The Sleeper's Blog

A collection of opinions on the events in the rail industry from Rail Technology Magazine's most feared reporter, ‘The Sleeper’.

Blending irreverence with a much-needed dose of reality, these morsels of spite keep passengers’ best interests at heart and prove the old adage that 'the truth hurts'.

Interested in becoming a guest blogger? Email the editor.

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27.11.18: Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  ...

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

20.11.18: Since the shock announcement of the delay to Crossrail in September, taxpayers and decision-makers alike have been anxious to find out the latest updates to the two projects. RTM’s Jack Donnelly headed to Whitehall to report on what their...

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13.11.18: Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth Line. The announcement on 31 August that the central core section of the Elizabeth Line would...

Crystal balls for Brexit

Crystal balls for Brexit

06.11.18: Neil Robertson, chief executive of NSAR, starts a frank conversation about Brexit. Have you noticed how it is almost impossible to have a sensible debate on the impacts of Brexit? The rules seem to be: take a firm, preferably dogmatic, posi...

Balfour Beatty hails successful use of digital evidence platform on GWR programme

Balfour Beatty hails successful use of digital evidence platform on GWR programme

30.10.18: Balfour Beatty has praised a new secure data collection platform as an ‘amazing development’ which has created seven-figure cost savings over 12 months on its Greater West electrification programme. Called eviFile, the software...

Understanding the sale of the arches

Understanding the sale of the arches

30.10.18: David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, sheds some light on the sale of the infrastructure owner’s commercial estate. We announced last month that we’d agreed terms with a joint venture of Telereal Trillium and...

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18.09.18: RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. F...

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

18.09.18: When it comes to investing in connectivity in the Midlands, what matters most is not whether we can afford to finance our ambitions but whether we can afford not to, writes Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect. At the start of Ju...

Sandilands: Lessons for the mainline

Sandilands: Lessons for the mainline

11.09.18: The tragic Croydon crash of 2016 provided many lessons for the UK tramways. But the mainline railway would be wrong to assume many of these lessons don’t apply to them too, says Simon French, chief inspector of rail accidents at the RAIB. ...

Building resilience on the Brighton Main Line

Building resilience on the Brighton Main Line

30.08.18: SPONSORED INTERVIEW Andrew Swanson, head of signal engineering at Kier Rail, talks about a key rail signalling project for his team. The Brighton Main Line (BML) is one of the most congested commuter lines on the UK railway network. It con...

A radical solution to the employment crisis

A radical solution to the employment crisis

24.07.18: Peter Cayless, founder and creative director at Working Eye, talks about an innovative solution to employment in the rail industry that might just help transform careers advice into career discovery. At the 2012 Latitude Festival, comedian...

HS2: collaborate to innovate

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17.07.18: Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE), talk about four new HS2 research projects which are set to challenge how we design, build and moni...

What about Brexit?

What about Brexit?

10.07.18: Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), dares to investigate the potential impact of Brexit on the UK rail supply sector. Everyone’s talking about Brexit – except the rail supply sector, it seem...

Surviving the heatwave: are we truly the laughing stock of the world?

Surviving the heatwave: are we truly the laughing stock of the world?

29.06.18: It’s safe to say the internet has not been kind to the rail industry for the widespread disruptions that took place this week as a result of soaring temperatures up and down the country. Passengers have taken to Twitter to call the UK rail...

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20.03.18: ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are st...

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latest rail news

DfT confirms Northern Powerhouse Rail business case delayed until 2019

12/12/2018DfT confirms Northern Powerhouse Rail business case delayed until 2019

The strategic outline business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which was due to be submitted to the government by the end of this month,... more >
TfL shelves plans for Tube upgrades as financial woes revealed

12/12/2018TfL shelves plans for Tube upgrades as financial woes revealed

Plans to upgrade major parts of London Underground will be put on hold and Crossrail 2 is now in doubt after TfL has disclosed the extent of its ... more >
Hitachi and Spencer Group join forces for £500m Tyne and Wear Metro deal bid

12/12/2018Hitachi and Spencer Group join forces for £500m Tyne and Wear Metro deal bid

Hitachi and Spencer Group have launched a joint bid to win a £500m contract to build new trains and a maintenance depot for the Tyne and We... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, CrossCountry and the Scouts have come together to encourage Britain’s younger generations to be... more > more last word articles >
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'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
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Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

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interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >
Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >