The journey back from Liverpool on the train requires a change at Manchester Piccadilly. It’s just a case of walking, or standing on the moving walkway, back to the main platforms. I found the London Euston train and a seat about 5 or 10 minutes before departure. The train stopped at Stockport, then moved off again and I’m listening to Penn Radio on my iPod. I heard the announcer mention Stoke-on-Trent but I thought that I had missed the fact that Macclesfield was the next stop. Near home I got out of my seat and moved towards the door, only to see Macclesfield station whizz past at high speed.
Thankfully Stoke-on-Trent isn’t all that far away. It isn’t like it’s as far as Birmingham or London even. But I panic slightly thinking, “Do I now need to buy a Stoke-on-Trent to Macclesfield return ticket?”. I got off the train and bought a single ticket back to Macclesfield. There was no point getting a return because I was already there. £6.30 lighter, after already spending £15.10 on the return trip to Scouseland, I walked over to the other platform and waited 5 minutes for the next train home.
Of course no one checked my ticket from Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent else they would have been able to tell me that the train doesn’t stop at Macclesfield. And no one checked my ticket from Stoke-on-Trent to Macclesfield. So I could have travelled for free. Or just bought a ticket on the train if I was asked.
For 2 years I travelled from Macclesfield to Manchester when I was at Manchester Polytechnic, as it was then known. Countless times since I’ve travelled on the same route and always the train has stopped at Macclesfield because it is a main-line station. The video monitors on the platform were only showing a list of departures instead of the details of the train on the platform. The displays on the side of the train either weren’t working or hadn’t been set-up.
So, is honesty the best policy? Not if it costs an extra £6.30 it isn’t!