British Rail Sandwiches

Now that we’ve got our site back up and running (and on that note we highly recommend StablePoint – so far at least!) I just thought I would share this odd little finding. You might remember that back in this article I spotted that a Cadbury’s multi-choice machine was selling a rival* Rowntrees / Nestlé product at the same time, and it all looked official – and it must have been, since the bars being sold on the Cadburys side were specially produced vending size ones. I was also recently speculating that the Nestlé and Cadburys specially made vending bars were exactly the same size. Well, as it happens…

Stickers and marking on this machine show that it was operated by Travellers-Fare, previously known as British Rail Catering. TF existed from 1973 to 1997, having been privatised ‘early’ in late 1988, and presumably had a fall out with Nestlé products. Yet it clearly felt safe in the knowledge they weren’t going to pop over and ask for the machines back from Platform 5 any time soon, though quite likely that the size of BR meant that the machines were bought outright from the beginning.

It’s interesting to note that this means I have still never seen a machine selling Cadburys Vending Bars set to higher than 20p, but it’s fairly easy to find Nestlé ones at 30p. Whether this is because Nestlé pitched themselves as a premium product, were happy to extract more cash from hungry passers-by, or simply carried on a few years longer, I don’t know.

Here’s some original 20p Nestlé vending labels. If you’re wondering why there’s no KitKat, it’s because they weren’t part of the company until they took over Rowntrees in 1988.

*of sorts – Cadburys don’t really offer a KitKat equivalent so I suppose it wasn’t so much competition as complete monopoly avoidance, as happened here by force in 2000 with regards to impulse-buy single wrap ices.