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.

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

A quick backwards glance, then looking forwards

29 January 2019Neil 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 business...

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22 January 2019techUK 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 Russell...

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

18 January 2019We've rounded up our top 5 reasons why we think you should be involved with TransCityRail Midlands

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

Surveying our past along the HS2 route

15 January 2019Surveyor 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. The...

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27 November 2018Olivia 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)  pr...

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

Crossrail and Crossrail 2: in the public eye

20 November 2018Since 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 bo...

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

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

13 November 2018Tim 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 not be...

Crystal balls for Brexit

Crystal balls for Brexit

06 November 2018Neil 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, position;...

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 October 2018Balfour 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 as a s...

Understanding the sale of the arches

Understanding the sale of the arches

30 October 2018David 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 Blacks...

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 September 2018“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 for the East Coast Partnership will m...

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

The cost that counts is the price of doing nothing

18 September 2018When 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 July, I...

Sandilands: Lessons for the mainline

Sandilands: Lessons for the mainline

11 September 2018The tragic Croydon crash of 2016 provided many lessons for the UK tramways. But the mainline railway would be wrong to assume many of these lessons don’t apply to them too, says Simon French, chief inspector of rail accidents at the RAIB. R...

Building resilience on the Brighton Main Line

Building resilience on the Brighton Main Line

30 August 2018SPONSORED INTERVIEW Andrew Swanson, head of signal engineering at Kier Rail, talks about a key rail signalling project for his team. The Brighton Main Line (BML) is one of the most congested commuter lines on the UK railway network. It connects...

A radical solution to the employment crisis

A radical solution to the employment crisis

24 July 2018Peter Cayless, founder and creative director at Working Eye, talks about an innovative solution to employment in the rail industry that might just help transform careers advice into career discovery. At the 2012 Latitude Festival, comedian Shappi...

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latest rail news

Rail franchises to end, making way for a new railway

21/09/2020Rail franchises to end, making way for a new railway

After 24 years, the Department for Transport (DfT) has today (21st Sept) announced that rail franchising is to end, forming the early steps towar... more >
Alstom set to purchase Bombardier Transportation

18/09/2020Alstom set to purchase Bombardier Transportation

Alstom’s move to takeover Bombardier Transportation has progressed following the announcement that Alstom has signed the sale and purchase ... more >
Flood-damaged Edinburgh-Glasgow line to reopen

18/09/2020Flood-damaged Edinburgh-Glasgow line to reopen

The Edinburgh-Glasgow, via Falkirk High, railway line will reopen for passengers on Monday (21st Sept.) Network Rail engineers have worked t... 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

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
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The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

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interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >
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 >