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.

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

09.02.18: The first details of this year’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge have been revealed and it’s safe to say the 2018 edition is set to be more thrilling than ever. Last year saw the RTM team attend the second edition in what is quickl...

#UKRIA2018 update: Packages going fast for the industry’s biggest rail awards show

#UKRIA2018 update: Packages going fast for the industry’s biggest rail awards show

23.01.18: Packages for this year’s UKRIA are selling out quick, and those hoping to attend are advised to act fast to avoid disapointment at the rail industry’s biggest opportunity to network. Excitement was crank...

Colossal rail event continues to break records

Colossal rail event continues to break records

09.01.18: Category sponsorships for UKRIA 2018 are selling quick following last week’s big announcement of comedian and actor Rufus Hound as host. This year’s event is headlined by HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston, who was revealed as ke...

#UKRIA2018 host revealed

#UKRIA2018 host revealed

03.01.18: The UK’s most prestigious rail industry awards has ramped up the excitement for this year’s event as popular comedian Rufus Hound has been confirmed as host. A veteran of TV panels shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the...

#UKRIA2018 is coming to town

#UKRIA2018 is coming to town

12.12.17: Abnormally freezing-cold temperatures, brightly lit town centres packed with a frenzy of shoppers, and busy markets cooking up endless servings of German sausages could only mean one thing: Christmas is now just around the corner! And what...

#UKRIA2018 picks up HS2 chief executive for keynote speech

#UKRIA2018 picks up HS2 chief executive for keynote speech

08.12.17: Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2, has been announced as the keynote speaker for this year’s prestigious UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA). Thurston, who took over at the country’s biggest rail project in March, is expected to...

#UKRIA2018: The results are in...

#UKRIA2018: The results are in...

28.11.17: The time you were all waiting for has finally arrived: UKRIA’s cross-industry panel of senior-level judges have had their final say on which companies, joint ventures and individuals should be in the running to receive a prestigious accola...

Eurotunnel rebrand: a more ‘Anglo-Saxon’ name?

Eurotunnel rebrand: a more ‘Anglo-Saxon’ name?

21.11.17: The owners of Eurotunnel have decided to change its name to Getlink, a move which the company described as “very Anglo-Saxon.” Despite the company operating across both England and France it has decided to change its name as it...

Looking back over HS1, 10 years on

Looking back over HS1, 10 years on

14.11.17: While the HS2 project continues to gain ground and press ahead with major contracts despite recent staffing controversies, today sees its older, considerably smaller sibling turn 10 years old. HS1, the line running between St Pancras Intern...

Rising complaints, changing priorities?

Rising complaints, changing priorities?

27.10.17: On average this year, more people in the UK are complaining about the quality of the rail service. Yesterday, the ORR released its quarterly analysis of complaints received about train punctuality, ticket-buying and onboard facilities and c...

What makes a truly outstanding project?

What makes a truly outstanding project?

20.10.17: With the rail industry currently in a state of continuous change, there are plenty of well-run and innovative new projects being delivered across the country. From the construction of the Ordsall Chord in the north to the completion of Cros...

TCR’s Top 10: Our picks from a brilliant event

TCR’s Top 10: Our picks from a brilliant event

06.10.17: TransCityRail North (TCR) 2017 was a day (and night) filled with lively debate, inspiring speeches and plenty of opportunities to network and meet new and familiar faces. For those who attended the conference in the day, business cards were...

Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

26.09.17: UKIRA, the rail industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards event hosted by RTM, has officially extended the deadline for entries by an extra two weeks. Due to unprecedented high levels of demand, the cut-off has been moved from to...

Investing in rail in the north

Investing in rail in the north

22.09.17: Rob Morris, director of operation at Siemens Rail Automation UK, runs through his organisation’s impressive track record across the north. With the Northern Powerhouse and Transport for the North programmes both firmly established as...

UKRIA 2018: Meet the judging panel

UKRIA 2018: Meet the judging panel

19.09.17: With just under a week left to get your applications in for the rail industry’s biggest awards event, UKRIA, it seems like the perfect time to introduce the huge names that are making up our judging panel this year. The most exciting...

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latest rail news

A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

16/11/2018A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

Chris Grayling has said that rail in the north is playing catch-up from “decades of economic neglect” and that whilst improvements in... more >
Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

16/11/2018Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

Costs incurred by the lengthy delay to London’s Crossrail project could cost Transport for London (TfL) over £200m in lost revenue, L... more >
Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

16/11/2018Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

Rail minister Andrew Jones has urged train operators to commit resources into new and existing community rail projects as he launched the 2018 Co... 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

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth Line. The announcement on 31 August that the central core section of the Elizabeth Line would not be opening on 9 December was a cause for major dismay and disappointment amongst politicians and... more >
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Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >

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interviews

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 >
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 >