The Sleeper's Blog

Across Rail Technology Magazine’s The Sleeper Blog, you’ll find insightful analysis, opinions, and news from a collection of RTM’s guest bloggers, editorial board members, in-house reporters, and regular contributors.

Interested in becoming a guest blogger? Email the editorial team.

Building the North's new railways

Building the North's new railways

26.02.19: Mike Hulme and Justin Moss, co-chairs of Northern Rail Industry Leaders, look at how the supply chain is working with Transport for the North (TfN) to deliver benefits for the region in light of its recent White Paper. These are exciting ti...

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05.02.19: Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Fo...

Anna-Jane Hunter: A blossoming north

Anna-Jane Hunter: A blossoming north

29.01.19: Much has been achieved across the north in the past few years, but there’s still a lot of work left to do. As the third generation in her family to work on the railways, Anna-Jane Hunter, director of north of England rail at Network Rail...

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

29.01.19: Neil Robertson, chief executive of NSAR, takes a shot at making some predictions for rail’s fate in 2019. I was asked to make some rail predictions in the first week in January 2018. They were: Prediction 1: Rail infrastructure b...

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22.01.19: techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-focused transport ecosystem – with the rail sector forming a major part of this. Jessica Russel...

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

18.01.19: TransCityRail brings a unique opportunity to gain invaluable insight into what’s happening in the rail industry across the Midlands, exhibit, and place your brand in front of budget-holders whilst taking advantage of the hours of networkin...

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

15.01.19: Surveyor Richard Bath and principal archaeologist and works package manager Caroline Raynor, both of the Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV), talk us through some of the tech being used on the archaeological digs along the planned HS2 route. ...

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27.11.18: 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)  ...

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

20.11.18: Since the shock announcement of the delay to Crossrail in September, taxpayers and decision-makers alike have been anxious to find out the latest updates to the two projects. RTM’s Jack Donnelly headed to Whitehall to report on what their...

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

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

13.11.18: 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...

Crystal balls for Brexit

Crystal balls for Brexit

06.11.18: Neil Robertson, chief executive of NSAR, starts a frank conversation about Brexit. Have you noticed how it is almost impossible to have a sensible debate on the impacts of Brexit? The rules seem to be: take a firm, preferably dogmatic, posi...

Balfour Beatty hails successful use of digital evidence platform on GWR programme

Balfour Beatty hails successful use of digital evidence platform on GWR programme

30.10.18: Balfour Beatty has praised a new secure data collection platform as an ‘amazing development’ which has created seven-figure cost savings over 12 months on its Greater West electrification programme. Called eviFile, the software...

Understanding the sale of the arches

Understanding the sale of the arches

30.10.18: David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, sheds some light on the sale of the infrastructure owner’s commercial estate. We announced last month that we’d agreed terms with a joint venture of Telereal Trillium and...

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18.09.18: 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. F...

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

18.09.18: When it comes to investing in connectivity in the Midlands, what matters most is not whether we can afford to finance our ambitions but whether we can afford not to, writes Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect. At the start of Ju...

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Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

14/05/2019Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

Scrapping the £56bn HS2 project could pave the way for 28 separate local infrastructure schemes to be funded instead with the case “g... more >
DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

14/05/2019DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

The DfT has called for new technologies to revolutionise travel for older people and those with disabilities, but the RMT has “reacted with... more >
First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

13/05/2019First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

HS2 is on the “verge of passing the point of no return” and the amount of money spent would make scrapping the flagship project &ldqu... 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

Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

13/05/2019Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

Professor Meiling Zhu, chair of mechanical engineering and head of the Energy Harvesting Research Group (EHRG) at the University of Exeter, introduces us to Ze-Power (Zero Power, Large Area Rail Track Monitoring): an innovative Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project aiming to make the railway tracks safer and... more >
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The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >

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interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >