Britain’s railway madness exposed as traveller arrives 11 hours after setting off amid HS2 row

Britain’s railway madness exposed as traveller arrives 11 hours after setting off amid HS2 row

Britain’s railway madness exposed as traveller arrives 11 hours after setting off amid HS2 row

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 26/09/2023

- 12:50

Updated: 26/09/2023

- 12:44

Rishi Sunak is poised to roll back on HS2 due to concerns about the project’s runaway costs

A traveller has exposed the madness of the United Kingdom’s railway networks after arriving at his destination 11 hours after setting off.

James Nokise, a podcaster, documented his chaotic journey from London to Edinburgh on social media.

The stand-up comedian was among “hundreds” of passengers ordered off an Avanti West Coast train at Preston in Lancashire on Monday night.

The train company arranged for taxis to take passengers to their destinations, including Nokise.

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Staff from Greenfaulds High School in Glasgow were forced to order their own coach to take 50 pupils home after a trip to London.

The schoolchildren were deemed too young to travel in taxis without an adult.

Nokise, who got on the train from London to Edinburgh at 4.40pm, was alerted something was wrong at 7.26pm when he received an email saying the journey had been cancelled.

A separate train to Glasgow was said to be waiting at Preston but it departed as it was full.

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station,

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station


After explaining another train was cancelled, Nokise wrote: “It turned out there were no more trains north after that and, excitingly, no forthcoming information.

“Some people stood staring at the screens. Some people queued to ask the one ticket booth worker the same question everyone else was.

“No-one knew anything. Around 9.20pm news came down: alternative transport had been arranged. Bus? An extra train? Horses? No. Taxis. For hundreds of people. To a city three-and-a-half hours away.”

A taxi arrived to take the final group of travellers at 10.30pm.

A taxi rank near a train station

A taxi rank near a train station


The journey included some near misses but also saw Nokise receive a £70 compensation payment for how much his ticket cost.

In his final post on the trip, he wrote at 3.30am: “Thanks for being on this journey with me Twitter. A truly insane odyssey. Five hours late, 11 hours after I jumped on the train.

“I’m going to have a shower and eat something. Let’s never do this again.”

An Avanti West Coast spokesman said: “We apologise to our customers who were caught up in last night’s disruption.

An Avanti West Coast train

An Avanti West Coast train


“The closure of the West Coast Main Line for over three hours due to a track defect had a significant impact on our services, with trains and train crew unable to work our planned timetable resulting in cancellations of services north of Preston.

“Whilst alternative transport and overnight accommodation was sourced for most of those impacted, we fully understand the frustrations of those customers whose journeys were affected, and we are extremely sorry for this.

“Anyone who was affected by last night’s disruption will be entitled to compensation and are urged to get in contact through our normal channels to process their claim.”

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