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.

#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...

What are you doing to prepare for the digital revolution?

What are you doing to prepare for the digital revolution?

08.09.17: Digital technology is enhancing and transforming the way the rail network in the UK is run. Increasingly, tickets and rail cards are available instantly on the smartphones of passengers rather than in paper form. Modern forms of traffic man...

How are you improving passenger safety?

How are you improving passenger safety?

05.09.17: Recent figures from the RSSB revealed that Britain’s railways are continuing the trend of recent years and becoming even safer. In its ‘Annual Safety Performance Report 2016-17’ report, the safety body showed further reduc...

Easing the capital’s cramped carriages

Easing the capital’s cramped carriages

22.08.17: We’ve all been there – you’re standing on the platform on the way to work, hoping to board the next train that pulls up, before seeing the crowd of packed passengers in front of you, crammed into the carriage like sardines. ...

UKRIA: Time to shine with your mobile tech innovations

UKRIA: Time to shine with your mobile tech innovations

15.08.17: Using innovative mobile technology to improve the passenger experience on trains and make the railway run more efficiently is increasingly important for companies across the industry. This month, the Rail Delivery Group announced the schedu...

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latest rail news

Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... more >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun on the plans, developed b... more >
Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

21/09/2018Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

Northern has unveiled its refurbished Class 158 digital train for passengers, ahead of the new fleet’s complete roll-out by the end of the ... 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 >