Cue announcement from Hangdog Conductor, without a hint of irony, "We apologise for the crowded nature of this morning's journey. Due to a clerical error, we will not be honouring seat reservations".
Now, I've heard this announcement at least once a week for the last two years, and that's only on the days that they bother with the apology. Perhaps the clerk that is responsible for the "clerical errors" might need some job retraining. What the announcement really means is, "Season pass holders don't get seat reservations, so you can get stuffed. All others with that have seat reservations can also get stuffed."
Train buddy and I managed to get seats this morning - just. Several of the other regular travelers that join at the next station weren't so lucky. However, I set up a seat time share arrangement with them. Community spirit isn't dead!
As poor Hangdog Conductor tried vainly to check tickets along the aisle that was virtually impenetrable with passengers, we enquired why the service had been more abominable than usual over the last week or so. He had no answer other than a nearly robotic, "On behalf of East Midlands Trains, we apologise for inconvenience [sigh]".