Chesterfield Station

April 16, 2008

Chesterfield station becomes a little cold when the sun goes down. I know because I spent an hour there the other day having been thrown off a train on the way back to London from Sheffield.

The final of the England national table-tennis championships finished earlier than expected, so I was on the wrong train. My train would be along in an hour, the inspector told me with a sneer. The ticket I had was not transferable. It was bought in advance, and so was only £20. Yes, I could buy a ticket for this train instead. It would cost £82 one way. No, the ticket I had for the next train could not be refunded against the cost of a new ticket. No, I couldn’t stay on this train without buying a new ticket. Yes, I could have used my laptop to buy a ticket for this train in advance, but now this train is moving so it won’t be in advance so I can’t buy it online. It may well have been only £20 to buy a ticket for this train yesterday, but now it’s £82. Yes, to be clear, sir, there is absolutely no chance of you staying on this train unless you give me £82. Yes, I will be getting off at the next stop.

So, I was in the wrong, I didn’t have a ticket for this train, and he was only doing his job. But there was still something fairly ludicrous about spending an hour sitting at Chesterfield station. Part of me wished I had taken a stronger anti-authoritarian approach, and waited to see what happened in London. So maybe that’s why I asked him for his name. Not that I was intending to do anything with it. But it made me feel a little bit better in the waiting room. Jonathan Wall, if you’re interested.