LONDON -- A major series of delays in British rail travel between Christmas and New Year's were blamed on staff calling in sick with hangovers, the Daily Mail reported.
Thousands of passengers were delayed or had to make other travel arrangements when the west coast Network Rail system connecting England and Scotland all but shut down, the newspaper said.
In a public apology, the company said a shortage of just 20 specialist workers created the problem.
Sources told the rail workers afraid of losing their jobs after festive drinking had been calling in sick if they suspected their blood alcohol was too high. Rail workers cannot work if they are over the driving limit of 80 milligrams alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
The company also faces the prospect of more than $40 million in fines for its failures, the report said.
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