Because of time and schedule constraints I could not drive to Cornwall and instead had to fly in via Bristol. It had already been a tight schedule but at least I made it to Bristol Temple Meads train station on time. Only to find my train to be delayed by 26 minutes. The platform by then crowded with people for a next (last) train in that direction. Like herrings in a can... At Truro the delay had run-up to 45 minutes, making me miss my last train on the Falmouth branch line to Penmere. Fair to say that Great Western Railways kindly provided for a taxi-bus to drop the stranded passengers off along the line's stations. But Jeff Allen picked me up from Truro and at midnight I could call it a day.
On my return trip a week later (today) I opted for the connection that needed no other transfers and a reserved table seat. So at 09:26 I am waiting at the (non-staffed) Penmere Platform for a train... that is canceled... Fortunately I could sit at (unreserved) table seats on both connecting trains and I am now 30 minutes away from Bristol Temple Meads. Then only a bus ride away from the airport.
The British and the Dutch rail system appear to have more than one thing in common. Privatized and delays. And maybe they also use the same statistics for measuring service, in that a canceled train does not count as delayed. Also it seems there are a lot of jobs with British Rail. All those gated stations and platforms with service personnel at those stations, gates and platforms to help people with valid tickets and non-opening gates. And many conductors on the trains, at least on the ones that run, calling out for tickets of newly boarded passengers only.
The British rail users remain kind and polite under all of this and show patience in queus. The train conductor on the Penmere branch line gracefully accepting my written-down reservation number, despite regulations, for I only could collect my on-line booked ticket at a Truro ticket machine.