I recently booked a seat on a train from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. It was for the Bank Holiday Monday yesterday. Now travelling by train and Bank Holidays usually mean engineering work, but there was not a hint of anything wrong when I ordered the ticket through the Virgin Strain website.

I wanted to book a particular journey at a particular time so as to arrive before 10.00am. A bloke I know was collecting me from the station to take me to complete a deal to buy his Suzuki GSX-R750K4 and I was then going to travel a good many miles to see friends in North East Lincs. before heading back down to London. A long day. And as I would be riding a new sports motorcycle, it was a no-brainer that I should wear full leathers and boots, etc.

So I booked a ticket on the 8.23am train and got an e-mail confirmation through the e-mail address I registered with them. The ticket arrived by post a few days later and it was ‘open’.

Come the day, I got on a bus at 7.20am to London Bridge followed by a tube to Euston. Once there I looked at the departure board. No sign of the 8.23am. I asked at the information desk and was told that it had been cancelled. Nice of them to announce that, eh? And no e-mail to let me know. Nothing. So off I went to the information/ticket office. The next train would be after 11.00am and would take the best part of three hours as it would be part train, part bus! So much for letting Virgin get me there on time. She did say I could get a Chiltern Trains service from Marylebone that would get me there earlier and I asked how to get there. She suggested a couple of underground lines, so off I went down to the Underground.

The lines I needed were suspended for engineering works!

When I eventually got to Marylebone Station – complete with a massive blister from walking part of the way to find a taxi – it transpired that I had paid more for this ‘service’ than if I’d bought it from Chiltern Trains. Great…