MY first ever press trip was somewhat more bizarre. It was to Crewe.
But there was a twist – it was the night mail train to Crewe back in 1988.
We met up with this high speed sorting office in York and the Royal Mail press officer welcomed the assembled throng of hacks and gave a brief introduction.
But as he rambled on excitedly about all the mail we were going to see and how quickly it was going to be sorted, there was only one question from a Leeds-based bloke who had been a journalist for years.
“What booze is on board,’’ he said.
“Alcohol?'' said the bemused and, by now, slightly panicky press officer.
“Nothing. This is a dry train.’’
“We’re not coming then,’’ said the well-seasoned hack who seemed to have taken it on his experienced shoulders to speak for us all.
We were all very young so just nodded and said nothing.
“You can’t have a press trip without booze,’’ the hack continued.
And he meant it.
I can still see the press officer to this day turning up 15 minutes later with crates of beer piled high on a porter’s trolley that he’d bought from an off-licence round the corner.
Looking at the pained expression on his face he was also clearly wondering how on earth he was going to recoup this on his expenses.
After all, he’d broken the rules but at least he’d got the press trip back on track ... quite literally.
It was interesting chatting to the sorting staff as the train sped through the night, but they were gobsmacked to see us all clutching cans in our hands.
It ended with a night at a hotel in Crewe – now that’s living it up.
But none of us was allowed anywhere near our beds until the hack had insisted on a ‘nightcap’ session in the bar.
And he was still first up for a full English the following morning.
I’ve never seen him since.