We've had leaves on the line and the wrong kind of snow.

Now there's a new excuse for hold-ups on the railways - light drizzle.

That was the reason given to hundreds of commuters who were delayed on their way into London.

A driver taking the 5.39am from Brighton station complained that the excess wetness was slowing him down.

He said over the public address system: "Light rain does make train-driving conditions more difficult. Because of this, there will be delays going into London this morning. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes to your journeys into London."

Wheel slippage caused the problems on the line between Brighton and Victoria, leading to delays of around 10 minutes.

Commuter Donny Harting, 36, of Brighton, said: "I have heard it all now. Are they telling us that, as a general rule, trains could be subject to delays whenever it is spitting with rain? Does this mean that, unless it is bright sunshine or cloudy, trains will always be delayed?

"Other countries manage to cope with such deadly phenomena as light rain so why can't we? I pay up to £100 to renew my weekly season ticket and we get rubbish like this thrown at us. It is outrageous."

Rail operator First Capital Connect blamed the Tuesday morning delays on the unusually dry weather Sussex has enjoyed in April.

A spokesman said: "When it's been dry for a long time and then it rains the tracks can get quite slippery especially when mixed with the grease from the train wheels.

"The same thing happens in your car when it starts to rain.

"If there is a sudden change in weather then it can affect the wheels and the tracks.

"In this case there was some wheel slippage but the main cause of this delay was a wrongly routed train out of Gatwick. "The driver, for whatever reason, hadn't been made aware of that."

The latest excuse is by no means the most bizarre. In recent years trains have been delayed by the wrong kind of snow, hot air balloons and a plague of grasshoppers.

Shelley Atlas, of the Brighton Line Commuters' Group, said: "It does seem a bit of an odd excuse really.

"I should imagine if they said it was slippage on the tracks it might have been a good thing for the conductor on the train to explain that rather than say it was down to light drizzle.

"We need standards for announcements like that. It is one of the biggest issues we have been dealing with.

"They should all be fairly standard so that everybody can understand what they are announcing and understand why they are delayed."