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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TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on the... 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

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE), talk about four new HS2 research projects which are set to challenge how we design, build and monitor high-speed rail projects. No one doubts that HS2 must provide a platform for innovation, bu... more >
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Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... more >

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interviews

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 >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >