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.

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...

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...

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Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

18/12/2018Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

“Ineffective” safety arrangements and a number of unofficial working practices contributed to a group of track workers narrowly avoid... more >
Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

18/12/2018Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

The transformation of Glasgow Queen Street has been revealed as engineers have finished the installation of the west truss and have begun buildin... more >
Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18/12/2018Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same rou... 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

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia 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)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
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Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

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interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >
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 >