Train Name

So, I was going on a day trip to Kilkenny with some of my friends and we all booked our tickets in advance.

It gives you an option to book your seat – why wouldn’t you? – and your name will appear above the seat.

Two very important things to know about me:

  1. I love having my name on things
  2. I am prone to silliness.

In this case, no. 2 won and instead of entering my own name on the booking form, I decided to use a fake name. It’s fun to pretend to be someone else and I tried to convince my friends to do the same. They didn’t think it was as funny as I did – but I did it anyway.

The name I chose was Ruby Tuesday, after the song, not the restaurant chain it turns out is a thing. That discovery really de-sexified the name for me, but at the time I didn’t know about it. So, I input Ruby Tuesday thinking we’d get a bit of a laugh and I’d have a glamorous, rock and roll inspired, slightly stripper-y name for the day.

I got my booking confirmation “you are booked… Ruby Tuesday… blah blah blah… For more information visit our ticket collection page…” Being a stickler for rules and regulations as well as an anxious traveller (and an anxious non-traveller, anxious in general really) I, of course, went straight to the page to ensure I knew EXACTLY how to get my ticket and board the train. Never underestimate regulations.

Tickets may be collected at selected ticket offices by presenting the ‘Booking Number’ and one of the following forms of identification:

a valid driving licence
a valid passport
The identification presented must match a name(s) of those booked under the reservation. In the event of a dispute regarding identification or authenticity Iarnród Éireann staff members reserve the right not to furnish any tickets to any person.

Where a customer has selected a ticket type requiring identification, as indicated when booking, the appropriate identification must be presented.

Oh, shit.

I had nothing that identified me as Ruby Tuesday… because that’s not my name. Obviously. I was panicking, convinced that when I went to collect my tickets I would be refused and have to stay in Dublin while everyone else went to the comedy festival. It was too late, at this stage, to get a full refund and then re-book the ticket under My Actual Name.

Everyone told me it would be fine and there was no way they would actually check, but that was easy for them to say, they had tickets with their real names on them. Their seats would have their names on them. If anyone challenged their seat, they could show their real IDs with their real names on them.

So, I did what any normal person in a spiral of anxiety would do. I called the authorities. Specifically, a nice man named Tim who worked for Irish Rail.

It must have been difficult to understand my problem, as I explained it, it sounded more and more ridiculous – but in a stupid way, rather than a fun way. I was also getting more and more hysterical as I imagined the consequences of booking a train ticket under a fake name. A lifelong travel ban? Jail time? The stocks?

“Sorry, you booked your ticket and you want to change it?”

“No, the name. I mean, I didn’t book it under my… normal name.”

“Eh… right.”

“Will it be okay?”

“Yeah… I mean… As long as it’s not like… Santa Claus or something.”

“It’s Ruby Tuesday.”

Long pause. Very long pause. I mean, I thought he might have hung up.

“That’s probably going to be fine.”

There I had it. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Thanks, Tim. It’s Probably Going To Be Fine. If anyone had a problem with Ruby Tuesday taking the train, they could take it up with my good friend Tim. I marched confidently towards Heuston Station, daring anyone to question my conflicting ID – TIM SAID IT WAS OK.

In the end, I didn’t even need to present anything because I collected my ticket from a machine and literally nobody cared what it said.

So, the moral of the story is to always use your real name when booking a train ticket.

Or, don’t. It makes no difference.

Unless you’re Santa Claus. Then, you might want to book under a fake name.

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