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.

Skills swap: GWR and Amey apprentices trade places

Skills swap: GWR and Amey apprentices trade places

13.09.16: Apprentices from Great Western Railway (GWR) and Amey will be swapping places throughout this month as part of a “rare” cross-organisational skills exchange between the operator and the engineering consultancy company. Those emp...

Sell Network Rail and scrap HS2?

Sell Network Rail and scrap HS2?

09.09.16: Controversial reforms are needed to Britain’s rail network, including selling nearly half of Network Rail and an end to the HS2 project, according to a right-wing think-tank. The new paper from the Adam Smith Institute shows the incre...

TfL introduces new badges to help disabled passengers find seats

TfL introduces new badges to help disabled passengers find seats

02.09.16: Disabled passengers will have an easier time finding a seat in the capital as Transport for London (TfL) unveils new ‘please offer me a seat’ badges. Up to 1,000 people can volunteer for a six-week trial to test the effectivenes...

Carne promises more improvements ahead of London Bridge opening

Carne promises more improvements ahead of London Bridge opening

26.08.16: The Bank Holiday opening of London Bridge’s new concourse marks a turnaround for the capital’s beleaguered rail services, the chief executive of Network Rail has promised. Writing for the Evening Standard and on Network Rail&rsq...

Hate crime increase on the railways following Brexit

Hate crime increase on the railways following Brexit

23.08.16: Worrying new figures indicate that British railways are an increasingly dangerous place for ethnic minority groups following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. According to figures obtained by the Press Association through a F...

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...

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latest rail news

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 >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun on the plans, developed b... more >
Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

21/09/2018Northern unveils new digital train for roll-out at end of year

Northern has unveiled its refurbished Class 158 digital train for passengers, ahead of the new fleet’s complete roll-out by the end of 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

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 >