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.

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...

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...

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latest rail news

A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

16/11/2018A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

Chris Grayling has said that rail in the north is playing catch-up from “decades of economic neglect” and that whilst improvements in... more >
Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

16/11/2018Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

Costs incurred by the lengthy delay to London’s Crossrail project could cost Transport for London (TfL) over £200m in lost revenue, L... more >
Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

16/11/2018Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

Rail minister Andrew Jones has urged train operators to commit resources into new and existing community rail projects as he launched the 2018 Co... 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

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

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

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 not be opening on 9 December was a cause for major dismay and disappointment amongst politicians and... more >
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Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >

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interviews

Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >
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 >