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.

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

Rail academy construction progressing at pace

07.10.16: Industry efforts to deliver world-class training facilities for the next generation of rail workers are progressing at apace, as government ministers visited two sites this week. On Wednesday, transport secretary Chris Grayling visited the...

Could this be the station of the future?

Could this be the station of the future?

30.09.16: New images have brought to life a future where stations will be places to shop and socialise and not simply catch a train. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has released the images from bpr architects, which illustrate Station Place, a concept...

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

23.09.16: The Lower Briggate bridge in Leeds city centre will be repainted with the traditional LGBT rainbow colours after enough funds were raised by Leeds City Council and the local LGBT community. The bridge will be redecorated during engineering...

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

Two jobs, one stone: transferring the skills from a career in rail

20.09.16: David Stinton, graduate civil engineer at AECOM and sapper in the Royal Engineers, had no idea that working in rail would give him the opportunity to pursue two fulfilling careers with crucial transferrable skills. I decided that I wanted t...

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...

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A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

16/11/2018A transport network ‘on its knees’ is slowly catching up in the north, says Grayling

Chris Grayling has said that rail in the north is playing catch-up from “decades of economic neglect” and that whilst improvements in... more >
Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

16/11/2018Crossrail delay to mount up £200m in lost TfL revenue, London Assembly says

Costs incurred by the lengthy delay to London’s Crossrail project could cost Transport for London (TfL) over £200m in lost revenue, L... more >
Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

16/11/2018Rail minister launches strategy for grassroots community rail projects

Rail minister Andrew Jones has urged train operators to commit resources into new and existing community rail projects as he launched the 2018 Co... 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

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth Line. The announcement on 31 August that the central core section of the Elizabeth Line would not be opening on 9 December was a cause for major dismay and disappointment amongst politicians and... more >
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Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >

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interviews

Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >
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 >