I arrived early at East Croydon station. Standing on the platform, I experienced the unique frustration of watching train after train arrive, then depart for my desired destination (Brighton).
The reason I couldn’t get on board any of them?
Not because I was on the wrong platform. Oh no, I was within inches of the open doors.
Not because they were too crowded. Oh no, there were plenty of available seats.
Not because I didn’t have a ticket. Oh no, I’d bought it online the night before and collected it from the so-called ‘quick’ ticket machine at the station.
The reason was that they were all Southern trains, and my ticket only allowed me to travel on trains run by First Capital Connect.
When you order the ticket, the small print advises you can only travel on FCC trains. There is no obvious signage when you pick up the ticket, not on the platform, nor on the train.