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It so happens that on occasion I’ve been heard to employ sarcasm. For the most part I reserve this skill for colleagues who usually manage to give as good as they get. But sometimes the questions from the customers get a little too much.

“Excuse me, what is the difference between this train and that one?”

This might be a reasonable question under some circumstances. We have two platforms and trains will leave from either one but – crucially – will go in the same direction. It therefore matters not a jot which one you take as the only difference between them will be about three minutes. This would be perfectly obvious to people if they would bother to read either the signs or the dot matrix which tells you where the trains are going. But they prefer to ask people wearing blue. Most of the time I’ll just point to the one which is leaving first. Other times…I won’t.

“THIS train on my right is London Underground tube stock designed specifically for use in deep level tunnels and is fitted out in a rather fetching moquette which is also designed specifically for London Underground. As you can see it bears the London Underground livery of blue and white with red doors. That rumbling noise you hear is the smooth build-up of the motors which is not bad for a vehicle which is several years older than I am. Now on the other hand THIS TRAIN on my left…”

There is a barely perceptible pause as I gaze at the platform to my left and contemplate the full meaning of the the motors we heard a moment ago.

…”THIS train, is a prototype of the 2009 Mark 1 stealth tube stock which is designed exclusively for London Underground. As you can see the cloaking device is currently activated and this allows the train to nonstop the less-busy stations at peak times without passengers on the platform seeing it go by. Thusly reducing the number of persons on the train and making for a more comfortable ride on the specially designed London Underground moquette-covered seats. In every respect it is a much better train however I’d recommend you take the train to the right as it leaves first.”

And with that I marched off to somewhere that passengers can’t follow.

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