If the media coverage was anything to go by, the whole of Britain was desperate to find out the fate of the little marmoset monkey discovered by staff at ScotRail’s Cambuslang station near Glasgow at the weekend.
Fortunately, the cheeky little fella was unharmed and showed off its best table manners, scoffing a tin of fruit, while waiting to be successfully reunited with its owners.
While the train operator has no records of similar monkey business in the past, the incident did prompt a delve into its archives to see what else has turned up unexpectedly in stations or on board trains.
It’s no surprise that with almost 100 million passenger journeys each year and around 80,000 scheduled trains a month, serving more than 350 stations, some pretty weird and wonderful lost property has turned up over the years.
Glasgow Queen Street is home to the ScotRail Alliance’s central lost property office. If you lose something on a train, there’s a good chance that it’ll wind up there.
For example, Kai, the Shar-pei, was found abandoned in Paddington-the-Bear-style at Ayr station in 2015, all alone except for his suitcase containing his favourite bowl, toy and pillow. He was identified by his microchip, but because he couldn’t be reunited with his owner Kai was found a new home by the Scottish SPCA.
“I can see clearly now, the train has gone…” ScotRail gets a lot of specs left on trains. If you’ve lost yours, it may be worth giving them a call before heading to the opticians for a replacement pair.
Skateboarders take their pastime very seriously so it’s always amazing to see how many boards are left behind on trains, denying their owners the chance to pull a fakie, frontside or goofy-foot when they get off.
Then there’s the usual pieces of lost property that you’d expect to find, like keys, season tickets, mobile phones, coats, hats, gloves, handbags and umbrellas.
And, conductors and members of the train cleaning crew come across some other very strange objects that have been bizarrely left behind.
Like…bikes, false teeth or a wheelchair! And, spare a thought for the people who are really looking forward to surprising everyone at a fancy dress party, only to find they’ve left the most important part of their costume on the train.
This is only a fraction of the hundreds of items that are handed into ScotRail every year. All items go to charity after three months.
And, this happens all over the UK’s rail network every year.
Other finds include artificial limbs, expensive diamond rings, car tyres, crutches and even a fold-up scooter.
It’s not just lost property that causes problems. Network Rail, which owns and operates over 20,000 miles of tracks, 30,000 bridges as well as signals, viaducts and tunnels has had to deal with many strange incidents over the years.
Recently at Shap Cutting in Cumbria, a family of Adders had to be removed after setting up home. And, in 2020, a Highland bull called Valentino caused severe delays when he escaped from Pollok Park in Glasgow and refused to moooove from a nearby rail line.
If you’ve left something on a ScotRail train, ring the lost property office on 0330 109 2833. Anything lost at Edinburgh Waverley or Glasgow Central – or on a train there - may be sent to the left luggage offices in those stations.
For enquiries relating to luggage left on other operator’s trains, please contact them directly.