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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Going Loco - your bizarre train tales
Going Loco is a hunt for your bizarre tales from the railways
Send your story at the bottom of this page
Jon Yuill, BBC News Online's Rail Commuters' Champ, presents another collection of your bizarre and barmy train tales.

Our railways may be in a parlous state, but look on the bright side: when it comes to making excuses for delays and overcrowding, Britain probably leads the world.

Once in a while, the announcers come up with some real gems. And thanks to you, they are recorded here for posterity (and preposterousness). Excuses and "explanations" is the theme of today's Going Loco.

I hope they'll raise a chuckle and help brighten your day. It's not too late to send in your stories - use the form at the bottom of this page.

    On my way to work one rainy morning, the following announcement was heard over the Tannoy: "Thameslink is sorry to announce the cancellation of the 8.16 to Bedford. This is due to slippery rain."
    C Franklin

In a similar vein:

    My boss and I were once delayed on the same train because of "dew on the tracks" one April morning on the way to work.
    Duncan Preston

Now, everyone's heard of the "leaves on the line" excuse in autumn, and even the "wrong kind of snow" in winter, but summer brings its own perils.

    A couple of years ago, I caught the 13.25 Midland Mainline service out of St Pancras to Derby. As we approached Leicester, the manager announced: "We apologise for the late running of this service. This was due to excessive heat on the tracks between Bedford and Luton." It was the first really sunny day of the year and MML were saying the sun was too warm for the tracks.
    Jon Smith

Different sources of heat prompted the following two entries.

    The Southend Rail Travellers' Association recently republished its first commuter magazine dated 1948. Excuses were being made that locomotives were failing at Fenchurch Street because of "the wrong kind of coal".
    Barry Linton

    Standing on Bournemouth station came the announcement: "The train now arriving on platform one is on fire. Passengers are advised not to board this train." I love the "advised" - just a recommendation, we leave it up to you to make a final decision.

It sounds surreal, but have a read of this:

    I'm a regular traveller with First Great Western from Cardiff to London. The most bizarre excuse yet heard for (the frequent) delays was that "a giant clown was on the line". This related to an inflatable Ronald McDonald which had blown from the roof of a restaurant on to the South Wales main line.
    Martin Kavanagh

The railways? Home to a clown? Surely not. How about the following two:

    I and fellow commuters were amused once to be told at Wembley Central there was a delay due to illegal immigrants on the line. The police were chasing them up the track and requested all power be turned off. I had visions of the old black and white silent movies with people being chased down a track by two policemen on a push-me-pull-you thing.

    I was getting a train from Woking to Waterloo one evening. The platform was absolutely packed and when a train finally turned up, everybody piled on only to be told the reason for the delay - somebody had climbed on to the signals near Weybridge and was taking pot shots at passing trains. The delay was due to the time it had taken the police armed response unit to remove him.
    Vicki Tomlinson

In my time as a commuter, I've noticed the frustrating tendency of announcers to pass off the bleeding obvious as a suitable explanation. Clearly, I'm not alone.

    After a horrific 4 hour journey where I had to stand from Newcastle to London, the conductor apologised by saying that the overcrowding was caused by too many passengers.

    A London Underground announcement I heard to keep its customers informed: "We apologise for the delay to customers on platform one. This is due to a delay in the actual service." You don't say! Very enlightening. Everyone on the platform first looked confused then burst out laughing.
    Paul Howarth

On that last note, in my more charitable moments I like to think there is perhaps some good in all of this. After all, it takes a lot to melt the stony face of your average London Tube traveller.

Send your entries using the form below, and we will feature the best. Please include a phone number where we can contact you.

Your e-mail address
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Your tale

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


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