However, Mr Wilkins managed to persuade the manager to ring Bristol where "fortunately somebody agreed to reimburse Salisbury station for my taxi fare".
While waiting at Bristol Mr Wilkins discovered another interesting facet of commercialisation. Along with the passengers waiting for the train to arrive was a woman with a fully laden buffet trolley who was going to board the service.Mr Wilkins, desperate for a cup of tea, asked to buy one, but the woman said she was not allowed to sell food or drinks on the platform. She said she had previously been "told off" for doing so because the company she worked for only had a contract to sell its wares on the train. Mr Wilkins tried to obtain the station duty manager's permission for her to sell him a cup of tea but, after some time, the man told Mr Wilkins that he did not "have the power" to permit her to sell to the delayed passengers.
And thank you to Mr W Kenyon of Romsey, Hants, who pointed out that the numbering of this column has been as erratic as Railtrack's timetable. For the growing number of collectors, there have been three errors: 7, 8, 7 (i e, should have been 9), 10; 27, 28, 28 (29), 29 (30), 31; 37, 38, 38 (39), 40. Unlike Railtrack, we are prepared to apologise for our mistakes.