Southern Rail customers having problems getting home for Christmas have been handed a lifeline by Paddy Power – as today we’ve launched a ‘cancellation insurance’ bet.

The market allows commuters to bet on their line home suffering a train cancellation on Christmas Eve, offering compensation should the unreliable train firm mess up yet again.

So place a bet that there’ll be a cancellation on your line and, if the train doesn’t show up, you win. You might be late home to put the mince pies out for Santa, but at least the gravy train will keep on moving.

All the best bets on Novelties are on PP.com

We’re taking bets on each of Southern Rail’s 32 routes, with odds of 5/1 per line that there is a cancellation.

And punters need just one cancellation on their line to get an insurance pay-out – we’re allowing up to £250 of cover per customer.

Asked about the ‘cancellation insurance’ spokesperson Paddy Power said: “The news has been dominated recently by Southern’s fails, and we wanted to rail back against them.

“After all, this is a company who have just announced yet another price hike for 2017 – it’s about time we told them to take a hike of their own.”

* Online only. Bet must be placed before midnight on the 23rd December. Applies to all trains scheduled to run on Christmas Eve, as per the official Southern Rail timetable online. Max bet £50 per customer. Market will be decided based on cancellations reported by the Southern Rail Twitter feed.