The problem with the railway is the way we manage these situations when they arise.
We can get people to their destination on time 9 times out of 10, and really serious delays (an hour, for example) are really quite rare, I've had probably half a dozen in almost 7 years, but we've got the knack of being absolutely s***e at dealing with customer care and information when those serious delays occur.
In my experience, people can deal with delay ok, as long as they're kept informed, and are made to feel like they're actually being dealt with in a professional manner by the staff on the scene.
Generally (although not always) managers go to ground when the s**t hits the fan,. and leave the lowliest staff to deal with the irate punters, and when the staff really need some back-up there's all too often none to be found.
It's a shame that we shoot ourselves in the foot when things go wrong, because people odn't remember the 9 times out of 10 that they were on time, they only remember the one they were late.
(As an aside, this situation isn't solely the realm of the railway. Airlines in my experience are even worse, and the delays usually much longer)
And it often still beats travelling by car, I'll tell you all one day about my 6 hour
gridlocked wait on the M4, on one of the hottest days of the year