The "Spirit" was born out of a requirement identified by First Scotrail (FSR) for a state-of-the-art ticket issuing device to replace their slow and cumbersome existing units. ScotRail were seeking to replace their existing on-train ticket issuing system and associated support services to enable a faster, more reliable solution in a more lightweight and user friendly device.

Design Rationale

TouchStar worked hand in hand with First ScotRail over a period of time to design a system that matched all of the criteria and stringent requirements of both ScotRail and the rail industry as a whole. The design rationale involved running a number of focus groups, utilising a broad sample of FSR employees and members of the Touchstar industrial team to gain a perspective of how the current system interacted with it’s staff, customers and external environment. After consideration of all the evidence from the focus groups and ScotRail, TouchStar obtained a better understanding of the requirements to develop “Spirit”, a leading solution for the next generation of ticket issuing systems.


The "Spirit" combines rugged PDA technology with a separate chip and pin device, the solutions significantly speeding up the transactional process of traditional ticket issuing systems. Ergonomically designed for ease of operation, the two piece solution is designed to be worn permanently round the neck, facilitates left or right handed use and is adjustable, lightweight and manageable.

Designed with easy load ticket handling, the printer is incorporated into an enlarged version of the standard Boston base for a sleek, all in one system. The utilisation of a fanfold ticket printer enables dramatic improvements in the ease and speed of ticket dispensing. The “Spirit” can print continuously within two seconds of ticket selection, including magnetic stripe encoding. This allows the rail conductor to focus on the payment process and to produce tickets for all passengers before they alight the train. The hardwired link between the printer and PDA ensures that the device is not prone to issues that can surround wireless connectivity, guaranteeing that tickets can be sold at all times.

A separate, chip and pin device offers ITSO accredited smart card verification. Both small and lightweight the device utilizes a customer-familiar form factor to minimise confusion and enable an efficient and quick transactional process. The design criteria for utilising a separate unit enables a future-proof solution for ease of upgrade.