"As if it wasn't miserable enough, the next station stop is Doncaster:" Virgin train guard shocks passengers with swipe at town
Rail passengers were left shocked when a train guard apparently took a swipe at the town by announcing: "As if it wasn't miserable enough already, the next station stop is Doncaster."
Traveller Mark Davies was aboard a Virgin Trains express from London King's Cross to York on Monday when the guard reportedly made the comment as the train approached Doncaster.
He said: "Just as we were coming in, this guy came on the intercom and said "if today wasn't already miserable enough, the next station stop is Doncaster."
The 13.08 service from the capital along the East Coast Main Line had already battled through torrential rain and strong winds and Mark, 45, from York, says the conductor's remarks were referencing the weather - but he didn't see the funny side.
He said: "I understand that he was probably trying to be funny, but I don't think it was his place to be disparaging and make an unnecessary put down.
"It might just have been a joke and light-hearted comment but I found it a bit sarcastic. I've travelled on trains plenty but never heard an announcer make their thoughts clear on what they think of a place.
"It all seemed a bit unprofessional."
Mark, a traffic surveyor, called his friend Robert Wainman to tell him of the announcement and the proud Doncastrian instantly sprung into action, contacting Doncaster MPs Ed Miliband, Rosie Winterton and Caroline Flint and the managing director of Virgin Trains to make a complaint.
Doncaster-born Robert, who lives in Selby, said: "I've got a strong attachment to Doncaster and don't like people having a dig and criticising it.
"Doncaster has got a very proud railway history so its not on when someone is making cheap digs. I know the guy probably thinks he was just being funny, but it's not on."
Mark says that further remarks came as the train pulled into York with the guard announcing: "We are now arriving into York, which is in a different time zone so please put your watches back 25 years."
He added: "I don't want to get the guy sacked, but I just don't think its right and doesn't portray Virgin in a great light."
We have contacted Virgin Trains for a comment.