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.

Corbyn’s ambitious Transport Tuesday

Corbyn’s ambitious Transport Tuesday

16.08.16: Just as the Office of National Statistics sparked national outrage as it revealed the RPI figure will hike regulated rail fares by 1.9% next year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined unions outside London Bridge to call for the renationalisation...

Majority rules: We must build HS3 first

Majority rules: We must build HS3 first

12.08.16: The UK’s recent vote to leave the EU has cast doubt on what most industries once perceived as ‘business as usual’. Across rail, there were many questions around the viability of major infrastructure projects that rely on Europe...

More London Bridge delays add to GTR’s misery

More London Bridge delays add to GTR’s misery

05.08.16: Another hole under the tracks at Forest Hill led to services into London Bridge being cancelled last night. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) advised passengers on its Southern and Thameslink services to avoid using the station as Network Rail...

Is Pokemon Go a rail safety risk?

Is Pokemon Go a rail safety risk?

29.07.16: For the past month, Pokemon Go mania has swept around the world. It’s impossible to go out at the moment without spotting people walking around staring at their phones – not to send texts, but to catch animated creatures in the popul...

Anti-hate crime campaign launched at King’s Cross St Pancras

Anti-hate crime campaign launched at King’s Cross St Pancras

21.07.16: Passengers in London are being urged to report hate crimes on the capital’s transport network as part of a new Transport for London (TfL) campaign. The #WeStandTogether campaign, which aims to reassure passengers that the transport ne...

Unlocking the benefits of freight

Unlocking the benefits of freight

08.07.16: Following the country’s decision to leave the EU, Philippa Edmunds, manager of Freight on Rail and a member of the Campaign for Better Transport, highlights the importance of freight in the UK, with a particular focus in the north east.&nb...

Network Rail seeks 15 more apprentices

Network Rail seeks 15 more apprentices

05.07.16: Network Rail has announced that it will recruit 15 more apprentices into its 2016 intake due into increased demand. Aspiring apprentices have until 18 July to apply for the three-year scheme, which begins with 20 weeks training at Network R...

ORR promises greater scrutiny of franchise compensation

ORR promises greater scrutiny of franchise compensation

01.07.16: The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has promised to continue its drive to improve compensation offered to passengers for delays. After consumer pressure group Which? highlighted the issue by making a super-complaint to the ORR, the regulator...

Long-term strategy needed to tackle gender imbalance in engineering

Long-term strategy needed to tackle gender imbalance in engineering

23.06.16: Guest blog to mark National Women in Engineering Day by Melanie Maldonado, principal project manager for Rail London, AECOM.  It was my mum who suggested a career in engineering to me. A family friend was an engineer and that is how we...

How could Brexit affect the rail sector?

How could Brexit affect the rail sector?

21.06.16: Sean Thomas, senior consultant at economics consultancy Oxera, looks at the impact Brexit could have on the rail sector.  Brexit raises significant implications for the GB rail network and its operators. Here I consider two potential e...

Knighthood for Crossrail chair shows importance of rail skills

Knighthood for Crossrail chair shows importance of rail skills

14.06.16: The chair of Crossrail was given a knighthood in this weekend’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to UK infrastructure, skills and employment. Sir Terry Morgan, CBE, is also chair of the HS2 College Governing Body, and w...

Two-pronged approach needed to encourage women’s careers in railways

Two-pronged approach needed to encourage women’s careers in railways

10.06.16: Women seeking to build or return to a career in railway engineering can find out more about job opportunities at HS2 on 23 June. To mark National Women in Engineering Day, HS2 will hold a coffee morning from 9.30am to 11.30am at its office...

Virgin introduces ground-breaking entertainment portal

Virgin introduces ground-breaking entertainment portal

07.06.16: Virgin is seeking to make its passenger experience more entertaining than ever, with a new app allowing customers to view free films and TV programmes during their journey. Passengers who download the BEAM app will be able to use it to view...

Treating each rail passenger as a service partner

Treating each rail passenger as a service partner

03.06.16: The head of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), as well as representatives from different passenger groups, will give evidence about improving passenger experience to the Commons Transport Select Committee on Monday afternoon. The list of wi...

Government considering private funding for East Coast upgrades

Government considering private funding for East Coast upgrades

27.05.16: Private funding may be needed for the necessary infrastructure changes to allow the new East Coast InterCity lines to run at 140mph, the government has said. In response to a written question from Leeds MP Rachel Reeves, rail minister Clair...

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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 >