Train game parodies ‘shambolic’ railway

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RamJam/Getty Images

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Southern Rail Tycoon was created after three game developers had their train from Brighton to London cancelled

Web developers frustrated by months of delays on Southern Rail have used their experience as inspiration for an online game which lampoons the company.

RamJam uploaded Southern Rail Tycoon on Thursday, and so far 45,000 people have played the tongue-in-cheek game.

The aim is to stop guards from boarding trains, which leads to services being cancelled as profits are collected from passengers.

It was inspired by months of cancellations due to an RMT dispute.

‘Stopped using trains’

Once a sufficient number of train guards board on a train and a delayed service eventually departs, the player loses the game.

Brighton-based developer Tom Jackson said: “We all were planning to go to London a month ago and trains were delayed, then delayed, then delayed and then eventually cancelled.

“We were so frustrated by the whole thing that we’ve stopped using the trains.”

Mr Jackson, along with his colleagues Phil Hart and Toby Funnell, developed the game as a result of that experience.

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After a player loses the game, they have the option of filling out a compensation form on the Southern Rail website or they can tweet the train operator

The 39-year-old said that the purpose of the game was a mixture of providing commuters with something fun to do while waiting for delayed trains and also making people aware of the compensation policy.

When the game is over, links appear to the Southern Rail compensation page and twitter account.

He added: “We like to do pieces that are reactive and demonstrate the impact [news events] have on people.

“It’s incredibly frustrating, the train service is an absolute shambles.”

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, has not yet commented on the game.

341 trains cancelled a day

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Rail minister Claire Perry resigned on Friday as a result of the ongoing Southern Rail dispute

The RMT union and GTR are in a dispute regarding the proposed introduction of more driver-only operated (DOO) services, which would change conductors’ roles.

As a result of regular walkouts, Southern cancelled 341 daily train services on 11 July to improve “reliability”. Since then 15 have been reinstated.

Former rail minister Claire Perry resigned on Friday as a result of the months of delays on the line, managed by Govia Thameslink Railway.

On Monday, new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said resolving the strike action was “top of his priority list”.

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