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.

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...

Your chance to live in a railway station… complete with its own train

Your chance to live in a railway station… complete with its own train

20.05.16: A former 19th century railway station, featuring its own track and steam train, is for sale for any rail enthusiast who has £600,000 to spare. The former Great Northern Railway Station in Rippingale, Lincolnshire, was built in 1872 an...

Free station wi-fi: shouldn’t we all have it by now?

Free station wi-fi: shouldn’t we all have it by now?

13.05.16: Passengers on Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) can now browse the internet on free wi-fi at 105 of the operator’s stations. The service, provided by O2, is available on Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express routes, al...

Putting accessible and inclusive transport at the heart of HS2

Putting accessible and inclusive transport at the heart of HS2

05.05.16: Charlotte Hughes, director of external relations at the Community Transport Association, invites HS2 to work together with communities in order to put accessibility and inclusivity at the heart of the infrastructure project. It is hard not...

The cost of recommending Network Rail change

The cost of recommending Network Rail change

29.04.16: The DfT has revealed that the estimated incremental cost of preparing and publishing the long-awaited Shaw Report was £875,919. The report, which rejected Network Rail privatisation for the ‘foreseeable future’, has been w...

Partnership offers Samaritans’ number on train tickets

Partnership offers Samaritans’ number on train tickets

26.04.16: People in need of someone to talk to about their problems will have a reminder of someone to talk to printed on their train tickets under a new partnership between the Samaritans and Network Rail. The new campaign, ‘We Listen’...

Scheme to offer internships to engineers after a career break could benefit rail industry

Scheme to offer internships to engineers after a career break could benefit rail industry

22.04.16: A new scheme to offer internships to civil engineers coming back to work in the industry after a career break could help remedy some of the rail industry’s staffing shortage and gender discrimination problems. The Civil Comebacks prog...

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latest rail news

First Vivarail production train enters final build stage

23/02/2018First Vivarail production train enters final build stage

After a period of radio silence, Vivarail has announced that its long-awaited battery D-Train is in its final build stage and will be in passenger ... more >
Amey manager appointed as TfN’s permanent NPR director

23/02/2018Amey manager appointed as TfN’s permanent NPR director

Transport for the North (TfN) has announced the appointment of its new Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) director. Tim Wood has already successfull... more >
Array of Thameslink failures mean there are ‘critical tests looming’ for HS2

23/02/2018Array of Thameslink failures mean there are ‘critical tests looming’ for HS2

Despite its progress, the Thameslink Programme still faces substantial challenges that must be addressed to ensure successful delivery – an... 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

Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

09/02/2018Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2018: Exciting details announced

The first details of this year’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge have been revealed and it’s safe to say the 2018 edition is set to be more thrilling than ever. Last year saw the RTM team attend the second edition in what is quickly becoming Women in Rail’s flagship event, where teams with a 50/50 gender split compete in a ... more >
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comment

NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

06/02/2018NCHSR: The possibilities are limitless

The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) has been gifted with a brand-new lab dedicated to surveying and scanning technologies designed t... more >
Keeping Britain's railway on track

06/02/2018Keeping Britain's railway on track

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, argues investment in track maintenance and rail infrastructure is fundam... more >
The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

06/02/2018The Intelligent Infrastructure approach

Network Rail is seeking to improve asset management whilst cutting down on expenditure by implementing a new Intelligent Infrastructure programme... more >
Project Aura: Changing the game

02/02/2018Project Aura: Changing the game

Paul Boyle, head of ERTMS at Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), describes how Project Aura has been revolutionising training across the organisatio... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
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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 >