The Best Excuses Train Companies Have Used For Delays And Cancellations

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 12 months ago
The Best Excuses Train Companies Have Used For Delays And Cancellations

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Train delays and cancellations at King's Cross station

From the wrong kind of snow to rails buckling in the extreme heat, and repeated mentions of "congestion in the London Bridge area", rail commuters are used to hearing reasons as to why their train is delayed or cancelled. But sometimes, we hear (or, in the age of Twitter, read) an excuse which makes us do a double take. Here are some of the best explanations we've heard:

Our favourite ever:

So. many. questions. It also reminded us of this 2014 incident:

London Bridge railway station and tracks from above

Inanimate household object blocks the tracks:

Animals are frequent offenders:

You'd be a-llama-ed if you saw this chap on your commute.

"Up to 60 cattle were spotted walking along the track and going into a tunnel between Hever and Ashurst in Kent" in April 2017, according to the BBC, leaving passengers hoping they'd be moo-ved on quickly. It only took four of the creatures to block the line in Yalding.

It's not just animals on the tracks that cause problems. Sometimes they get inside the actual train:

And it's not just the Home Counties where animal issues occur:

When things just don't work as they're supposed to:

A Southern Rail passenger reported hearing that their train was cancelled because their company "couldn't find a driver". Fair enough — staff sickness sometimes means that there aren't enough drivers for all services. On more than one occasion, we've been the recipient of an announcement that the train company couldn't locate "the driver" — as in, a specific member of their staff has gone missing somewhere on their network.

Then of course, there was the time that the piece of equipment that's meant to make everything run more smoothly and prevent delays broke down itself, piling on even more delays. Embarrassing indeed.

There's just no accounting for the general public:

In November 2016, Southern Rail customers were very late home due to a topless rapper filming an audition video on the tracks outside Norwood Junction. As you do.

Last but not least, the weather issues:

Sunshine on railway track

(Note that this incident of "strong sunshine" took place in January. In south-east London).

Trampolines are regular offenders, being lifted from trackside gardens in high winds and storms, and landing on tracks from Scotland to Aylesbury. So widespread is the problem that Network Rail asked lineside residents to ensure their garden items are secured.

To be fair, it sounds as though customers give the rail companies as much trouble — and laughs — as they give us. Southeastern published this list of the funniest stories they've gathered over the years, including delays caused by a Christmas tree getting stuck in train doors at Nunhead.

Last Updated 30 August 2018