True stories from the Great Railway Disaster; No 60: so you want to use your BR refund vouchers?

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the privatisation programme
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The Independent Online
CAROL Godsmark does not use InterCity trains from Euston very often because she lives in Chichester, Sussex. This makes it difficult for her to use the refund vouchers she received from InterCity West Coast for a delayed journey during the recent bad weather. She went to Buxton via Stockport from Euston, and because she was delayed on both the outgoing and return journeys due to icing, she received what she calls the "princely refund of pounds 25" of the pounds 39 InterCity fare.

Ms Godsmark had assumed the vouchers would be valid for travel anywhere on the rail network. Not any more. She presented a voucher for a ticket to Victoria at her local station and was told by a scowling clerk that it was not valid. She queried this and the clerk disappeared, making her miss the train, and returned "ages later" to confirm that the "voucher was only good for InterCity West Coast".

Ms Godsmark exploded: "I pointed out, isn't the BR logo on these vouchers supposed to be interpreted as being able to use them on any part of our great railway heritage?" She complains: "I had no choice but to spend the extra money on a ticket and to wait nearly an hour for the next train, fuming. Needless to say, I shall not be travelling to Birmingham or anywhere near that part of Britain as it was a one-off trip and I am left with worthless vouchers. I shall, of course, don boxing gloves and fight. Mad? You betcha!"