From the Railway Eye
To set the scene: Mr Davies experienced significant delay following the lightning strike at Wandsworth last month, which caused major disruption to Waterloo and Victoria services.
He approached SWT, requesting compensation, only to be told that the lightning strike was an 'act of God'.
Of course being a good Catholic he immediately appealed to higher powers and yesterday sent the following epistle to the Pope:
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
The Apostolic Palace
001 20 Vatican City
1st May 2012
Most Holy Father,
My sincere apologies for writing to you on this matter, but you will see that it causes me great concern. On the 19th April in the year of our Lord 2012, a lightning strike caused major power problems to Waterloo and Victoria stations in London.
There were significant disruptions to travel resulting in an almost six hour journey with several changes of train. My journey from London to my home station is scheduled to take just under 90 minutes, so you will appreciate the distress and discomfort I experienced.
On approaching South West Trains for compensation, I was informed that it was not their responsibility as this was an ‘act of God’.
Whilst I cannot for one moment accept that He would single out commuters for a single act of retribution in this way, it is clear that the train operating company believes the fault lies with our Lord and Master.
It is, therefore, with the deepest regret that I must ask Your Holiness, as His representative on Earth, for compensation. My monthly cost of travel is in the region of £550, so compensation of £30 would seem appropriate to cover travel and out of pocket expenses.
I am terribly apologetic for having to contact you on this matter. South West Trains is never to blame for any disruption to its services and as often these are the result of weather conditions it would seem that God is to blame most of the time.
May I humbly suggest you establish a customer services department specifically for this purpose as I am sure you will receive many such compensation claims in the future.
Yours in reverence,
PS If you wish to be warned in advance of South West Trains travel problems and other interesting matters you could do a lot worse that follow me on Twitter @LeeMarkDavies