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Check your rail tickets? It's for "security", sir…

Check your rail tickets? It's for "security", sir…

For the last few weeks, I’ve been spending 10 hours a week on a train, hurtling between South Wales, and North Wales, mid Wales and London for a bit of variety. And in all that time, no train conductor has seen fit to check my ticket more than once. At least not till this morning.

On a very early morning train, the train conductor checked my ticket when I got on board a very empty train, and all was well. So I went to sleep – well, tried to.

An hour later, he prodded me awake so he could check the ticket again. Even though I had barely moved or made a sound in the last hour. Obviously, the ticket wouldn’t have changed in the last hour.

So I asked him why on earth he’d felt the need to disturb me from my peaceful slumber so he could check the same piece of paper hadn’t magically changed in the last hour or so. He said it was for “security reasons, sir” – and added for good measure that he wanted to check my ID. Even though the ticket obviously had no name, or anything connecting it to me.

Of all the asinine reasons to justify a bit of pre-emptive revenue-protection… I’ll be very surprised if the same conductor doesn’t tell someone else it’s an anti-terrorist initiative, or they’re checking for illegal MP3s or something.


  • I've been double-checked a few times, though never with the excuse of Security. I think it's usually an administrative/personal mistake: i.e. he probably didn't recognise you and made a bluster to cover himself. I did once see one inspector go merrily down a train checking tickets, followed a few stops later by a far more diligent man who actually did check the tickets and caught loads of people out. I think the first one was just having a stroll.

  • I find that I get checked plenty on trains between Cardiff and London (getting onto Central Station, on the train (both ways) and by the barriers at Paddington). However, I can then get on a train back to Barry (particularly if it's after 9pm) and never see the Guard.

    One thing that did annoy me. When I got really delayed last month, the Guard waited until after Reading to bring the compensation forms around. Given that it was Reading Festival, the train was relatively empty by this point. But that's off on a complete tangent!

  • I can't believe the kind of oppression you have to deal with. Do you think it's because you're Chinese? 😉

  • Perhaps he was trying to impress the ladies by being super effiecient, throwing in 'Security Reasons' as the danger element.

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