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.

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...

Calling all women: have your say on the barriers of the rail industry

Calling all women: have your say on the barriers of the rail industry

18.07.17: Women have been instrumental in delivering large-scale projects in the rail industry, such as the Northern Powerhouse, and organisations like Network Rail have recently been relentlessly vocal about their commitments to diversifying the workforc...

Increased staff training having ‘real impact’ on reducing railway suicides

Increased staff training having ‘real impact’ on reducing railway suicides

30.06.17: On the railway, the prevention of suicides is a sad necessity that all staff increasingly need to be trained and prepared to deal with. But today, information released by the Samaritans has showed how a growing number of people working on t...

RTM joins industry to take part in Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2017

RTM joins industry to take part in Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2017

16.06.17: Last week, a team from Rail Technology Magazine competed in the second annual Big Rail Diversity Challenge which took place on 7 June. Held at the East of England Arena in Peterborough, the event aims to promote diversity in the rail indust...

RTM team joins rail industry in action-packed Big Rail Diversity Challenge

RTM team joins rail industry in action-packed Big Rail Diversity Challenge

09.06.17: For the second year running, members of the rail industry workforce will converge at Peterborough Arena today to participate in the innovative and action-packed Big Rail Diversity Challenge. And this year, RTM will be present not only as th...

TOC marks anniversary of railway safety education programme

TOC marks anniversary of railway safety education programme

06.06.17: Learning to travel independently on the railway and how to be safe around trains is an essential life lesson for any young person. And today, one operator has announced that its programme aimed at teaching children about the railway has rea...

New play makes a song and dance of Southern rail crisis

New play makes a song and dance of Southern rail crisis

02.06.17: A new play satirising the ongoing Southern Rail crisis is set to debut in Brighton this weekend. Written by Simon Levenson and directed by Mark Brailsford, ‘Southern Fail: The Musical’ centres around a romance between two commut...

Steam locomotion returns to Borders Railway for summer

Steam locomotion returns to Borders Railway for summer

30.05.17: History buffs and train enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that this summer they will once again be given the chance to hop on a steam train and travel through some of Scotland’s tranquil countryside. That’s because this week...

Opinion poll: HS3 must take priority over Crossrail 2

Opinion poll: HS3 must take priority over Crossrail 2

19.05.17: Fresh from their victories in the metro mayor elections earlier this month, new leaders of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram were quick to make transport a top priority for their cities last week. ...

Vivarail: D-Trains now ready for sale

Vivarail: D-Trains now ready for sale

18.05.17: Vivarail has announced that its first two production D-Trains are ready for sale, with delivery likely to be completed in early 2018. The trains can be built and delivered ahead of the forecast schedule due to increased production capacity...

Virgin begins hunt for innovating rail start-ups

Virgin begins hunt for innovating rail start-ups

16.05.17: Virgin Trains has this week called on the next generation of innovative start-up businesses to pitch original ideas to solve a set of rail industry challenges. The company has partnered with PlatformX – a business accelerator programm...

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

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 >
board2

'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 >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

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 >

rail industry focus

View all News

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 >