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Printing in the MOTAT Print Shop: Tram Tickets

Previously outsourced, these ubiquitous bits of paper on the MOTAT tram line, are now being

letterpress printed in our very own print shop. Stephen Penney and Denis Wadsworth are now into their second printing of the tram tickets. The first time round there were 8000 sheets printed. Each sheet goes through the press six times! And that’s repeated for each ticket colour, green for adults, yellow for children, and blue for the zoo. Each full print run prints a total of 120,000 tickets. After this second print run (of another 120,000 tickets), they are printing the special Christmas edition.

The plates are made by Inline Graphics. These are photopolymer plates which are created using a photography method where the parts of the polymer plate hit by light hardens and the rest washes away leaving just the relief image to print from. A separate plate is used for each layer; that’s three for the front and one for the back. The fifth and sixth time through the press are for perforation and numbering. This is the biggest project the Print Shop has undertaken in decades and it has both the Heidelberg Platen and the Heidelberg Cylinder cranking loudly every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

Words by Makyla Curtis

Photographs by Scott Pilkington

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