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.

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...

Putting passengers first at Paddington

Putting passengers first at Paddington

03.01.17: Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, highlights how new integrated planning was adopted to minimise passenger disruptions in the capital this winter.  Over the festive period multiple engineering p...

Network Rail calls for vigilance on level crossings this Christmas

Network Rail calls for vigilance on level crossings this Christmas

23.12.16: Network Rail has issued a new call for vigilance by pedestrians after film footage has emerged of two cyclists narrowly avoiding death on level crossings.  The most recent incident took place on 12 November at Griffin Lane level crossi...

Orange Army Choristers release Christmas carol cover

Orange Army Choristers release Christmas carol cover

16.12.16: A group of Network Rail engineers set to work over Christmas have released a seasonal song to keep up the festive spirit. The Orange Army Choristers, engineers from Network Rail’s track team in Rugby, Warwickshire, have posted their 4...

Waterloo continues to top list of Britain’s busiest rail stations

Waterloo continues to top list of Britain’s busiest rail stations

06.12.16: More passengers passed through London Waterloo than any other station last year, the latest figures from the ORR show. In 2015-16, an estimated 99 million people entered and exited the station, a similar figure to the previous year. Overall...

'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

'Mail Rail' trains tested to be revived as museum experience

02.12.16: Trains have run on the London Post Office Railway for the first time since the ‘Mail Rail’ service was abandoned over 10 years ago.  The ‘Mail Rail’ underground track, which has not been used since 2003, saw its...

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

29.11.16: A new initiative has been launched by London Transport Museum (LTM) to help tackle the UK’s shortage in engineers by encouraging children as young as three to consider a career in the sector. The museum’s ‘Enjoyment to Emp...

Jobs and skills boost in London – courtesy of Thameslink

Jobs and skills boost in London – courtesy of Thameslink

18.11.16: Over 250 jobseekers in London have gained new jobs or skills after getting involved in the Thameslink Programme, the multi-billion pound London railway upgrade which includes the complete rebuilding of London Bridge station by Network Rail. ...

Resounding call for supply chain certainty at TransCityRail

Resounding call for supply chain certainty at TransCityRail

11.11.16: Supply chain engagement and the future of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) were the key topics of debate at yesterday’s TransCityRail North conference and networking dinner. With more than 600 delegates in attendance for the black-tie d...

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

HS2 – The biggest single source of new jobs in UK infrastructure

04.11.16: Ailie MacAdam, Bechtel’s rail sector lead and a director of High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL), comments on the job opportunities that HS2 offers and the economic benefits the project will bring. It’s official… HS2...

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Reasons to be cheerful

23/03/2017Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlin... more >
TfWM to take over running of Midland Metro next year

22/03/2017TfWM to take over running of Midland Metro next year

Day-to-day running of the Midland Metro tram service will be taken on entirely by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) from October 2018 when the c... more >
Forgetful passengers to be refunded railcard penalties

22/03/2017Forgetful passengers to be refunded railcard penalties

A new scheme will allow passengers who are charged extra for travelling without a railcard to claim their money back at least once per year, effe... more >

editor's comment

08/03/2017A celebration of rail achievement

Welcome to this special UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) review issue of RTM. The fourth edition of the prestigious awards took place on 9 February at London’s Battersea Evolution and, once again, was a huge success.  With over 1,100 rail decision-makers in attendance, the black-tie event was a great place for networking and celebrating the success of the rail industry in the last 12 months. To see who won at this year’s... read more >

last word

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlines the industry’s reasons to be positive about the future of skills. Those of a particular age will recall with a warm glow the prestige of the British Rail Apprenticeship scheme and how this formed a bedrock of a life-long career. Then it all came crashing down with the (albeit disputed)... more > more last word articles >
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'the sleepers' daily blog

Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

21/03/2017Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

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 train, has completed its first successful run – sending a clear message to all non-believers that... more >
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comment

The future connected rail system needs a connected community

21/03/2017The future connected rail system needs a connected community

The rail and tech sectors must collaborate to determine the optimal route to the digital railway, writes Julian McGougan, head of technology at t... more >
Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

21/03/2017Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

David Clarke, technical director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), explains why the success of the supply chain will be the success of t... more >
Collecting safety culture data confidentially

21/03/2017Collecting safety culture data confidentially

Chris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, explains how confidential reporting can ‘deep dive’ into an organisation’s ... more >
Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

21/03/2017Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

Boaz Yariv, senior architect, and Dr Elizabeth de Mello, senior ergonomics specialist at Network Rail, discuss the complex ergonomic consideratio... more >

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interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, where leaders from major players such as Carillion... more >
Tackling regulation at its routes

24/01/2017Tackling regulation at its routes

John Larkinson, the ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, speaks to RTM about the move to regulating Network Rail at a route lev... more >
Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >