Lost Property on Public Transport

Lost Property by Sarah G

Image credit: Sarah G.

It is an awful feeling when you realise that you have become separated from your property whilst travelling on public transport. It is a common issue on FixMyTransport, and that’s why we have created this useful guide for you.

If you are viewing this before or just after losing something, and you are still on transport premises, my first piece of advice is to inform a member of staff as soon as possible. They can offer useful tips, and some are extremely good at locating lost property because of their contacts (whether it is getting a colleague to check the vehicle at its destination or contacting an onboard member of crew to check the seat you were on). There are a lot of good Samaritans out there who hand things in. If you experience one, please do thank them.

You can report lost property through FixMyTransport but to be honest, you’ll get better and quicker results by contacting the operators through their dedicated lost property channels, particularly by phone. My advice would be to phone them first and follow it up with an email or fill in the form provided (see the details below).

Property advice

Lost property comes in all shapes and sizes, as you can see from the picture above. However, a significant majority of it is tickets, electronics and cycles. The first is because they’re small, and everyone has one. The law of averages says that a certain proportion will get mislaid! Sadly, the latter two categories are often not lost, but stolen.

Ticket holders

A good piece of advice is to write your phone number on your ticket-holder – quickly done, with a black marker, perhaps on the fold. You may want to add your postcode too, in case your phone disappears with your ticket.

Mobile phones

The British Transport Police have a number of useful tips on their website that tackle mobile phone theft and loss.

Note down the important details of your phone and keep them in a safe place (IMEI, SIM card number and phone number). In addition, get it registered with Immobilise, which numerous police forces support.


The British Transport Police offer cycle crime awareness sessions to show how to reduce the risk of bike theft. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed (@btp_uk) to see when they’re in your area.

Chief Inspector Derek O’Mara provides further advice:

“There are a number of measures cyclists can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim, lock your bike whenever you leave it, preferably with a D Lock, which is a heavy steel lock in a D or U shape. When you lock your cycle, try to fit the bike stand, the rim of one of the wheels and the cycle frame into the D, this will make it harder for thieves to take and there’ll also be less space in the D which will prevent thieves from inserting bars or jacks to lever the lock.

“Wherever possible leave your bike in a busy, well-lit area which is covered by CCTV and please also ensure that your cycle has been property marked and fitted with an electronic tracing system or tag to help locate it in the event of a theft.

“Make sure your cycle is insured, keep a photograph of it and note the frame number and any markings which will help police to identify any stolen bikes that are recovered.”

Reporting lost property


These links were last checked in September 2012. If you spot a broken link or an error, please contact the FixMyTransport Team.

Arriva Trains Wales – http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/lostproperty/

C2C – http://www.c2c-online.co.uk/on_board_trains/baggage_information/lost_property

Chiltern Railways – http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/help/lost-property

Crosscountry – http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/customer-service/lost-property

East Coast – http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/on-board-our-trains/baggage-and-pets/lost-property/

East Midlands Trains – http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/site-information/contact-east-midlands-trains/

Eurostar – http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/travel_information/at_the_station/baggage.jsp#l

First Capital Connect – https://www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/customer-care/lost-property/

First Great Western – http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Customer-services/Lost-Property

First Transpennine Express – http://www.tpexpress.co.uk/contact-us/

Gatwick Express – http://www.gatwickexpress.com/en/contact-us/customer-services/lost-property/

Grand Central – http://www.grandcentralrail.com/contact-us

Greater Anglia – http://www.greateranglia.co.uk/contact-us/contact-form/lost_property

Hull Trains – http://www.hulltrains.co.uk/FAQ.php#FAQ12

Island Line – Ryde Esplanade Railway Station or 01983 562 492 – http://onthewight.com/2012/02/27/island-line-train-lost-property-where-to-find-it/

London Midland – http://www.londonmidland.com/contact/lost-property/

London Overground – See TfL

Merseyrail – http://www.merseyrail.org/your-journey/lost-property.html

Northern Rail – http://www.northernrail.org/northern/lost_property

Scotrail – http://www.scotrail.co.uk/travelinfo/faqs.html

Southern Railway – http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/customer-services/lost-property/

South Eastern- http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/your-journey/lost-property/

South West Trains – http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/Lost-Property.aspx

Translink – http://www.translink.co.uk/Enterprise/Footer/Enterprise-FAQs/

Virgin Trains – http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/contact/

Buses (outside London)

Due to the number of operators, I have not listed each operator’s lost property webpage. My advice would be to search for who operates your route on FixMyTransport, then Google for the operator’s website and find a phone number. If you are trying to do this out of office hours, you should also email them.

Transport for London

TfL have the following useful page for Lost Property.


Oyster cards

I used the FixMyTransport website to find out more about what you should do if you lost your Oyster Cards. Rishi Ganjuly from the Oystercard Helpdesk gave me this advice:

For issues regarding lost or stolen Oyster cards, customers should be directed towards the following page on the Transport for London website.


Customers may report an Oyster card lost or stolen via their Oyster Online account. Once a customer has logged in they will see a heading on the left that states: ‘Lost or stolen card’. Click this and follow the instructions.

Alternatively, customers may call our Oyster card Helpline on 0845 330 9876 with their Oyster card number and answer to the security question. Our telephone agents will then be able to talk them through the process and arrange for the Oyster card to be deactivated.

Theft and Stolen Property

Theft and pickpocketing are crimes that occasionally happen on the UK Public Transport network. Although the British Transport Police focus on the railways (National Rail, London Underground, Midland Metro, Croydon Tramlink, Sunderland Metro and the Glasgow Subway), they have a number of useful pages that are helpful to all public transport users in the bid to combat crime.




Phone numbers

In an emergency

Dial 999

Non emergency

British Transport Police: 0800405040

Local Police Force: 101


  1. Stuart Johnson says:

    I once lost a mobile phone, but to be honest I wasn’t sure where I lost it. I had already contacted National Express West Midlands’ lost property line, who’d put me through to the Acocks Green garage, but it hadn’t been handed in, so I assumed I’d dropped it in the street and contacted my phone provider 3, who cancelled the SIM card and sent me a replacement phone.

    About a week later, after I’d received my replacement phone, I was contacted by my brother in London, who’d had a phonecall from a technician at NXWMs Acocks Green garage. He’d found my phone, tucked down the side of an upstairs seat on a double-deck bus he’d been doing maintenance checks on, and as the battery was flat, he’d took it home, charged it up, and then gone through my contacts list, trying to get in contact with its owner!

    I was given the name of the guy who found it, and went down to the garage next evening, where he personally handed it back to me, after being given a mini-tour of the garage!

    It just goes to restore some faith in humanity, knowing there are still some decent honest people out there, so full credit to the staff at National Express West Midlands’ Acocks Green garage!

    My advice would be to make sure you have a ‘Home’ or ‘Work’ number stored in your phone, so if any Good Samaritan finds your phone and decides to use a little initiative, then they can easily contact you!

  2. musician says:

    I left my musical instrument on the train, I realised when I got off, but the train had left already. I told a member of staff, who contacted someone to check it at the terminal station. They couldn’t find it, so either someone took something not belonging to them (stealing) or some good samaritan is trying to find the owner. My issue is that the British Transport Police will not consider it as stolen at all, even if it never turns up, despite the fact that someone definitely took it off the train at some point.