The Excuses and On the line pages contain a list of excuses used on the UK Rail Network but sometimes there's those excuses which are made in jest - i.e. commuters make them up during periods of delay etc, so this page contain's those excuses.

As such, these are not real excuses or they are those which are so bizarre that they are here until they can be confirmed by a reliable source.



  • abandoned train - Sevenoaks line reporting disruption due to an abandoned #southeastern train outside Knockholt. That could be the missing 14:37 from Sunday
  • Aldgate station is temporarily closed due to an altercation between an Earth Wizard and a Fire Elf. Typical.


  • Some trouble on the london overground because of a combination of a signal failure at Shoreditch and a bear on a train at Wapping.


  • Camberwell Green Update: The angry wizard has been calmed down by a local butcher and is recuperating with a can of Lilt and a Yorkie.
  • The Circle Line has voted to form a breakaway republic. This brazen act of rebellion has been ruthlessly crushed, leading to minor delays.


  • delays due to rutting rhinoceros - I know, even I can't believe it but as the #southeastern commuters on the 09.57 will attest, delays due to a rutting rutting tyrannosaurus? Those are extinct. Damn auto correct, delays due to rutting rhinoceros #southeastern - SE_Overlord 10:08am March 21 2012
  • delays due to trains on the line - Southeastern March 19 2012 - "good morning we are currently experiencing delays due to trains on the line"
  • Delays on The Hammersmith & City line due to it becoming self-aware and identifying humanity as a threat. Please use caution.
  • Due to an ill-judged software upgrade, the signals at King's Cross are now offering drivers a 'Do whatever you think's best' option. Delays
  • Due to line managers not paying their monthly tithes to the Rat King, there are delays on the Jubilee line.
  • Due to the fulfilment of an ancient Cretan prophecy, there are Minotaur delays on the Piccadilly line.


  • We're sorry to announce your fast train has been cancelled due to... er... Eskimo Extremists?


  • A festering sense of unease has enveloped Holborn station. The escalators are listless. The ticket barriers, skittish. A sad scene.


  • this train is being held up by the hamburglar. At gunpoint...
  • delayed due to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal. The location & speed of any given train cannot be specified for any given time


  • we are sorry to announce the 0751 is cancelled due to a shortage of competence


  • Jam on the line - All Gravesend to London services delayed this morning due to some kids spreading jam on the line last night


  • Low tide - Currently held outside Victoria due to the low tide on the Thames :-/ - I was stuck on the bridge at a red signal but the tide was out. CommuterDiaries replied to this with 'I've heard it all now. "wrong type of tide"'
  • The London Overground is operating 11% differently today.
  • Luggage Racks - "would customers standing please climb onto the luggage racks to allow more people to board"


  • Minor delays on the Northern Line due to a door getting stuck in a passenger at Googe Street.


  • Heavy Rain - "I would like to apologise for this late running service to Victoria, this is due to the heavy rain that I'm sure you noticed"


  • Due to snow in Scotland and parts of Northern England, the Piccadilly Line is experiencing sympathy delays.
  • Train arriving is Stephenson's Rocket. BR apologises for inconvenience to surviving PAX - ISIRTA Joke (60's)


  • The ticket barriers at Angel are setting general knowledge questions instead of accepting tickets. Please revise for your journey[1]
  • This train has been delayed. This is due to Daleks at Vauxhall @poggs Twitter 2015 Jul 1.


  • The Waterloo and City line has minor delays due to both of the trains feeling a bit tired.

Reginald Perrin

These are the excuses used in the classic '70s TV series starring Leonard Rossiter:

Series 1

  • Episode 1
    • Eleven minutes late, staff difficulties, Hampton Wick.
    • Eleven minutes late, signal failure at Vauxhall.
    • Eleven minutes late, staff shortages, Nine Elms.
    • Eleven minutes late, derailment of container truck, Raynes Park.
    • Eleven minutes late, seasonal manpower shortages, Clapham Junction.
  • Episode 2
    • Eleven minutes late, defective junction box, New Malden.
  • Episode 4
    • Eleven minutes late, overheated axle at Berrylands.
    • Eleven minutes late, defective axle at Wandsworth.
  • Episode 5
    • Eleven minutes late, somebody had stolen the lines at Surbiton.

Series 2

  • Episode 1
    • Seventeen minutes late, defective bogey at Earlsfield.
    • Seventeen minutes late, water seeping through the cables at Effingham Junction - there was a lot of Effingham and a good deal of Blindingham!
  • Episode 4
    • Twenty-two minutes late, black ice at Norbiton.
  • Episode 5
    • Twenty-two minutes late, obstacles on the line at Berrylands.
    • Twenty-two minutes late, badger ate a junction box at New Malden.
    • Twenty-two minutes late, fed up by train delays, came by bike. Slow puncture at Peckham.
  • Episode 7
    • Twenty-two minutes late, escaped puma, Chessington North.

Early History

From Uncyclopedia:

The first trains were pulled by horses, and excuses such as "We apologise for the delay, the engine has just stopped to go to the toilet" were common. From the beginning trains were delayed, although leaves on the line were not a problem as the horse would just eat them.

The trains were considerably more comfortable, if you could afford First Class. Second Class was bearable, and Third Class was basically a coal truck. If you were lucky, they took the coal out first. If you bought a Third Class ticket and found yourself sitting in a wagon that had last been used to carry potatoes, the Guard would charge you extra for sitting in the Buffet Car.

They also went more than two hours without a software failure. Early trains ran on MS-DOS.