The tale of Jock Costello from Midhurst

The train ticket which was never used     Picture by Louise Adams C131113-1
The train ticket which was never used Picture by Louise Adams C131113-1

One day in June, 1946, James Costello bought a return railway ticket from Glasgow Central to Haslemere, the nearest railway station to Midhurst, 443 miles away.

He never used the second half.

The reason? He re-met Peggy Foarde, the girl he had fallen in love with during the war, found a local building job, married the girl, played football for the town team, raised a family, became a pillar of the community and lived a life so full that he and his wife celebrated 61 years of marriage.

In their earlier years, James (known throughout Midhurst as “Jock”) and Peggy, lived with Peggy’s family where the Khan’s Brasserie Indian restaurant now sits, on the corner of Lambert’s Lane and North Street.

Throughout all this time James kept the return ticket in a pocket of his wallet.

It was still there when he died last month aged 92.

“He kept saying he never knew when he might need to use it,” laughed his middle son Dick, holding up the faded, cream-coloured ticket frayed at the end where the ‘outward’ journey section was twisted off 67 years ago.

“Anyway, he was a canny Scotsman and never threw anything away.”

Only once did James go back to Glasgow.

It was in 1965, when he took Peggy and their three sons to visit his relatives and the area of the city where he had once worked for the Teacher’s whisky distillery.

But then it was on a party ticket. The open return remained in his wallet.

Dick Costello, who played football and rugby for the Midhurst teams, said: “He enjoyed living in Midhurst and I think Midhurst enjoyed him living here, too.”

Is the ticket James kept still valid on today’s railways?

Regretfully not, said a spokesman for South West Trains.

Terms and conditions from then do not apply today, especially now various companies operate the railways.

“However, as a gesture, we would like to offer Mr Costello’s family first -class day return tickets to anywhere on our network.

“We hope their journey brings them as much joy as their father’s journey brought him.”