18 OCTOBER 1963, Page 9

No Return And that reminds me of another battle with

bureaucracy, which I see has moved into corres- pondence columns recently. Last August, in a fit of absence of mind, I bought a single ticket to a Sussex destination, oily to remember that I already possessed a valid return half ticket to take me there. 1 used the return, and sent back the single to its place of origin, Victoria Station. A few days later the ticket came back from a branch of Thomas Cook's, saying that as they had not sold it to me they could not refund me the fare. Baffled, I sent the ticket once again to Victoria. This time it provoked a letter 'from the line manager in Croydon, informing me that as I had failed to make the claim before the expiry of the ticket's validity, he was unable to accede to my request. In other words, because of some confusion in the post, no refund. And why should the railways, unlike other transport systems, deny refunds on tickets which are not used? According to one theory it is to protect BR from certain fiddles, so ingenious that .they have not been made public. But surely it is a deplorable principle to penalise the ordinary traveller as a means of insuring against rogues?