9 February, 2003: Come friendly trains

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This happened a while ago, but I guess in some sense it's worth reporting....

I was slightly amused by an incident at Cambridge station this evening.

I went to catch a train to London, and found on my arrival numerous police officers, sniffer dogs, and various expensive-looking cars around the station forecourt. When I got on to the platform, there were more police and well-dressed persons obviously expecting to meet somebody from a train.

This surprised me. I had not realised that `important' people travelled by train any more.

So, anyway, after a little while, the train gets in and the reception committee chase it up the platform. They return and in amongst the throng of the crowd I spot somebody who looks a lot like the Chancellor of the University. I am surprised, since I had assumed that royalty had chauffeur-driven limousines, helicopters, etc. to transport themselves around the kingdom and had no need to travel on WAGN. Curious, I head back out to the station forecourt and ask a policeman what was going on. He eyes me very suspiciously, then tells me that, indeed, Prince Philip had come through the station. I thank him and go to catch my train.

Later I realise that the suspicion of the constable had probably been aroused by the fact that I was wearing my POLICE STATE DO NOT CROSS t-shirt.

So-- the moral of the story? Well, I'm not sure. Some possibilities: even travelling by train won't save you from encountering `celebrities'; choose your clothing carefully before approaching a police officer; and the rather trivial `people are always shorter than they look on the television'.

Copyright (c) 2003 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.