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.

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...

Too many accidents while working on the railway

Too many accidents while working on the railway

19.06.15: Safety measures were found to be “not adequate” according to the RAIB in an accident where a track worker was struck by a train and lost his arm. The report details how in June last year a train travelling on the main line betwe...

Network Rail data quality still being questioned

Network Rail data quality still being questioned

12.06.15: Having attended many of the UK’s largest rail events over the last few years RTM has been constantly bombarded about the importance of one word: data.  The industry as a whole, as well as Network Rail, is so reliant on data that...

Cyber security not just a problem for the IT department

Cyber security not just a problem for the IT department

05.06.15: If cyber security continues to be considered as a purely IT problem it could lead to critical infrastructure failing, according to Network Rail’s head of cyber security. Peter Gibbons spoke during a panel session at Infosec where he m...

Rail strike Groundhog Day

Rail strike Groundhog Day

29.05.15: It feels like Groundhog Day now that RMT has rejected the improved pay deal from Network Rail and will strike next week. Does anyone think the strike will actually happen? The overwhelming feeling at RTM is: Nope. Over the next week th...

A deserved pay rise?

A deserved pay rise?

22.05.15: Yesterday the rail unions cancelled their planned strike over pay due to an improved offer from Network Rail, proving that in the realm of public sector workers the rich get richer. No-one is disputing that rail workers – engineers, d...

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TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on the... 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

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

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 monitor high-speed rail projects. No one doubts that HS2 must provide a platform for innovation, bu... more >
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Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... more >

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interviews

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 >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >