It was very gloomy this morning and this probably explained why we didn’t stir until 9am. The stove had gone out overnight but this was no hardship as the outside temperature is amazingly mild for this time of year. We took the opportunity to sweep the chimney.
We moved the boat a mile to Pendeford Bridge where there are 48 hour mooring rings and we’d identified this as a good place to access public transport.
Tomorrow we’re planning to go to RAF Cosford to visit the aircraft museum there and their website suggests arriving by train as it lies on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury railway line.
The village of Bilbrook is a half mile walk from our mooring and it has a railway station with trains to Cosford.
This afternoon we walked into Bilbrook to have a look at the station and to see how you acquire train tickets. Well the short answer is – you don’t!
The station is unusual in that the pedestrian access to the Wolverhampton bound line is separated from the Shrewsbury bound line by a roundabout with five roads leading off it and with no pedestrian traffic light system in place to help you cross the roads.
Having dodged the traffic to reach the Shrewsbury bound line we stood at the top of the pedestrian access ramp to the platform where there was a large sign suggesting that you should not board a train without a valid ticket and that if you failed to heed their advice you should be willing to pay a considerable fine. It then went on to say that if you couldn’t buy a ticket then you should have a ‘travel permit’. We’ve never heard of a travel permit before.
This is an unmanned station and usually you find a ticket machine on a platform that allows you to buy tickets for the date of travel, or collect tickets that you have bought on line. Having crossed the roundabout again, we discovered that there was no ticket machine on either platform but there was a machine that looked exactly like a parking pay and display meter, but without any table of charges. The clock on the machine was showing the wrong time – wrong by several hours. The only other sign on the machine was a list of the coins it would accept.
We consider ourselves quite travel savvy, but this system foxed us. The station was quite busy with people waiting for the train to Wolverhampton so we spoke to one to see if they could explain the system. They advised that we just ‘Pay on the Train’.
Now if you were timid, then by now you might be a little concerned that you were about to break the law and face a horrendous fine for not having obeyed the signage.
We found another sign that said if you had any queries then you could dial the given number for assistance. The same sign said there was no public pay phone on the station. When I checked my mobile phone it showed that I had no signal. Who thinks of these systems and how do visitors to our shores manage?
Tomorrow we will get on a train with our Two Together Railcard, willing to pay a reasonable fare for our short journey, and then if they reprimand us, play dumb, which is probably what they expect from two white haired travellers anyway!!