Tube train delayed: vasectomy blamed

By Danielle Demetriou

From The Independent London, 30 September 2003

From leaves on the track to the wrong kind of rain, commuters have long been resigned to the most imaginative of excuses when hit by inevitable rail delays. But nothing could have prepared passengers for the excuse revealed yesterday to explain hold-ups on the Underground: a vasectomy.

An investigation has been launched after a trainee driver fainted and fell out of the cab of his moving train when two colleagues ignored his requests to stop discussing the grisly details of a recent vasectomy operation. Passengers on trains across London were delayed as a result of the incident which took place outside Aldgate station on the Circle line last Thursday.

The trainee was treated for head and chest injuries at hospital, although he is believed to have escaped more serious injuries because the train was travelling at only 15mph after pulling out of the station.

"We are investigating the incident which took place at 11.30am last Thursday," said a spokeswoman for London Underground.

It is believed that the incident stemmed from a conversation between a driver and an instructor discussing the graphic details of a vasectomy operation.

The trainee, who had only just started his practical instruction, was reportedly unable to stomach the details of the procedure and asked them to stop. When they continued to talk about the operation, the trainee is believed to have been sick before fainting and falling out of the cab.

Commuters have long endured a string of excuses for delays in and around the capital over the past few years, including dew on the track, leaves on the line and "slippery" rain. Earlier this month, commuters were promised by Network Rail that weather-related travel chaos would be brought to a minimum following the introduction of a new system to forecast sudden changes.

But the recent heatwave brought extensive delays to the west coast main line amid fears that tracks would buckle in the heat. As a result, the cost of longer journeys due to speed restrictions and road congestion over the summer was £8.7m.