Trivia: Unusual, bizarre or oddly specific causes of delay

SteveM70

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11 Jul 2018
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Northern have used the slightly-too-much-detail “train delayed due to having to make more station stops than planned due to a preceding train having been cancelled due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time” or words to that effect
 
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Journeyman

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Best I ever saw on a daily log when I worked at Network Rail was "badger on fire", in third rail territory. :)
 

Three-Nine

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On the Yamanote line in Tokyo the on-train screens by the train doors display delay information for various routes, first in Japanese and then a usually terse English translation. My all-time favourite I saw on one of these stated simply:

"<line> Delay. Cause: Bear."
 

6Gman

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507 001

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At Deansgate a few months ago...

‘we are sorry to announce the xx:xx Northern service to X has been cancelled, this is due to overcrowding caused by an earlier cancelled train’

o_O
 

SteveM70

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11 Jul 2018
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At Deansgate a few months ago...

‘we are sorry to announce the xx:xx Northern service to X has been cancelled, this is due to overcrowding caused by an earlier cancelled train’

o_O

That’s relatively common with Northern, unfortunately

Their twitter people have a habit of referring to “congestion of the line” which sounds to me more like a mediaeval illness than a reason for a train being late
 

Dave W

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27 Sep 2019
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OK,then a well-placed shot of projectile vomit could short-circuit OHLE :E
Earlier this year, WMT tweeted a train was cancelled “due to train crew sickness meaning less trains available”.

That felt like weird wording so jokingly asked a relative who works for them “what did they do, plaster the inside of the cab with sick!?”

... The reply was to the effect of “yes”!
 

bigfoote

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5 Jan 2013
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Across my years, I've heard the gamut of various animals and inanimate objects on the line. Two come immediately to mind. Tent on the line (minus occupants) and back in the days of local signalling, pigeon in the signal box at a level crossing.
Yet to experience a llama lineside.
 

1D53

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vlad

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I can't really compete with any of the above.

The best that have happened to me are "herd of cows on the line" and "helium balloon caught in the overhead cables". Not on the same train, mind.
 

Spartacus

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MS covers all forms of incorrect traction, RTT just states slower speed. In this case it was a different traction type a member of traincrew doesn't sign.
Ironically it was a faster type of train than normal which caused the problem!
 

83G/84D

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Many years ago a HST came off a depot with a cab door open and went through the wash plant. Driver refused to take train as seat was wet. Fitters had to be called to unscrew wet seat and swap it with a dry one from the other end.

Several times had drivers horn handle broke off when driver was operating it.
 

Horizon22

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8 Sep 2019
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Many years ago a HST came off a depot with a cab door open and went through the wash plant. Driver refused to take train as seat was wet. Fitters had to be called to unscrew wet seat and swap it with a dry one from the other end.

Several times had drivers horn handle broke off when driver was operating it.
I've seen this happen several times where early morning units from depot go through washer roads with the coach windows left open!
 

D1537

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Many years ago, at Shrewsbury whilst waiting for a Marches line train, the incoming from Aberystwyth was delayed due to "an idiot with a caravan on the level crossing at Caersws".
 

iknowyeah

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I've heard of a train being delayed due to a wasp in the cab, and the driver refusing to take it until the wasp was removed
 

ijmad

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About four years ago I was delayed at Blackfriars because a boat hit the station.

Blackfriars being a station that spans the Thames on a bridge, what had happened is a boat had hit one of the bridge's support pillars with enough clout they wanted to get the structural engineers to check it before they ran more trains over it. Didn't take that long to sort in the end.

And yes, I know this is standard procedure for any bridge strike, whether it's a bridge over roads or rivers.

But it just amused me because it seems there are very few actual stations in the UK that could be hit by a boat.

Perhaps Portsmouth Habour could be, just about, if a ferry failed to slow down...
 

baz962

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On a Thameslink service one day and it had a group of deaf youngster's and their chaperones. One girl went to the toilet and train stops at station. Girl in toilet unaware and can't hear the frantic knocking of the chaperones, so platform staff just hold the doors open and we all wait until she's ready to come out.
 

tsr

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Between the parallel lines
Class 700 units are particularly susceptible to severely overflowing toilets, but unfortunately there is no automatic CIS announcement for "flooding onboard the train"...

I did once end up involved in organising a stock swap to deal with a 377 which had a toilet on the brink of overflowing, and got the delay announcement set to "due to predicted flooding"...

I have also come across several trains delayed recently because the driver has somehow taken the wrong unit out of the yard. It is impossible to fully explain this to the public without sounding completely incompetent!

Perhaps the best excuses are best reserved for trains which leave early.

I remember an evening "contra-peak" service which had to wait at one station for 7 minutes for random timetabling reasons. Said train was rarely populated by more than 2 or 3 passengers. However, most of those passengers were known to misbehave. One evening, a ticketless gentleman harassed several other passengers and myself because he wanted a free taxi from "the railway", on the grounds that the Beeching Cuts had closed the connecting branch line which he wanted to use. (Bear in mind this happened in the last couple of years, so a fair amount of time had elapsed since the closure...!)

Unfortunately we had no choice but to kick him out, lock up the doors early and depart slightly before due time, as he was constantly trying to board the train and causing a general nuisance whenever he saw a member of train crew on the platform.

Fortunately, nobody else had much sympathy, and it took him most of the next three hours to get to the next station up the line, where he was last seen trying to get money, taxis or free train rides out of people.
 

RichJF

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On a 377 many years ago a pigeon decided to fly in front of the train & it hit the lower bodywork below the headlight. Remember the driver & the platform staff all crowding round looking at the red marks.

Was also on a 377 at Dormans when some bodywork fell off the rear carriage. Driver had to get out, walk alongside the track, board the rear cab & walk through the train to the front cab again.

In my school commuting days a TL train at East Croydon was delayed because someone ran to get the train, put their arm in the doors & wasn't strong enough to force them open so the platform staff had to force the doors for them.

The best one was a SE driver operating a Southern service to Horsham at London Bridge during the rebuild. Driver couldn't boot up the unit. Overheard the conversation on the platform with the SE driver saying the 377 was stuck in AC mode & was getting quite irate. The dispatcher then said to him that this 377 didn't have overhead pickup pointing to the empty pantograph well. SE driver then sheepishly got back in & about 5 mins later we were on the move! Must've confused his 377/3 with his 375/6!!!
 
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GtNortherner

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23 Mar 2018
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Some years ago, a service I boarded at Peterborough (possibly GNER or maybe NatEx EC/East Coast - it was a cl91/Mk4 set anyway) was delayed because an alighting passenger decided to throw his suitcase off ahead of him before stepping down - unfortunately for him, it bounced back off the platform and underneath the train... which resulted in a very loud shout of “Oh, B****R!!”, and a 20-30min delay whilst a member of station staff climbed down underneath the train to retrieve said suitcase...

Not sure if the reason was actually announced as “delayed due to an alighting passenger throwing his own suitcase underneath the train”, but it was certainly an unusual situation...!
 
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4COR

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30 Jan 2019
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In my school commuting days a TL train at East Croydon was delayed because someone ran to get the train, put their arm in the doors & wasn't strong enough to force them open so the platform staff had to force the doors for them.
Oddly, also at East Croydon on TL in early 2000s (around the time of the start of the war in Afghanistan, which has a bit of relevance), a colleague of mine at the time had travelled down to work from Bedford. He landed up leaving some papers on the seat next to his. Realised in time, and stuck his hand in the door to stop the train going off to Brighton with them and was quickly told to remove his hand so the service could depart.

He refused, saying he needed to get the papers he'd left behind. Answer was along lines of "Tough - get them from lost property later".
He replied saying they were of the utmost importance, and after a bit of to and fro, landed up convincing the platform staff that it was the Prime Minister's speech for later that day that he's left sitting on the seat...

Driver instructed to open doors, and papers (some software specs for a project we were working on IIRC...) duly retrieved...
 

trebor79

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Some years ago, a service I boarded at Peterborough (possibly GNER or maybe NatEx EC/East Coast - it was a cl91/Mk4 set anyway) was delayed because an alighting passenger decided to throw his suitcase off ahead of him before stepping down - unfortunately for him, it bounced back off the platform and underneath the train... which resulted in a very loud shout of “Oh, B****R!!”, and a 20-30min delay whilst a member of station staff climbed down underneath the train to retrieve said suitcase...

Not sure if the reason was actually announced as “delayed due to an alighting passenger throwing his own suitcase underneath the train”, but it was certainly an unusual situation...!
Many years ago, watching a 101 departing Lenzie. Buzz buzz and the train started to move off. Somehow a toddler slipped between the platform and train and fell straight onto the track. Guard quickly buzzed again and the driver slammed the brakes on. Kid was unharmed bur I've often wondered what might have happened had either of the crew not been completely on the ball.
 

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