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.

‘Victoria’ chopped and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

‘Victoria’ chopped and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

14.08.15: The final Crossrail tunnelling machine, Victoria, is being broken up and recycled after “finishing her journey” under the capital. The machine – whose self-explanatory name honours Queen Victoria’s involvement with t...

The case for a second Brighton Main Line – BML2

The case for a second Brighton Main Line – BML2

14.08.15: Guest blog by BML2 project manager Brian Hart London and South East commuters can take heart from the chancellor’s recent demand for a full study into a second Brighton Main Line (BML2), rather than just reopening the Lewes–Uckf...

JVs bidding for lucrative HS2 engineering job

JVs bidding for lucrative HS2 engineering job

07.08.15: There are whispers around the sector that two joint ventures have become the frontrunners to become HS2’s phase one engineering delivery partner (EDP).  HS2 Ltd began pre-qualifying for the 10-year contract, valued at between &po...

‘Use retired workers to bust Tube strike’ – GLA Conservatives

‘Use retired workers to bust Tube strike’ – GLA Conservatives

05.08.15: The Greater London Authority Conservative group is urging Transport for London to bring back members of the retired staff pool to keep LU running smoothly “even on strike days”. Richard Tracey AM wants some of the 364 Tube drive...

Electrification issues: Who knew what and when?

Electrification issues: Who knew what and when?

31.07.15: The date for when Network Rail started to see costs for some enhancement and electrification schemes exceed the amounts listed in the budget for CP5 seem to be getting earlier and earlier on a week-by-week basis.  Last week, RTM report...

Bombardier and Siemens ‘in talks to merge’ – WSJ

Bombardier and Siemens ‘in talks to merge’ – WSJ

29.07.15: Bombardier and German engineering group Siemens are allegedly in talks to combine their rail businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal. They claimed people ‘familiar with the matter’ said talks between the railway giants...

Tributes to Neil Harvey after his funeral

Tributes to Neil Harvey after his funeral

24.07.15: The life of Neil Harvey was celebrated at his funeral yesterday, with many of his friends and colleagues from across the rail industry in attendance. Harvey had a long career in engineering and then communications for Bombardier, and was mo...

Scotsman loco will return in full steam this year

Scotsman loco will return in full steam this year

20.07.15: The historic Flying Scotsman locomotive might return to main line service by the end of this year as part of a £4m restoration project that has lasted over a decade. Riley & Son Ltd, a Bury-based specialist engineering firm, is no...

PM announces £1m rail competition to attract tourists

PM announces £1m rail competition to attract tourists

17.07.15: David Cameron has announced today (17 July) a new £1m ‘Rail for Tourism innovation’ competition run jointly by RSSB and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The competition will call for ideas to transform the rail...

Are we really improving passenger information during disruptions?

Are we really improving passenger information during disruptions?

16.07.15: Last week RTM reported that the Office of Rail & Road criticised TOCs over their ‘lack of transparency’ to communicate their commitment to an industry-wide plan on improving passenger information during times of disruption (PIDD)...

'We do not foresee further programmes of this size and scale'

'We do not foresee further programmes of this size and scale'

14.07.15: The Department for Transport has admitted that the era of major infrastructure upgrades and new fleets is over for the time being – except for HS2. It says in its new ‘Rolling Stock Perspectives: Moving Britain Forward’ do...

Rail industry mourns sad passing of Neil Harvey

Rail industry mourns sad passing of Neil Harvey

07.07.15: The sad death has been announced of Neil Harvey, the general manager of the Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum (DDRF), who was a leading and well respected railway industry spokesman.  Prior to his role at DDRF, Harvey had been the comm...

Excessive heat leads to worst day of delays all year

Excessive heat leads to worst day of delays all year

03.07.15: The excessive heat earlier this week may have caused the worst day of the year for cancellations and claimable delays. Data from DelayRepay.net, a website that helps passengers make compensation claims, shows there were over 1,000 claimable...

McLoughlin announcements: new news?

McLoughlin announcements: new news?

26.06.15: Much of the national media jumped on the transport secretary’s bandwagon yesterday pointing the finger and criticising the poor performance of Network Rail in CP5 as a number of planned modernisation projects, such as Midland Main Line and...

Why we need more women in engineering

Why we need more women in engineering

23.06.15: Guest blog to mark National Women in Engineering Day by Apeksha Patel, senior electrical engineer at AECOM. As a senior electrical engineer in the rail industry, I sometimes feel a bit awkward when I realise I’m the only woman in...

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

24/09/2018Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

Northern has launched an extended compensation scheme to include regular travellers who don’t hold season tickets following the major disru... more >
Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

24/09/2018Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

The London mayor has failed to quell concerns about the future of the city’s Crossrail project after he claimed he ‘cannot be sure&rs... more >
Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... 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 >
board2

'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 >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

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 >

rail industry focus

View all News

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 >