Passenger Voice August 2015: Lost and found

26 August 2015

Passengers lose thousands of items of property each year, some of which never finds its way back.

We think it’s about time for an industry-wide review of the process and the introduction of a national database for dealing with lost property.

Our recent investigation into how the rail industry handles lost property and treats passengers looking for their belongings indicated there are problems at every stage of the lost property process.

Each of the 23 train companies on Britain’s rail network has a different lost property system. This can make locating lost items challenging for many passengers, who don’t know which operator runs the service they have used or station they visited, and are unclear who to contact.

Our investigation found examples of passengers, with the help of rail staff, being successfully reunited with their property. However, in many cases, even when the property has been located by staff, it may be stored far away from the passenger’s home or destination. This can make transportation timely and costly.

Jocelyn Pearson, the Transport Focus issues manager who carried out this investigation, said:

“The current systems in place are, in many cases, not fit for purpose for reuniting lost property with rightful owners.

“A centralised national database, as well as sensible rules for dealing with lost property across the country’s rail network, would make a huge difference to passengers.

“The rail industry has recognised this issue and we’re working with it to set up a better system. Some train companies have already reviewed and improved their own processes”.


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