The ticket was definitely printed up with ‘carriage B seat 01B‘ for my return journey.  When I bought my tickets I was given the choice of reserved table seats or airline seats. I asked for all the seats on my journeys to be table seats.

There was one passenger taking up all four seats on the outward journey, where one was reserved for me .  The passenger mumbled something about there not being any reservation cards showing, so I showed her my reservation ticket for my gangway seat.  I invited her to stay and share if she so wished. Only when she swept up all the items strewn around the three seats she wasn’t sitting on, did I realise this person was the only passenger in the section. She occupied two airline seats instead.  

Another distracted male passenger was looking for a carriage that didn’t exist, (unless he had paid for first class).  He returned, no, he was not a first class guy.  He plonked himself down opposite me and tried to shove first one of my feet back towards me then the other.  I hoped my effort at severe frowning said it all.  His feet continued to step sequentially on my feet.  My feet held their ground.  The guy got the message and moved over to the window seat where he could stick his feet where ever he wanted.  

Return Journey

I clutched my warm lunch in its polystyrene pack and looked forward to laying it out and munching at a table. The train arrived with carriage ‘B’ in tow. Where was my seat? I looked out of the gaping carriage entrance to check the direction of numbering and returned to my hunt for seat ’01B’.  A manual number one had been scratched above a side facing seat which was facing opposite a similar seat under a manual number two.

As all the table seats were taken, I took an unoccupied airline seat with its titchy tray and managed to loose an avalanche of lunch into my lap. I covered my meal stained trousers with my carrier bag.

The ticket inspector cheerily appeared. “Excuse me but I had a reserved table seat which doesn’t appear to exist, can you advise?”

You sure?” he questioned looking at my reservation slips.  He looked around. “Maybe you made a mistake“, he said.

All my seats were booked to be table seats“, I explained. The ticket inspector looked at my tickets again.

Ooh yes – you had a back facing seat and you only get those at table seats“.  He sucked on his pen and looked around once more.  “Mmm, since you booked, I think they’ve changed the design of the train”     




  1. Oh well then? I expect that made you feel much better didn’t it. Arrrrgh. It’s days like these honey when you think to yourself. Right! When I finally lose it and go crazy with the machine gun – you’re first. Or is that just me? Yikes…….

  2. The problem is Zappy, who would be first for the line of fire? Trying to trace that one back to where it belongs could be more complicated than genealogy.

    My food-stained trousers are almost dry. Thank heavens for washable materials, stain removers and a not too wet day to let the trousers drip.

  3. Q 1. I bought my tickets with reservation about eight days in advance.

    Q 2. The price of the ticket includes a reservation whatever the fare is that you pay over here. The proviso is that you have to ask for a reserved seat at the time of booking if the ticket office teller doesn’t suggest it to you. In this case, because of where I live, the ticket office teller always asks if a reserved seat is wanted and what type. S/he will always tell you what seats are still available for reservation.

    Q.3 As the ticket price is what it is, the reservation is considered a ‘courtesy service’, in Scotland at any rate. This device means there can be no fall-out if seats don’t appear or are not what was expected.

    Sometimes trains appear without the carriage that has the reservation, the hardware is diverted to a line deemed to need it more at any given time.

  4. I can’t say I love public transport either. In cities it is frequent and negotiable, it is neither of those things where I live.

    Apart from the ghastly time of the morning on a Sunday, I had to get on it, the City Link bus was okay. Fewer choices of time and types of service on that day.

    If a friend hadn’t alerted me, I could have been waiting for a link train on a draughty open station for 2 hours! I hadn’t been told about that when I bought the train tickets. There was another train that went a different route, a wee bit more expensive, but a shorter connecting wait. Friend came to collect me at long wait station.

    The rest of my train transport service experiences I have related.

  5. Doesn’t sound much like fun, it’s the inability to trust almost anything the train/bus operators say that really makes public transport a dinosaur. Roll on extinction.

    Do you not drive?

    I haven’t been to a city for years and when I did I drove everywhere. I could not exist without my car, even the nearest village is an hour away.

    I hate public transport.

  6. I do drive but a 600 miles round trip in 36 hours did not appeal to me. I considered part driving, (220 miles round trip, which the bus took over for me, no motorways or dual carriageway here) and paying for parking, but then I totted up the cost per mile, wear and tear on me. On economics alone, I could not get anywhere near competing.

    One compensation, I read a book and finished it.

  7. Oh, dear.
    Well, look on the bright side. At least you got a seat of some sort. On the very worse train journeys you have to stand.
    I don’t drive and actually like train journeys. I drink black coffee and read magazines. I particulary like the “Virgin Pendolino” when it terminates in Manchester and people leave their newspapers behind. There’s often quite a choice. Same applies if you go in the other direction (to London).
    I loathe and detest “Megabloominbus” but use it occasionally ‘cos it’s cheap.
    I’m getting to the age when I like to stay home.

  8. I got a chance to keep reading a book, which was the up side of the journey. I don’t have all the choices you describe though I have heard of, for example, the Virgin Pendolino.

    The ticket inspector found, he said, a spare seat I could take at a table. I moved everything down, (including me) was about the ensconce myself (perfumed with impregnated lunch) when a young man behind me said he was sitting “there”.

  9. Once I booked table seats for a trip from Scotland to England and they put my children half way up the carriage from me. Eejits. Another time I booked a family room in a hotel. When we arrived, they said they didn’t actually have a family room, neither an adjoining room, and my three children we up the hall in another room. I think not.

  10. Ooh Menhir, you poor thing. I’ve just had over 24 hours travelling straight with relatively little trouble wonder of wonders, but it’s a shame we always have that knot of anticipation whenever we go travelling that something will go wrong – I thought booking was supposed to avoid all that!
    I can’t complain about my journey home with my family however – we had a four person cabin on the ferry and I could have slept in the top bunk for a week it was so solid and comfy! Though only if I had the cabin to myself maybe!

  11. Really! You do wonder what the ‘management’ are doing. Why such manipulations in an hotel you pre-booked. They owed you for their misinformation.

    As for the train fiasco, that’s surely down to the stupidity of ticket office teller. With seat numbering, also carriage identification, it was an inexcusable state of affairs to split you and your children up. One table would have given you four seats together if there was one free. If not, you should have been told so suitable alternative arrangements could have been sorted.

  12. Let’s hope stupid management of hotel has been bought out by less stupid management. You hadn’t booked into Fawlty Towers had you? It would explain a lot if you had.

    Nothing is trustworthy these days, be it personal, phone or agency. Transport seems to be a case of trusting to luck.

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