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.

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...

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...

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latest rail news

Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

24/09/2018Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

Northern has launched an extended compensation scheme to include regular travellers who don’t hold season tickets following the major disru... more >
Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

24/09/2018Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

The London mayor has failed to quell concerns about the future of the city’s Crossrail project after he claimed he ‘cannot be sure&rs... more >
Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... 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

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “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 ... more >
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Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

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interviews

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 >
Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >