System Failure

More joy with train journeys, or on this occasion rail tickets. I was given meticulous instructions for ordering on line rail tickets to Clapham, it was supposed to be easy and hassle free. It took me over 30 minutes, it would have been quicker to drive to the station and buy them direct from the ticket office.

Fast forward to yesterday. I had a nice leisurely walk to the station, bought the ticket for the first leg of the journey and hopped on the train. My colleague joined me along the way and we alighted the train at Wolverhampton, there was half an hour before the connecting train so we had plenty of time to pick up the pre ordered tickets from the machine. Unfortunately the ticket machine had other ideas and only supplied my colleague with a return journey ticket. Ok! No problem, someone on the help desk should sort it out, or perhaps not there was nobody to be seen. Oh dear we had to join the back of the very long ticket queue.

When eventually we arrived at the ticket desk my colleague was told that the ticket machines didn’t work properly and then was informed that, “You should really ring this number but we can help”… They delved into a box of what looked like business cards, scribbled something on it and passed it across. What he received was a card pre printed in large red letters with the words ‘SYSTEM FAILURE’. The outward journey details were hand written underneath. He still had no underground ticket, which could only be purchased in London. We dashed across the bridge and by now I am sure you have guessed we missed the train (by about 20 seconds). There was plenty of time for a coffee and to witness another incident….

A little while later my colleague spotted someone filling up the machine with blank tickets and helpfully told them that the machine wasn’t working properly and the reason it was empty was because half the tickets just had the word ‘VOID‘ printed on them. The response he got was ‘I am only here to fill up the machine’.

Utter madness, why didn’t they just turn them off and put up a sign saying ‘Out of Order’?

Leave a comment


  1. Wolfie

     /  August 5, 2008

    Oh yes, been there – done that.

    This is an example of managerialism I believe, nobody is going to take full responsibility for anything. Thing is, nothing will ever work well either.

    I feel for you though.

  2. mutleythedog

     /  August 5, 2008

    Imagine airline tickets being sold like that? Yet many times rail tickets are more expensive…

  3. Andi

     /  August 5, 2008

    Ah! Public transport – isn’t it amazing? And people ask why I drive everywhere…

  4. Crushed

     /  August 5, 2008

    The company who produce the tickets is called Bemrose Booth. I’m pretty sure the machines are their responsibility too.

    But don’t say you got that from me.

  5. Aileni

     /  August 6, 2008

    Makes me wonder what ever we complained of in the sixties. But you gotta have progress.

  6. Crashdummie

     /  August 6, 2008

    charming… guess they have embraced my motto:

    “Why be difficult when you can be impossible?”

  7. Liz

     /  August 6, 2008

    That would be too easy, wouldn’t it?!

  8. Anne in Oxfordshire

     /  August 6, 2008

    Your right cherrypie, Utter madness!! Some people in this country just do not use their brain!! Putting the sign up is the way to go, and causes less problems.

    Oh sorry the ticket people would have to work a bit harder and sort the problems out…that is what they are…TICKET ISSUERS!!!

    Don’t get me started on this one! One of my big issues with this country.

  9. CherryPie

     /  August 6, 2008

    Wolfie – nobody is going to take full responsibility for anything. Thing is, nothing will ever work well either. I totally agree with that.

    Mutley – Plane tickets being sold like that doesn’t bear thinking about and yes I think it would have been cheaper to fly there…

    Andi – Not sure I would use the word amazing!

    Crushed – Well if they do supply both the tickets and the machines no wonder they keep failing. It would bring in more revenue on the stationary supplies!

    Aileni – My grandfather used to work for British rail and was proud of the fact. I am glad he can’t see what has become of the railways these days.

    Crashie – Looks like they are working to your motto 😉

    Liz – Yes far too easy!

    Anne – Yes people seem to have to work by rules rather than applying common sense!

  10. Ackworth born

     /  August 8, 2008

    partly – words fail me – I’m just glad I mostly don’t have to do this sort of travelling.

  11. CherryPie

     /  August 8, 2008

    Ackworth – Words failed us too…


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