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.

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05.02.19: Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Fo...

Anna-Jane Hunter: A blossoming north

Anna-Jane Hunter: A blossoming north

29.01.19: Much has been achieved across the north in the past few years, but there’s still a lot of work left to do. As the third generation in her family to work on the railways, Anna-Jane Hunter, director of north of England rail at Network Rail...

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

29.01.19: Neil Robertson, chief executive of NSAR, takes a shot at making some predictions for rail’s fate in 2019. I was asked to make some rail predictions in the first week in January 2018. They were: Prediction 1: Rail infrastructure b...

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22.01.19: techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-focused transport ecosystem – with the rail sector forming a major part of this. Jessica Russel...

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

18.01.19: TransCityRail brings a unique opportunity to gain invaluable insight into what’s happening in the rail industry across the Midlands, exhibit, and place your brand in front of budget-holders whilst taking advantage of the hours of networkin...

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

15.01.19: Surveyor Richard Bath and principal archaeologist and works package manager Caroline Raynor, both of the Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV), talk us through some of the tech being used on the archaeological digs along the planned HS2 route. ...

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. ...

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‘Time is running out’: MSP and union leaders call for government intervention into Springburn depot

19/02/2019‘Time is running out’: MSP and union leaders call for government intervention into Springburn depot

Scottish Labour and union leaders have called on the government to take the Springburn depot under public control as ministers debate the depot&r... more >
South Western Railway strikes suspended after ‘significant breakthrough’ in guard dispute

19/02/2019South Western Railway strikes suspended after ‘significant breakthrough’ in guard dispute

Strike action by workers on the South Western Railway (SWR) have been suspended after a “significant breakthrough” was made in the lo... more >
MPs make joint-pledge to back rail investment in Liverpool Manchester corridor in Parliament

19/02/2019MPs make joint-pledge to back rail investment in Liverpool Manchester corridor in Parliament

More than 20 MPs from Liverpool and Manchester have signed a commitment to support rail investment in the north west. The pledge, which was ... 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

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05/02/2019Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus. Passengers waiting at stations today are not peering down the line looking for a strategy ... more >
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TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

05/02/2019TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

Mike Harding, from Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, introduces us to TrackWater: an innovative project between Lancaster Univ... more >
High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

05/02/2019High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

Last year, the Scottish Government announced two feasibility studies to better understand the economic and environmental implications of options ... more >
Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

05/02/2019Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s head of data collection, gives us the rundown on the state-of-the-art ‘Flying Banana’ train. ... more >
Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

05/02/2019Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, explains how a new app developed for the rail industry wil... more >

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interviews

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >