Number of people on conference call somewhere between five and 130,000

THE number of people simultaneously talking down a static-filled phone line has been estimated as between five and the entire population of Preston.

The call, co-ordinating marketing strategy between head and branch offices of KJC Services, has reached the 20-minute mark with no clear leaders and a succession of beeped arrivals and departures.

Manager Carolyn Ryan said: “We managed to agree that the weather wasn’t good, though I’m not sure whether that was referring to the weather in London, Shenzen or New York.

“Every time I speak, after an awkward 12-second pause, everyone else speaks as well and not a word can be understood.

“There was someone with an American accent talking for a while and we were all straining to hear it, then we realised it was Columbo on in the background.

“I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard the same voice twice and the last few seemed to be giving me urgent messages to pass on to the living.

“Still it’s better than work.”

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Rail companies one step closer to perfectly empty trains

RAIL operators are moving ever closer to a network completely rid of annoying passengers.

The 2.2 per cent rise in fares, which exceeds inflation and wage increases, will ensure fewer people can afford to take trains meaning fares will increase again next year.

A spokesman for South West Trains said: “It makes us just as mad as you when trains are late or fail to turn up, but we know that it’s all the fault of the grubby commuters who infest them like bacteria in a bloodstream.

“By 2017, only first-class passengers will be able to afford it, each with the luxurious four-person table they and their laptops deserve, and by 2023 train travel will be more expensive than private jet and we can stop making all those irritating stops at stations.

“Our gleaming train sets will shuttle gracefully around the country, always on time, their only contact with the public the vast subsidies they receive.”

Enthusiasts running steam railways have confirmed that they share this dream, and have asked customers to pay their fares then go away and let them carry on playing.