Leaves on the line

by Chris Bertram on October 22, 2003

Travellers on Britain’s rail network are used to long delays and an all-round miserable experience. They are also used to implausible sounding announcement involving excuses aimed at “customers” (“passengers” having been abolished by some deranged management consultant around the time of privatization). One well known one is “leaves on the line”. Now the Guardian “has an account”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1067932,00.html of why the leaves might indeed have become a problem, and only recently! “The wrong kind of snow” still awaits an adequate explanation. (Hat tip to “The Virtual Stoa”:http://users.ox.ac.uk/~magd1368/weblog/blogger.html .)



Davis X. Machina 10.22.03 at 7:57 pm

Shades of Reginald Perrin:

“11 minutes late — seasonal manpower shortage, Clapham Junction.”

There is a full list here:



Mark 10.23.03 at 9:15 pm

If my memory serves me correctly, The rationale for ‘wrong kind of snow’ was this.

Southern Britain, on the rare occasion that it snows normally gets a fairly wet, heavy snow because the of the climactic conditions (low elevation,gulf stream, blah blah). The snow therefore settles easily and is not stirred by the passage of trains, In this case, the snow was accompanied by an extremely cold snap, which made it much lighter. The snow was sucked upwards into air intakes on the trains and shorted electrical components, causing train failures.


john c. halasz 10.24.03 at 2:48 am

You mean in Tony Blair’s U.K. even the railways run on spin?


Tripp 10.24.03 at 5:17 pm

I think the next step in the “passengers” to “customers” progression is “guests.”

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