List love: why you’ll be running late today

While I can rarely fault the tube service in London (when it’s running and not down for “upgrade” work), I am still incredulous at how often the trains around the UK run late. Sometimes it’s just a few minutes here or there, often it’s a full blown cancellation. And it seems that almost any minute change in the optimal operating conditions can cause the whole system to go under.

Here are my favourite  endings to the inevitable announcement: “We apologise for the delay to your journey. This is due to -“

5. Signalling problems

It’s an oldie, but a goodie. This little beauty gets wheeled out at least a couple of times a week and every time I hear it I’m silently thankful that they hike up my £2,000 season ticket every year by another 10% – I mean, if I wasn’t contributing to claimed improvement works there may be no signals working at all.

4. Leaves on the track

Um, I’m no expert here but I’m pretty sure that in a WWF showdown, trains would win over leaves every time. Where exactly do these monstrous leaves that block the whole track come from? Do they blow here from tropical distant lands afar? And if the wind can carry them, why can’t a train drive through them?

3. Trespassers in the area

It’s nice that national rail cares about what’s going on in “the area”. But unless those trespassers are lying across the tracks (in which case I hope the announcement would be “due to people ineffectively attempting to commit self harm”) then surely they aren’t strong enough to stop the passage of the mighty rail? Unless they’re carrying leaves of course.

2. A bridge strike

This one confuses me the most. Is the bridge protesting about low wages and poor working conditions? Or did a train actually hit a bridge? And if so, how? Was the bridge not in its usual place? Either way, I want to see these amazing moving, hard done by bridges.

1. Water on the track

By water, I’m assuming they mean rain. In the UK. Where we’re practically defined by our drizzly, grey climate. All I can do is sigh, tut loudly, and text my friends to let them know I’ll be late. Again.


5 thoughts on “List love: why you’ll be running late today

    • I know, right?! So ridiculous. Two weeks ago I was late to work by 2 hours because of “late running engineering works”. Um, I’m sorry, you’re trying to justify thousands of commuters being late because you’re soooo hard working? Grrr…

  1. Sounds like they’re good at making excuses in London! Here in Tokyo, I’m forever grateful for the awesome public transport system we have, which even after the big earthquake we had last year, was only down for 9 hours!

    The daily suicides on the train tracks do pose a bit of a problem though..,

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