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.

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...

‘London’s suburban rail services are awful’, says TfL’s top man

‘London’s suburban rail services are awful’, says TfL’s top man

24.04.15: You’ve got to give it to Peter Hendy, he doesn’t hold back. The TfL commissioner is a man of opinions, and he is not shy of expressing them. So that’s exactly what he did in a recent interview with Management Today. Compar...

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Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

14/12/2018Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

The Australian subsidiary of Network Rail Consulting has been named as the systems integrator for the Digital Systems Program in Sydney by Transp... more >
Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

14/12/2018Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

 Infrastructure giant Amey is expected to be sold to a private equity firm in the new year, according to reports. The Financial Times b... more >
HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

14/12/2018HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

Two UK rail suppliers to major projects such as HS1, HS2, and Crossrail have admitted to operating an illegal cartel for almost seven years with ... 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 >