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.

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...

60 seconds with… Adeline Ginn, founder of Women in Rail

60 seconds with… Adeline Ginn, founder of Women in Rail

09.05.17: We catch up with Adeline Ginn, founder of Women in Rail (WR), about the rail industry's outlook and the importance of investing in people. What are the biggest challenges facing the rail industry in the next 12 months? Over the last t...

Royal Assent: a huge step forward

Royal Assent: a huge step forward

28.04.17: Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21, reflects on the first phase of HS2 receiving Royal Assent and what challenges lie ahead.  The powers to build the first phase of HS2 – linking Euston with Birmingham Curzon Street and with th...

Digital service to reunite passengers with lost valuables trialled in Wales

Digital service to reunite passengers with lost valuables trialled in Wales

11.04.17: Customers pulling their hair out at constantly leaving their valuables on the train may be in luck, as an innovative new system may help them track down their possessions. The system, FindMyLost, is a digital service which allows passengers...

Vivarail unveil new images of D-Train DMU

Vivarail unveil new images of D-Train DMU

29.03.17: People excited about Vivarail’s developments will be pleased to know that the company has released new images of its D-Train DMU – including a first peek at the interior of its carriage. Last week, RTM reported that the first te...

Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

24.03.17: Work has been completed to raise the height of walls bordering the railway heritage site at Royal Terrace and Union Road in Linlithgow, as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). A total of £650k has been put into...

Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

21.03.17: If you were one of the many left saddened and disappointed when Vivarail’s test train caught fire over the festive period due to a fuel leak on one of the gensets, the company has some good news: its new test car, operated as a battery tra...

Successful test run for world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train

Successful test run for world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train

17.03.17: Alstom has run the first successful test of the world’s only hydrogen fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint at its test track in Salzgitter, in preparation for an extensive test campaign in Germany and Czech Republic in the coming months...

Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

03.02.17: Southern’s annual season ticket holders have been reminded that they are entitled to claim compensation due to the franchise’s poor performance over the 2016-17 financial year. Last year, the DfT promised that Southern season ti...

Scottish Borders tourism soars for the first time in 10 years – all thanks to rail

Scottish Borders tourism soars for the first time in 10 years – all thanks to rail

31.01.17: The Scottish Borders have seen “substantial” increases to its local tourism – and it could all be thanks to the region’s recently opened Borders Railway. In papers presented to the Scottish Borders Council executive...

Watch how the Ordsall Chord work progressed over Christmas

Watch how the Ordsall Chord work progressed over Christmas

27.01.17: Network Rail has released a short documentary film to demonstrate the huge progress made over the Christmas period on its Ordsall Chord project. The film shows how around 1,500 people from Network Rail and associated businesses helped to co...

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

06.01.17: A commuter organisation looking to take the DfT to court over its handling of the Southern rail crisis have said that their legal challenge is almost ready. The Association of British Commuters (ABC) hopes to submit its full application cal...

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latest rail news

RAIB to investigate Cambrian line ERTMS failure

22/02/2018RAIB to investigate Cambrian line ERTMS failure

The RAIB has launched an investigation into the loss of speed restriction data to trains during an incident on 20 October on the Cambrian coast lin... more >
Seat design needs more scientific approach to ensure comfort, says industry

22/02/2018Seat design needs more scientific approach to ensure comfort, says industry

There should be more research into the design of train seats in order to provide a more comfortable and safer experience for passengers, the RSSB h... more >
Jobs secured as Amey acquires NR’s Carillion contracts

22/02/2018Jobs secured as Amey acquires NR’s Carillion contracts

Over 700 jobs have been safeguarded as Carillion’s Network Rail contracts have been acquired by Amey Rail Ltd. The transfers come after Ca... 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

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

09/02/2018Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

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 quickly becoming Women in Rail’s flagship event, where teams with a 50/50 gender split compete in a ... more >
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comment

NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

06/02/2018NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) has been gifted with a brand-new lab dedicated to surveying and scanning technologies designed t... more >
Keeping Britain's railway on track

06/02/2018Keeping Britain's railway on track

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, argues investment in track maintenance and rail infrastructure is fundam... more >
The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

06/02/2018The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

Network Rail is seeking to improve asset management whilst cutting down on expenditure by implementing a new Intelligent Infrastructure programme... more >
Project Aura: Changing the game

02/02/2018Project Aura: Changing the game

Paul Boyle, head of ERTMS at Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), describes how Project Aura has been revolutionising training across the organisatio... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
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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 >