The Fourth Estate is today, it seems, taking a break from kicking South West Trains (SWT) over the dismissal of ticket clerk Ian Faletto. It’s possible that the protagonists, principally those at the Daily Mail and Maily Telegraph, realise they may have overplayed the story, but I doubt it: those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet are not prone to bouts of reticence.
Here on Zelo Street, significant further information has been received, although I am not at liberty to identify its source, nor the route that it took in arriving here. The picture painted is of a clerk so bound up in his work that he goes beyond the limits of his remit, and an employer that eventually runs out of patience. It is not a happy story, and nor is the outcome.
Ian Faletto was a ticket clerk and nothing more, and thus did not receive Personal Track Safety (PTS) training: he was not permitted to go on the track in the course of his duties. He did, however, style himself “Station Master”, to the annoyance of management at SWT.
The presence of a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) on the station platform clearly taxed Faletto, who appeared to fear it would endanger his job security. So he removed the change from it, making cash payments next to impossible. At other times he would cone it off and hang a home-made “out of use” sign on it.
The best and worst of Ian Faletto, I’m told, came when the train service was suspended one day: on his own initiative, he ordered taxis to take punters to connect with main line services at Brockenhurst (very good), then prevented anyone who had not bought a ticket from him using them (very bad).
Faletto was not required to perform any platform duties at Lymington Town station: the trains were “self dispatched” by the guard. But he did, on occasion, stop those running late who had not bought tickets boarding trains, though they intended to buy from the guard. One complaint about that would have resulted in disciplinary action.
And then there was the affair of the shopping trolley, which started the whole media circus off. My information is that the CCTV footage showed Faletto litter picking, and that no shopping trolley can be seen. None has since been found. The traction current had not been switched off, and neither the duty signaller, nor anyone at Control, has been disciplined.This, by itself, would not, I understand, have been sufficient to earn Faletto the sack, except for one inconvenient detail: he had what might be called “previous”. The extent of that is not known. It seems that the litter picking was the proverbial last straw. But that has not dissuaded the media – I’ll look at that next.