/ Travel & Leisure

What’s the worst excuse you’ve heard for train delays?

Southeastern trains were delayed yesterday due to the ‘wrong kind of sun’. But travellers were unimpressed by this excuse. So what’s the worst or weirdest excuse you’ve heard for a rail delay?

It’s cold, pretty early and a miserable Monday morning – but the weather really isn’t that bad, so in true British-style I collect my brolley and walk to the train station.

Arriving at the station I make my way to the crowded platform, where to my disappointment an announcement booms over Platform 3: ‘Due to the inclement weather’ (oh no, I know what comes next) ’services to London are experiencing delays’ (again) *sigh*.

Now I know that safety should always come first, but what I can’t get my head around is why a bit of rain (in a country where we see a fair amount of it) seems to slow my train service down so frequently. So I can really sympathise with the frustrated Southeastern passengers who suffered delays yesterday due to the ‘strong sunlight’…

A poor excuse?

Southeastern rail passengers on services at Lewisham, south-east London, were disrupted yesterday morning because of the low winter sun.

According to Southeastern, the angle of the sun was causing ‘dispatching issues’ as the sunlight was preventing the driver from seeing the dispatch monitor. This meant the driver was having to manually check that the train was safe to depart the platform.

While safety should always be paramount, surely they’ve experienced these weather conditions before. Our weather isn’t all that bad after all and we do occasionally see some sunshine. Perhaps a simple solution would be a pair of sunglasses?

Communication is key

When excuses for train delays range from the sublime to the ridiculous all rail passengers want to hear is an apology and how they’ll be compensated for these delays.

We think that train companies need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, and be proactive in telling their customers how they can be refunded for delays and cancellations.

That’s why we’ve used our super-complaint powers to call on the rail regulator to take action. If you agree, then make sure you sign our petition.

So over to you then, what’s the strangest excuse you’ve heard for a delayed train?

Annie says:
18 February 2016

Signal failure and weather are the most common reasons provided for delays. Signals are controlled by Network Rail and the train companies are reliant on Network Rail’s Signallers and engineers to keep things running. Network Rail own the infrastructure including the trains, tracks, signals, stations, monitors etc. and again the various train companies are reliant on Network Rail for service and maintenance. The train companies are always apologising for delays and problems but the reality is that the issues are largely out of their control. Those in the transport industry and government are aware of this and more should be done to keep people properly informed.