Have you ever been stuck on a delayed rush hour train only to have the driver ask if you wanted to sing a song?

If you have, chances are you have been listening to James Beckingham.

Since qualifying as a driver last year, the 31-year-old has been cheering up commuters with his quirky announcements on Southern trains, drawing on his 10 years of experience working in radio – and notching up a fair few Twitter fans in the process.

Now Mr Beckingham, who tweets as @TweetJamesB, has been nominated as driver of year in the annual Rail Staff awards.


Mr Beckingham admitted he enjoyed the attention, but saw the announcements as something more than just a bit of fun.

He said: “Sometimes poor Southern get a poor rep, often for things out of its control. Being able to communicate is a priority when things are going wrong. It’s almost like presenting.

“I’ve got quite a big ego so that first thing I do when I get off the train is search on Twitter ‘Funny train driver’.”

Mr Beckingham’s success has inspired other drivers to start making similar announcements – with nearly a quarter of Southern trains in south London running late in the past year, frustrated commuters could do with a few more laughs.