Taking Your Seat on a Train

By | Category: Travel rumblings

SouthWest Train

SouthWest Train

Has it ever happened to you? You had a reserved seat. You have baggage that you’ve had to walk with across umpteen concourses. You find your seat on the train and there is someone sitting in it. You mention politely that they are in your seat and then you find they won’t move. What do you do? Complain to the guard (or whatever a guard is called on a train these days) or meekly accept it?
I was on a train from Glasgow to London last year and was told in no uncertain terms by a pushy lady that since she had children and was only going to Carlisle that I should just live with it until they got off. After all I would have a seat for most of the journey. Yes, but she would have a seat for the whole of her journey! Wimp that I am, I accepted this and found a fold down seat opposite the loo. But daytrippers who regularly use the train to visit destinations especially by booking cheap seats months in advance, have faced this sort of thing before.
But I and others may not have to tolerate this for I have just noticed that, printed on the bottom of those reservation cards that they tuck into the top of the seats, sits a phrase. It says, “Penalty for unauthorised occupation of this seat £50.” This was on my reservation card with an East Coast Railway trip to York earlier this week and one on Arriva Trains Wales to Newport. I don’t know how when the change occurred but I can’t remember noticing it a while ago. But then, who but poor, sad journalists with times on their hands reads train reservation cards? Will it deter some people? I hope so although it didn’t deter a rather abrupt lady on a train I got on at Newark this week. But would you know that someone could befined and would you tell them in order to get your seat?
But isn’t it a little lop-sided that if you remove the card from the seat you can face a penalty of £200 but only £50 for taking the seat! Someone has their priorities wrong.

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