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.

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...

The railway is not a playground

The railway is not a playground

11.08.17: Respecting and understanding the dangers of the railway is an essential lesson for young people. Trespassing on the railway is a hazard that Network Rail has to deal with every day, as many people, especially children and young adults, underesti...

New UKRIA category to recognise outstanding research achievements in rail

New UKRIA category to recognise outstanding research achievements in rail

01.08.17: A new category has been added to the rail industry’s biggest awards ceremony UKRIA for its 2018 ceremony which recognises organisations for their outstanding research achievements. For the latest instalment of the awards, held on 22 M...

Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

28.07.17: Londoners will soon be able to enjoy a unique rail experience – by riding a train going along the disused Mail Rail line. The 6.5-mile track runs deep under the capital, criss-crossing Tube lines and formerly linking six sorting offic...

Triple electrification cancellation – a misstep from Grayling?

Triple electrification cancellation – a misstep from Grayling?

25.07.17: Following last week’s comprehensive set of announcements about HS2 and the closure of Parliament for recess, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there wouldn’t be any more news about major rail projects on the horizon anytime s...

Was the HS2 route decision for Sheffield correct?

Was the HS2 route decision for Sheffield correct?

21.07.17: This week has been a busy one for HS2. A number of important announcements were made by Chris Grayling, who will surely be glad to head off on holiday for some rest and relaxation as Parliament heads into its summer recess. Major details of...

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TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on 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

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE), talk about four new HS2 research projects which are set to challenge how we design, build and monitor high-speed rail projects. No one doubts that HS2 must provide a platform for innovation, bu... more >
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Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... 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 >