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.

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...

How can UK rail become a global leader?

How can UK rail become a global leader?

06.03.18: Alison Dervis, EY director, explains why more diverse thinking, innovation and industry collaboration will help deliver transformative change to the railway industry. From late Georgian steam engines, to the multibillion-pound civil enginee...

High-tech tablets and jars of honey: The assortment of gifts sent to Network Rail employees

High-tech tablets and jars of honey: The assortment of gifts sent to Network Rail employees

27.02.18: Network Rail employees receive, on average, a gift every week from residents, rail organisations, and private companies, with items varying from jars of honey to brand new tablets. Freedom of Information requests submitted by RTM reveal the...

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

09.02.18: The first details of this year’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge have been revealed and it’s safe to say the 2018 edition is set to be more thrilling than ever. Last year saw the RTM team attend the second edition in what is quickl...

#UKRIA2018 update: Packages going fast for the industry’s biggest rail awards show

#UKRIA2018 update: Packages going fast for the industry’s biggest rail awards show

23.01.18: Packages for this year’s UKRIA are selling out quick, and those hoping to attend are advised to act fast to avoid disapointment at the rail industry’s biggest opportunity to network. Excitement was crank...

Colossal rail event continues to break records

Colossal rail event continues to break records

09.01.18: Category sponsorships for UKRIA 2018 are selling quick following last week’s big announcement of comedian and actor Rufus Hound as host. This year’s event is headlined by HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston, who was revealed as ke...

#UKRIA2018 host revealed

#UKRIA2018 host revealed

03.01.18: The UK’s most prestigious rail industry awards has ramped up the excitement for this year’s event as popular comedian Rufus Hound has been confirmed as host. A veteran of TV panels shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the...

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Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

16/10/2018Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

Delays and cost overruns on the Crossrail project could have a significant impact on HS2, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA... more >
HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

16/10/2018HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

The outgoing boss of HS2 Phase 2b has defended the one-year setback in introducing legislation to Parliament, arguing that the move was “es... more >
Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

16/10/2018Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

The worst railway stations in the UK for late trains and cancellations have been revealed, with ten of the busiest seeing over half of all servic... 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

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

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

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. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
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Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

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interviews

Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >
Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >