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.

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...

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...

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Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

22/02/2019Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

The potential of a Leicester to Coventry rail link has been revived again as one of the key highlights of a new transport masterplan outlined by ... more >
Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

22/02/2019Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

Eurostar queues of up to 15,000 passengers could mount up at London’s St Pancras International station in the event of a no-deal Brexit, ac... more >
New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

21/02/2019New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

A new head of safety and environment has been announced by Hull Trains, with Mark Shepherd due to replace Phil Green in the role. Bringing m... 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

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05/02/2019Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus. Passengers waiting at stations today are not peering down the line looking for a strategy ... more >
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TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

05/02/2019TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

Mike Harding, from Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, introduces us to TrackWater: an innovative project between Lancaster Univ... more >
High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

05/02/2019High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

Last year, the Scottish Government announced two feasibility studies to better understand the economic and environmental implications of options ... more >
Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

05/02/2019Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s head of data collection, gives us the rundown on the state-of-the-art ‘Flying Banana’ train. ... more >
Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

05/02/2019Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, explains how a new app developed for the rail industry wil... more >

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interviews

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >