The tweet from a waiting passenger, Juliette Gash, was polite. She was at Clontarf Road, a quiet station on the DART railway that runs around Dublin Bay, and awaiting the 9.20 train to Dun Laoghaire.
“No delay reported on app but sign says delayed? Thanks.”
Irish Rail, which has as its Twitter handle @IaranrodEireann – the Irish name for the organisation – responded swiftly: “Hi Juliette, Apologies for the inconvenience. There was a medical emergency onboard.”
Most train operators would have stopped there, or perhaps estimated when the train might arrive.
But the Irish Rail social media handler went on to reveal the awful truth about what was delaying the service.
“A passenger got his lip ring stuck in the foldable tray table whilst trying to tie his shoelaces.”
The response on Twitter was immediate. Colin Brown wrote: “I am literally crying with laughter at this. Whilst I feel for all those affected, @IrishRail wins Twitter today for this amazingly honest tweet.
Gwyn Williams looked on the bright side: “At least it was his lip ring. Imagine if it was his, argh no I can’t……!”
Ganesh Ranganathan saw the event as “a metaphor for Brexit”.
But Andrew Craig demanded: “Photographs or it didn't happen.”
The condition of the affected passenger, and the impact of the delay on DART services, is not known.
Irish Rail is one of the quiet success stories of European travel. After being starved of funds during Ireland’s economic crisis, it expanded to carry last year a record number or passengers: almost 50 million, equivalent to 10 train journeys for each Irish citizen.
Last year the train operator reported a “10 per cent reduction in customer accidents, predominantly slips, trips and falls in stations”.
The annual report does not reveal the frequency of lip ring and foldable tray table incidents.