Reginald Perrin would love it: rail services near Tonbridge, Kent, were yesterday disrupted by "a smouldering badger on the line", the Daily Mirror reports.
Said disruption was not, however, on the same apocalyptic scale as that commonly caused by the wrong kind of leaves on the line, as watch manager Peter Brown explained: "Somebody had reported an electrical fire on the track at 8.30am. It [the badger] was on fire and every time a train came past it reignited.
"The flames would die down, but when another train passed the wind would cause the fire to start up again. I wasn't going to have trains stopped because the badger was already dead.
"We just told Network Rail there was a smouldering badger on the line. It didn't present a further danger."
A maintenance crew was duly dispatched to remove the fried badger from the tracks. Brown noted: "Thankfully I should think it died very quickly of electrocution, and did not suffer." ®
In episode five, series two of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, the hero does indeed explain his late arrival at work with: "Twenty-two minutes late, badger ate a junction box at New Malden."