I woke up this morning to find a box on my doorstep. Nothing new there: I'm currently being stalked by Russell Tovey, and he frequently leaves me gifts - chocolates, jewellery, pictures of him naked save for a pair of opened toed sandals. I keep saying stop, The Bf will find out, but I just can't quell his ardour. It's a hard life.
However, this box was different. Eight inches square, it was wrapped in plain brown paper, and my name was spelt out using letters cut from the newspaper. I wracked my brains: did I know anyone who had recently been kidnapped? After all, I know some very important people. One of my friends has met Cherie Blair. He could be in a cellar somewhere, right now, chained to a radiator with only a transistor tuned to the World Service for company. Unlikely, because no-one uses transistor radios these days, but you never know.
I gingerly opened the package, and inside was a letter. It had been wrapped around a Sheila Hancock souvenir paperweight: she was wearing her wimple from Sister Act. I took this as a veiled threat, having seen her as a Madam Whiplash judge on Over The Rainbow.
I read what you wrote about Hooton the other day and I thought I'd put you right on a few things. Don't ask who I am: just trust me when I tell you that I am amazing, and know more than you ever will.
There are no plans to cut back the Ellesmere Port service to a shuttle, as you discussed. Quite the contrary. Merseyrail are planning on increasing the Chester service to four trains from December, yes, but that will be at no cost to the Ellesmere Port service. Through effective management of the fleet, they'll be able to increase frequencies without causing any problems. That'll mean six trains an hour between Hooton and Hamilton Square, and a total of fourteen trains an hour between Hamilton Square and Liverpool. Not bad eh?
"That's pretty good," I said, then realised I was talking to a letter.
Chester's not just one of the busiest routes: it also has "suppressed demand". There will have to be a change to the maintenance routines, but they will manage. There'll be no need to bring in the trains from down south for the new schedules, either, though Merseyrail is still looking at the possibility of bringing them into the fold in the future. Passenger numbers are rising all the time.
"So why improve Hooton? What's the reason?" I gasped.
I'm not sure why I can hear that, but here's the answer to your question. Hooton is being improved because it's a busy junction with a large car park that has been a little neglected. That's it. There's no ulterior motive - just a desire to make the station that little bit better, that little bit nicer, that little bit more accessible.
You're a cynical chap, I know: but remember that sometimes people do things for good reasons.
A RELIABLE SOURCE
P.S. This letter will now self-destruct.
With that, the missive burst into flames in my hand. As I ran my burnt fingertips under the cold tap, I couldn't help smiling. Two more trains an hour to Chester is fantastic news - that's doubling the service. It's a plan with no down sides. Increased frequencies between two major cities, metro-level service along the Wirral Line, and Ellesmere Port stays as an integral part of the network. Marvellous. Hurrah for anonymous tip offs!