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.

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...

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...

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latest rail news

Probe launched into SWR and NR performance

26/04/2018Probe launched into SWR and NR performance

An independent review into South Western Railway’s (SWR) performance has been commissioned by the government. Transport secretary, Chris G... more >
Half of London Tube and train journeys made with contactless

25/04/2018Half of London Tube and train journeys made with contactless

Half of all Tube and rail pay as you go journeys are regularly made using contactless payment or mobile devices, the latest figures from TfL have r... more >
High-speed handbacks could save NR £250,000 a week

25/04/2018High-speed handbacks could save NR £250,000 a week

New approaches to engineering could potentially save £250,000 a week by allowing trains to run at higher speeds once work is complete, Networ... 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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comment

UKRIA 2018 Apology & Statement

04/04/2018UKRIA 2018 Apology & Statement

It is with deep regret that I address the disappointing content in both of our live acts at UKRIA on Thursday 22nd March 2018 and offer my most s... more >
Smart ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The north has a plan

13/03/2018The north has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... 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 >