Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

NOBODY has ever conducted a complete audit of all the petty little rules which govern our lives. It might make interesting reading, particularly if you are sitting drinking an overpriced cappuccino at Waterloo station while waiting to catch a Eurostar train. Under the railway company's rules, and confirmed in small print on its tickets, passengers waiting to catch trains must check in at least 20 minutes before the advertised departure time. Failure to do so, as many have discovered to their cost, results in the gate being slammed in your face, even if the train itself turns out to be 20 minutes late. Passengers on `non-flexible' tickets also have to stump up the cost of another ticket.

According to Eurostar, the check-in time is necessary because of security measures. Quite why these take 20 minutes, when the French are not even interested in seeing the passports of those travelling to France, is puzzling; though forcing people to wait for their trains does have the pleasant effect from Eurostar's point of view - of exposing them to the shops and bars in the departure lounge. …

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