The Railway Sleeper

Caught the 0600 out of Paragon today to get up to Gateshead for a school visit.

We were just out of Hull when we came to a halt. Five minutes passed, then ten, then 20 before an embarrased voice came over the tannoy.

“I’m sorry but we’re held up here because the man who operates the crossing has slept in. We’ve been told they’re trying to find a substitute. The 5.20’s stuck ahead of us too.”

We Brits tend to be somewhat fatalistic and easily prepared to accept it was just one of those things.

Except it wasn’t.

After forty minutes, the guard made a point of coming to personally apologise to us. It was a nice touch but then he added: “You know what, it’s the third time he’s slept in and done this in the last six weeks!”

So on three occasions Hull was effectively cut off from the British rail network. More than ten trains were delayed, hundreds of people were late and many missed their connections all because one dozy twonk couldn’t wake up.

As my blood started to boil, I was left hoping it’d be third time unlucky for this railway sleeper and that he’d get the chance to sleep in more often – on his own time!


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