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.

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...

Crossrail’s final shipment of earth arrives at Wallasea Island

Crossrail’s final shipment of earth arrives at Wallasea Island

23.04.15: The last shipment of excavated material donated by Crossrail to one of Europe’s largest nature reserves has arrived at Wallasea Island in Essex. As part of a partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)...

Maglev train breaks own speed record

Maglev train breaks own speed record

21.04.15: The state-of-the-art maglev train from Central Japan Railway set a world speed record on Tuesday hitting 603km/h (374mph). The seven-car maglev – magnetic levitation – train, hit a top speed of 603km/h and managed nearly 11 seco...

More needs to be done as containers ‘blown away’

More needs to be done as containers ‘blown away’

17.04.15: The RAIB is currently investigating two cases of empty containers being blown of freight trains by high winds in Cumbria and Lincolnshire – both incidents happening in March. Fortunately both incidents occurred without injury, but the...

FGW insists new SETs won’t lead to job cuts

FGW insists new SETs won’t lead to job cuts

09.04.15: First Great Western (FGW) insists that it will be increasing rather than decreasing the number of staff on board long-distance trains when it introduces new Super Express Trains (SETs) from 2017.  This is despite rail union RMT saying...

Seeing is unbelieving

Seeing is unbelieving

01.04.15: A recent press release from Transport for London contained this interesting sentence: “Once [resignalling is] completed, most Circle line customers will see a train up to every 4 minutes instead of 10 and once LU add in additional District...

Constructive scrutiny welcome for HS2

Constructive scrutiny welcome for HS2

27.03.15: Earlier this week the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee stated that the government has not yet made a “convincing case” for HS2 causing a media frenzy.  And while we at RTM feel it is only right that the Comm...

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Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

16/10/2018Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

Delays and cost overruns on the Crossrail project could have a significant impact on HS2, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA... more >
HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

16/10/2018HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

The outgoing boss of HS2 Phase 2b has defended the one-year setback in introducing legislation to Parliament, arguing that the move was “es... more >
Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

16/10/2018Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

The worst railway stations in the UK for late trains and cancellations have been revealed, with ten of the busiest seeing over half of all servic... 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

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 >
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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 >

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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 >