Heald Green to Poulton-le-Fylde

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Xenophon PCDGS

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My sister-in-law (aged 76) who lives in Handforth had to make an emergency visit to Poulton le Fylde to visit her sister on family business and got a lift to Heald Green station, as First TPE run a direct service to Poulton le Fylde from there.

However, there was no-one in the booking office, during the 20 minutes she was waiting for the 1133 train to arrive, which worried her as the ticket office is normally open then and being a regular user of a Senior Citizen Railcard, knows that "railcard discounted price" tickets purchased with this railcard are not normally issued on a train, when a booking office is open. However, she had to board the train without a ticket and expected to pay the fare on the train. However, it was very full and she says that no-one came either to issue a ticket or to check on existing ones all the time that she was on the train.

When she arrived at Poulton le Fylde, there was no-one there to check passengers disembarking from the train. By this time she was very worried that she had not paid for the journey...through no fault of her own. She descended the stairs to the platform where she says there is a café/sweet shop and made enquiries to the counter staff there. It was then that a male member of the train staff who was in the café (not in the upstairs booking office) said that he was in charge and both of them went up the stairs where, after being told of the events leading to this situation, issued her a rail ticket for this single journey, as she will be taken home to Handforth sometime towards the end of next week by a family friend in his car. He said that she had been very honest and that 99 out of 100 people faced with the situation at Poulton le Fylde would have just left the station area without paying.

Is this situation as described, something that you would expect mid-day on a Saturday on this route ?
 
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MidnightFlyer

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Which aspects?

Manchester Airport-Blackpool being full doesn't surprise me, indeed my 1846 last night had First declassified.

The member of staff is probably correct that many wouldn't bother nowadays, maybe not 99% but certainly over half, it just depends the mindset and attitudes of those who it happens too *. Glad to hear she was willing to pay up though.

Is there a sweet shop on Poulton-le-Fylde? Last time I was there all that was on the platform was a waiting room. Great if so, but I've heard nothing of it.

Generally speaking I would think that the booking office clerk would issue the ticket regardless *, especially if they are given a run through of events. Many a time I have bought tickets from booking offices that don't involve or end at the station, most of the time they are just grateful that people are honest enough to pay in that situation I find.

Edit - * = assuming the booking office at the destination is open, as was the case here.
 
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yorkie

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... He said that she had been very honest and that 99 out of 100 people faced with the situation at Poulton le Fylde would have just left the station area without paying....
I'm sure that nearly all people in this situation would not pay if:
- the booking office at their origin was closed and facilities to issue the ticket were not available; and
- the train was too busy for the guard to sell them a ticket; and
- the booking office at their destination was also closed.
Because normally that would mean there is no opportunity to pay!

I would not expect many people to consider the possibility that enquiring in a café may result in a ticket being sold, and there's certainly no obligation to go to such extraordinary lengths! Also, some passengers may have onward travel arrangements (e.g. a bus to catch) and may not feel confident going into establishments near the station on the off-chance that a member of rail staff may be present.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Poluton booking office is open to 1930 on Saturdays, so I take it that that is where the member of staff in the cafe I'm not aware that exists took her. Of course if the booking office was shut then I fully concur with yorkie.
 

yorkie

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http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/PFY/plan.html?rtnloc=PFY

There is no sign of a café within the station (but perhaps one has recently opened?) and "She descended the stairs to the platform..." doesn't make sense to me as she presumably arrived by train on the platform, and would have needed to ascend the stairs to reach the booking office/exit, which was presumably closed?
 

MidnightFlyer

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http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/PFY/plan.html?rtnloc=PFY

There is no sign of a café within the station (but perhaps one has recently opened?) and "She descended the stairs to the platform..." doesn't make sense to me as she presumably arrived by train on the platform, and would have needed to ascend the stairs to reach the booking office/exit, which was presumably closed?

Unless they were short staffed, the booking office shouldn't be closed at 1256~ when the train arrived.

There is a ticket machine however, and if you felt bad for not paying you could surely buy a ticket to Heald Green and not use it for the same price as to Poulton, which should be £11.15 with an SRN discount?
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/PFY/plan.html?rtnloc=PFY

There is no sign of a café within the station (but perhaps one has recently opened?) and "She descended the stairs to the platform..." doesn't make sense to me as she presumably arrived by train on the platform, and would have needed to ascend the stairs to reach the booking office/exit, which was presumably closed?

This indeed is the case, as no-one was there on the platform when she disembarked, so she went upstairs to the booking office and finding no-one there and being worried she was on CCTV, returned down the stairs to the platform area to make enquiries.

I have telephoned her again at lunchtime today and she is adamant in what was first disclosed to me. She is a retired head teacher and a most truthful person, in full possession of her mental faculties.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Was the booking office physically closed, or was it un-shuttered but with no-one in sight? Often the clerk might disappear to fill out paperwork or do other roles when no-one needs to be served, so won't be instantly visible. With the greatest of respect to her, I fail to see why CCTV would worry her, unless she thought someone may classify it as suspicious behaviour (and I doubt any 76 year old would be thought of to do that)?
 

yorkie

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Stations Made Easy is out of date at several locations (notably King's Cross), so I can only guess there's a café that has opened since then. It now makes sense that she first went upstairs and found the ticket office closed. At that point, I personally think she has fulfilled any obligations and is not obliged to retrace her steps back to the platform, and I agree most people would not have done so. It would have been interesting if she had then sent a request for an invoice to TPE; I'd have been interested to see the results! (the possibility of this was raised in another thread a few weeks ago).
 

gdale1

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Was at poulton le fylde station last week and was pleasantly suprised to find a small coffee shop had recently opened. After a nice coffee at a very reasonable price, the proprietor confirmed that he had only been open a few weeks and was enjoying a brisk trade.
 
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