It’s easily done. Misread the station departures board, hurry onto the train – and just as you pull away you realise something is wrong…

That’s what happened to two friends, both aged 89. And unfortunately the train they caught from Kings Cross was a non-stop express to York.

Mollie Muetzel and friend Kathleen Lowndes had enjoyed afternoon tea at the Savoy Hotel before going to the station for their journey home, reports the Telegraph online.

It should have taken them 30 minutes to reach their station at Knebworth in Hertfordshire.

Mollie told the paper:

We went past four or five long carriages, all first-class, before eventually getting on.

Two young chaps gave up their seats and then soon after the train had departed I heard mention of York.

They were looked after well by the crew on the Virgin East Coast train, who supplied them with free tea and cakes.

But their impromptu visit to York turned out to be a short one.

When they arrived at the station a member of staff escorted them to a Stevenage-bound train and they finally go home by 10pm after a four-hour detour.

Viking Ragnar is behind the times with his sonic screwdriver. Photograph: Jorvik Viking Centre
Viking Ragnar is behind the times with his sonic screwdriver. Photograph: Jorvik Viking Centre

Doctor Who fans were enthralled by the Time Lord’s encounter with the Vikings at the weekend.

It was only the second time in the long history of the series that the Doctor had met the Norsemen and women.

No doubt the folk from York’s Jorvik Viking Centre were glued to their screens.

Certainly they couldn’t contain their delight when Peter Capaldi, who plays the 12th Doctor, revealed the planned encounter in July.

Back then, Jorvik Viking Ragnar (aka historical interpreter Nathan Wade) said:

We’re hoping that they are friends not foes for the Doctor and Clara, though, as I suspect that the famous sonic screwdriver would have little effect when pitched against a long sword or battle axe.

As it turns out the sonic screwdriver didn’t make an appearance. Ditched for this series, it has been replaced by a pair of highly irritating “sonic sunglasses” – much to the ire of many Whovians.

But Ragnar was right in a way – the sonic apparatus were no match for the Vikings. One of their first actions was to stamp on the annoying shades, to cheers throughout the land.