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.

TfL’s novel development of London property needs ‘careful watching’

TfL’s novel development of London property needs ‘careful watching’

15.10.15: The chair of London Assembly’s Budget & Performance Committee has told PSE that Transport for London’s (TfL’s) novel plans to raise more than a billion pounds by developing its property portfolio more commercially need to b...

100 Years of Women in Transport – where do we go from here?

100 Years of Women in Transport – where do we go from here?

28.09.15: Guest blog by Debra Charles, CEO at smartcard technology company Novacroft When London's Maida Vale tube station opened in 1915 it made history as the first to be completely staffed by women. Then, as the First World War engulfed Europe, wo...

DfT keeping on top of things at Network Rail?

DfT keeping on top of things at Network Rail?

18.09.15: Since the beginning of the year, no DfT officials have attended any meetings of Network Rail’s influential sub committees, despite knowing since autumn 2014 that there would be a multi-billion pound overrun on Network Rail’s enhancem...

‘North west electrification will continue at pace,’ says transport minister

‘North west electrification will continue at pace,’ says transport minister

16.09.15: The transport minister Andrew Jones has stated that despite Balfour Beatty withdrawing from the north west electrification programme “a full transition plan is in place” to ensure delivery continues “at pace”.  ...

Deadline day for Network Rail representations on licence breach fine

Deadline day for Network Rail representations on licence breach fine

11.09.15: Network Rail has until the close of business today (11 September) to make representations or objections to the ORR after the regulator proposed a £2m fine for Network Rail for breaching its licence due to poor performance on Southern, Govi...

‘Top 10’ overcrowded train services revealed

‘Top 10’ overcrowded train services revealed

09.09.15: Government data for the ‘top 10’ overcrowded train services in England and Wales during the autumn of 2014 has been released today (9 September). Figures are taken from internal management information, but some are derived from...

‘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...

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Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

18/12/2018Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

“Ineffective” safety arrangements and a number of unofficial working practices contributed to a group of track workers narrowly avoid... more >
Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

18/12/2018Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

The transformation of Glasgow Queen Street has been revealed as engineers have finished the installation of the west truss and have begun buildin... more >
Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18/12/2018Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same rou... 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 >