True stories from the Great Railway Disaster; No 76: so you want to make a connection

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme
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Ex Tory MPs are not immune from the downsides of privatisation as Peter Bruinvels, once of the rent-a-quote tendency, discovered to his cost.

The former Leicester MP is now the prospective Parliamentary candidate for The Wrekin in Shropshire, and travels frequently from Euston to Wellington near Telford to campaign for his new seat.

This journey requires a change at Birmingham New Street, and recently he took the 7.15am from London which arrived at 9.13am, 16 minutes late, at Birmingham. He reckoned he still had time to catch the 9.17am bound for Shrewsbury and rushed over the footbridge. However, although he got there at 9.16, he found that the train doors were closed and the guard refused to let him, or his four fellow passengers, on the train.

Mr Bruinvels reports that the platform staff refused to help him and did not appear to care. They told him that the train did not have to wait for the Euston connection as there was no agreed connection - the trains are run by different companies - and explained that keeping the train back would result in a pounds 45 fine by Railtrack for every minute's delay.

The Independent on Sunday's 'Great British Rail Disaster' by Christian Wolmar, which includes more than 60 items from this column, has just been published by Ian Allan at pounds 5 99. If you have difficulty obtaining a copy, send a cheque or postal order, or a Visa/Access authorisation, to the Great British Railway Disaster, Ian Allan Ltd, Coombelands House, Coombelands Lane, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 1HY. (Tel: 01932 855909 ex 235/236).

Examples of railway folly should be sent in envelopes marked "Mad" to:

Christian Wolmar, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.