True stories from the Great Railway Disaster: No 87: so you want ice in your G&T?

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by privatisation
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The Independent Online
It seemed a simple enough request. Sue Wood wanted a gin and tonic, with ice, on her train from Waterloo to Salisbury. The trolley attendant provided the gin and tonic but apologised for having no ice. As the train had only just left Waterloo, Ms Wood was surprised that the trolley had not been replenished there.

The man with the trolley confessed that he had run out of ice on the inward journey. So why did he not restock at Waterloo? After all, trains to Portsmouth and Bournemouth use that terminus and they have buffet cars with enough ice to sink the Titanic. "It's not the same catering company," came the sheepish confession, "so we can't get ice from them."

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