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Hatches, matches and train dispatchers

Submitted by on September 9, 2010 – 7:56 am2 Comments

Railway workers seem to have a reputation for being miserable gets (it’s having to deal with members of the public) and I couldn’t honestly say I’m the happiest person while at work. However, while I was waiting to work a train to Piccadilly from York on Saturday, I experienced a face more miserable than any FC United fan after Sunday’s 5-1 defeat to Matlock.

The female train dispatcher at York looked so forlorn that it prompted an old dear on the platform to enquire if anything was the matter with her. “Oh, I’m bored,” was the weary reply. “They’re decorating my office and I’ve been sent out to dispatch trains because I can’t get in there to work,” she explained as if it was the worst thing that had ever befallen anyone. “I think I’ll have to buy a paper to read,” she continued, adding: “I only ever buy one on a Saturday these days as they’re full of bad news.” Not wishing to cause her more concern the old dear agreed with this.

“I’m from Scarborough, though,” train dispatch woman added, visibly warming to her theme, “so I do like to get the local paper for the hatches, matches and dispatches.” While I was marvelling at this wonderful colloquialism for births, marriages and deaths and thinking that now made two papers, she continued: “Oh, and me and my partner like to get the Yorkshire Evening Post and pretend we’ve won the lottery that week and look at which houses we can afford to buy with our winnings.”

While I was digesting this bizarre pastime and thinking that now made three papers, the train arrived. As I got into the cab I heard train dispatch woman behind me say: “And that’s why you won’t be having chocolate today.” As I’d already had a Kit Kat on my break, I turned round to contradict her and noticed she was looking along the platform.

Clearly train dispatch woman wasn’t going to win slimmer of the year award so I said: “Sounds like you’re trying to convince yourself of something.” To which she replied: “There’s a woman getting on at the back who’s the size of an elephant and that’s why I won’t be having any chocolate today, in case I end up like her.” “Sounds like you can resist everything except temptation,” I responded. “Well, I can’t resist a glass of wine when I’ve had a bad day at work,” came her reply.

“I hope you’ve got plenty in then,” I said as I closed the door. It cheered me up no end.


I was in Hull this morning and saw an old-fashioned rag-and-bone man with a horse-drawn cart, something I don’t recall seeing since the 60s. I’m not saying Hull is an odd, depressing place and times are hard but when I went for breakfast a pensioner next to me had the strangest breakfast concoction I’ve ever witnessed: he ordered four hash browns and two slices of dry, brown toast – which were cut in half. One piece at a time he placed a slice of toast on his plate, put a hash brown on top, and ate them together. Then washed it all down with a cup of coffee containing six sachets of cream.


  • SFTB says:

    Quote………….Railway workers seem to have a reputation for being miserable gets (it’s having to deal with members of the public) & bloody Drivers!!!!!!

  • 1879 says:

    whereas signalmen are too busy knocking one out on the qt between trains. Speaking of knocking one out, you missed the squiz in cycm on saturday. Poor form on your part for any squiz bank building..

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