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.

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...

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

RTM celebrates its 100th issue

28.10.16: RTM is extremely proud to announce that today marks the publication of our 100th edition. This edition, wrapped in a special celebratory cover, represents a major milestone in our 18-year journey as Britain’s rail industry media leade...

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

Network Rail chooses Barnardo’s as charity partner

26.10.16: Barnardo’s will be Network Rail’s Charity of Choice until March 2019, it was announced today. Network Rail will support the charity through fundraising, volunteering, gifts in kind and payroll giving. There’s no doubt...

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

If the Midlands makes the most of HS2, the UK will get most out of the Midlands

25.10.16: Maria Machancoses, programme director at Midlands Connect and director at Midlands Engine, writes for RTM about the opportunities HS2 will create for the region and the country. According to transport secretary Chris Grayling, the first pha...

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Use cancelled electrification savings to boost Welsh transport, say MPs

21/05/2018Use cancelled electrification savings to boost Welsh transport, say MPs

Savings from the cancelled electrification scheme should fund a Welsh transport boost, the Welsh Affairs Committee has said. The committee argue... more >
Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

18/05/2018Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

Proposals to fund the re-opening of a Somerset rail line have been halted by the government’s refusal to finance the plans. As part of... more >
Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

18/05/2018Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

Work begins today on an 18-month programme to modernise fleets of Welsh trains. A £200,000 investment from Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), ... 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

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained.... more >
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Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >
Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

18/05/2018Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

Gordon Wakeford, managing director of the Siemens Mobility Division, explains how the company plans to make Yorkshire the base for the new U... more >
A year of change for the north

18/05/2018A year of change for the north

Achieving statutory status represents a landmark moment for northern transport and will have an enormous impact on what be achieved over the comi... more >
Make way for the D-Train

15/05/2018Make way for the D-Train

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Vivarail and former chairman of Chiltern Railways, provides an exclusive update on D-Train technology and talks about... 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 >