Well, last night's trip home was a bundle of fun I can tell you.
Due to what I eventually found out was a great big gigantic signal failure (that is the technical term), we were all turfed off our late night train at Slough, and treated to a double decker bus ride through Maidenhead and Twyford, before being deposited at Reading. Through a stroke of luck, my car happened to be at a friend's house in Reading, otherwise I shudder to think how I would have got home to Pangbourne, where another dreaded rail replacement bus is also in place from Tilehurst because of work on the line. I still didn't make it home until after 1am, but at least it didn't cost me anything.
So, this leads me to another question - why do signals fail so frequently, and why can't they be fixed or replaced so that they don't fail so often?
Signal failure is one of the most common reasons why trains are delayed, so I feel I should try and learn a bit more about it. I realise that the signals are not part of FGW's remit, but I don't care about that, I just want to know why the system doesn't work, and how to fix it.
This is all I know so far from a brief foray on the internet: signals can fail for a variety of reasons (what reasons?) and when they do, they always "fail safe", which means they go to red for safety reasons. That's about it. I can't find anything more helpful, apart from very technical descriptions of type of signal and signal procedures, which I can't bring myself to read.
So, rail fans, what's the answer? Whose fault is it and why isn't it being sorted?