During a recent power outage which left people on trains stranded for several hours, we summarised some of the tweets that frustrated users left that day. In particular, we had a fondness for the Southern Trains parody Twitter account, which has more than 45,000 followers. And that got us thinking ... could this be a new way of rating a train company in London — looking at how many followers its parody Twitter accounts have?
In the name of science therefore, we decided to investigate. Here are our entirely unscientific findings:
The main Southern Trains UK parody account is @southern_trains with over 46,407 followers. A typical tweet:
Just letting you nice ppl know that it's a bank holiday in Spain. Therefore we are running a significantly reduced service. Have a nice day.
— Southern Trains UK (@Southern_Trains) June 1, 2015
Then, there's the account that brightened up commuters' journeys during the mega delays at Clapham Junction — @BadSouthernRail (1,119 followers)
We found a few more ...
Southern Wail @southernwail — 896 followers.
— Southern Wail (@SouthernWail) March 31, 2015
Southern Trains Suck @rubbishsouthern (105 followers), Southern Loco @Loco_Trains (175 followers) and Southern Scandal @south3rnscandal (58 followers) - those last four haven't been used for some time, so let's call it six Twitter parody accounts that relate to Southern.
And that got us thinking a bit more: maybe a better way to judge this would be how many parody accounts in total a company has set up in its name? So we carried on digging...
South West Trains
The main active account is South West Pains @southwestpains (3,336 followers) with a typical tweet being:
Due to strike action, there will be no service on Friday 5th June. So, business as usual. — South West Pains (@SouthWestPains) June 2, 2015
Although we also found a few more old/redundant accounts for them too, including:
South Worst Trains @swtrains (219 followers), South Worst Trains @sworst_trains (73 followers)
South West Twits @SWtwits (238 followers), South West Twats @southwesttwats (112 followers)
and, Not South West Trainz @SWTtrains (10 followers)
Onto the company that people gripe about even more than Southern:
Southeastern @se_raleway (5,809 followers)
Disruption caused by earlier delays caused by disruption due to delays as a result of disruption is causing delays. Delays #southeastern
— Southeastern (@Se_Raleway) May 28, 2015
There's also Southeastern Failway @se_failway (1,389 followers) But that was all we could find! Just the two accounts. Know of any others?
First Great Western
This operator oversees some of the most congested trains into the capital, so surely there's a parody account or two out there? And there is: Worst Late Western @worstlatewstrn (1,001 followers)
There's also Late Worst Western @lastworstwestrn (583 followers)
An evergreen joke-target, the Thameslink line is prone to failures, breakdowns and staff shortages. No end of parody fun there here, surely?
Well there's ... @ihatethameslink (1,304 followers)
Weekends are such a joy - no #thameslink commuting!
— I Hate Thameslink (@ihatethameslink) January 31, 2015
And then a few other smaller ones too ... Thamesink @TLtrainsUK (224 followers) "Specialist in creating chaos due to lack of investment", ThamesStink @ThamesStink_ (126 followers) and Trainslate @TLRailGB (193 followers) — four in total. To wrap things up, we also found a fair few for...
"Service disruption: There are currently service disruptions affecting our service disruptions. Expect disruption to the disruptions."
And lastly there's Lesser Anglia @lesser_anglia (316 followers).
In a turn of events that we didn't quite expect, how about this: we couldn't find any parody Twitter account for C2C. One could argue therefore that this is the train company doing the best of all in London.
The Victoria line is operating a badum-TISH syncopated service POW yeah due to a heavy influence of free jazz. Minor seventh delays.
— TLF Travel Alerts (@TlfTravelAlerts) May 28, 2015
But overall, based on the number of followers and the numerous other parody accounts, Southern Trains UK scoops the prize for being the worst train company in London. Um, well done?