Railing at Northern

Like a great many British people, I have developed a loathing for Northern Rail. The company excels at delay and often outclasses its competitors when it comes to cancellations. I recently boarded one of its trains to Leeds. The train never got there, and after 3-4 hours stranded on this crowded cattle truck, we were sent back to our original stations. The conductor was apologetic and assured us that the company would compensate for the wasted journey. As I had nothing else to do, I applied there and then: I was due two free tickets to anywhere on the Northern Rail network. 

Unfortunately, the company rejected my claim. Although the two complimentary tickets were due to any whose journey was delayed by 120 minutes or more, the ‘Customer Sales Representative’ who handled my case informed me that as the train did not get to Leeds, I was not technically late, and therefore ineligible for any compensation. My dislike for the company turned to loathing. I phoned them up to object, and was put through to Saima, who sensibly disagreed with her colleague’s definition of lateness and sent me the two complimentary tickets. 

Two months later and I was catching the train from Clitheroe to Preston. I was running late and the train was due to leave. The conductor, seeing my panting, red face on the street below, generously delayed the train’s departure that I might board.

It struck me, as I gratefully sat on that Northern Train, wheezing and recovering my breath, that the company I dislike so much employs some kind, professional people. It is important that we Christians, while maintaining and defending the truth of the gospel- and therefore rejecting the claims made by other faiths- recognise the value of the people with whom we disagree. I reject Islam, but I love Muslims. I reject the Watchtower, but I love ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’. I reject Romanism, but I love Roman Catholics. I reject empty secularism, but I love humanists. Northern Rail is a shambolic company, coming at the bottom of consumer surveys (Which? October 2018), yet the people who work for it are some of the best you’ll ever meet.

Honour all men -1 Peter 2:17.

Image by MichaelGaida from Pixabay