but I doubt if this amounted to more than a weekly visit. As far as I can determine, all of the SM’s (there were 5 between the station’s opening and 1906) were single men who lodged nearby. As a consequence there was no SM’s house, although the company would have had to pay for his lodgings.
As you will see, passenger numbers increased slightly during and immediately after the war. This was probably due to men going to Chesterfield or Mansfield to join up, and those travelling in connection with leave. However, fares rose in 1917 and 1920, while wartime bonuses were added to wages from 1915. Then in February 1919, the 8-hour day was introduced, which initially resulted in overtime being paid as stations like this.
It would appear that by 1922, the expanding bus services had started to have a serious effect on Rowthorn (for some it would be quicker to walk to the Chesterfield to Mansfield main road rather than to the station), while rail fares were still high (they were reduced on 1st January 1923) and during that year an average of just 4 passengers a day bought tickets at the station. From 1920 staff costs exceeded combined receipts from tickets and parcels.
A final word about season tickets. These were ones with a validity of a month or more. Note that the only statistic was “number of season ticket holders”. Today they would be multiplied by the numbers of days they were valid for, and then doubled to account for single journeys. Their (slightly) increased use from 1920 would have been to offset the cost of the continuing high fares for ordinary travel (75% above pre-war levels from August 1920).
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