ON February 9, I travelled by rail to Worcestershire to visit my daughter and grandchildren for the weekend.

I am single, in my mid 80s and registered visually impaired. As is my usual practice I noted down the fare together with train times, changes and arrival and leaving times along with platform numbers for the changes.

I arrived at Bank Quay station about 10 minutes before the train to find the ticket office closed.

The only access to a ticket was via a machine which I cannot use because of my disability. There was no one around to provide assistance.

Remembering what was said in the ‘consultation process’ about this allowing staff to provide a better service at platforms, I made my way to platform two to seek assistance. None was to be found.

I walked up and down half the platform looking without success. I even asked in the refreshment room how I could get a ticket to be told that I could go to the mess room on platform three to ask.

By now, the train was due in two minutes. Two station staff did appear on platform three to advise passengers to stand well back as the train due to pass would not be stopping, but when the train had gone, so had the staff.

Eventually, a member of staff arrived at the same time as the train was stopping. I asked him to be told that I would have to book with the train guard. I therefore boarded without ticket.

No guard appeared to my seat, and at somewhere between Crewe and Stafford, the train came to a grinding halt and a speaker announcement told us that we would be going back to Crewe to await further instruction.

We trundled slowly back to Crewe, where a speaker announcement advised that the train was to be rerouted, missing out Wolverhampton, Dudley, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International.

As I could see no way of getting a connection to Worcester missing these, I was now stranded at Crewe, without any information and without a ticket.

I eventually found a member of staff who said there was a train to New Street from platform four and could he see my ticket.

Explaining that I did not have one, he took me to a desk where I was sold one for trains to get me to my destination one whole hour after I should have been there.

The irony of this is that had I bought the ticket at Bank Quay and got to my destination a whole hour late, I could have claimed a full refund, but the ticket sold to me at Crewe does not permit this.

I listened to the spiel about how closing ticket offices would provide benefits, and now I know what they are – financial ones to the rail companies.

In April I will be travelling to Stratford-upon-Avon, and this will mean a journey via Birmingham, Warrington Bank Quay and Warrington Central to ensure that I have a ticket.

I am reliably informed that this is progress. Perhaps someone could explain all these advances.

Should that be the case, please no lecture on internet banking and smart phones as such are beyond my visual capabilities.