‘The journey started pleasantly enough’, said Darren. ‘People were reading copies of Librarian Monthly or working on spreadsheets. I hadn’t even realised I was in the Quiet Coach until it all kicked off.
‘It wasn’t even much of a call, just my wife phoning to ask what I wanted for my tea. When I looked up, all these people had risen from their seats. Some were wearing bandanas, and an accountant from Preston was stripping to the waist and smearing camouflage paint on his cheeks. They didn’t make a sound, just used hand signals like in films.’
‘The women were the worst. The looks of hate. What kind of person permanently carries a stove and a pot of tar around the country? Other than UKIP members, obviously.’
‘After the tarring they stepped out into the vestibule to discuss something, then returned with a bag of feathers and covered me from head to toe.’
A spokesman for British Transport Police confirmed that there had been a ‘breach of protocol’ on a Quiet Coach but that the offender had been ‘dealt with by civilians’.
‘He should think himself lucky. Last year a Highland train had to stop so that passengers could burn a man for humming. They keep a stock of wicker men up there for just this eventuality. Some of the passengers don’t even need to travel, they just love the camaraderie. We tolerate it as long as it doesn’t get out of hand – to be honest, it’s nice to see members of the public taking an interest in railway regulations.’