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.

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...

One more Railtex in the books

One more Railtex in the books

15.05.15: The three day event of networking, learning and displaying innovation that was Railtex 2015 has come to a close. RTM was there prominently all three days, attending the talks and discussions in the Knowledge Hub and Seminar Theatre while al...

More of the same?

More of the same?

08.05.15: It is fair to say that the Conservatives did not make any radical or surprising pledges on rail policy in their manifesto – it was very much ‘more of the same’. Plough on with HS2 and electrification, freeze rail fare rise...

Rail passengers will win after general election – but by how much?

Rail passengers will win after general election – but by how much?

01.05.15: Guest blog by Russell McCullagh Much is being made of the likelihood of a hung parliament at the UK general election, of coalitions and of deals being struck behind closed doors. It all points to uncertainty and speculation about many...

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latest rail news

Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

18/05/2018Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

Proposals to fund the re-opening of a Somerset rail line have been halted by the government’s refusal to finance the plans. As part of... more >
Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

18/05/2018Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

Work begins today on an 18-month programme to modernise fleets of Welsh trains. A £200,000 investment from Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), ... more >
Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

18/05/2018Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will change the times of every single service as part of its Rail Plan 20/20 programme. In order to run an additi... 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

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

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 starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained.... more >
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comment

Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >
Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

18/05/2018Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

Gordon Wakeford, managing director of the Siemens Mobility Division, explains how the company plans to make Yorkshire the base for the new U... more >
A year of change for the north

18/05/2018A year of change for the north

Achieving statutory status represents a landmark moment for northern transport and will have an enormous impact on what be achieved over the comi... more >
Make way for the D-Train

15/05/2018Make way for the D-Train

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Vivarail and former chairman of Chiltern Railways, provides an exclusive update on D-Train technology and talks about... 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 >