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.

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...

Disabled passenger numbers hit record levels

Disabled passenger numbers hit record levels

15.04.16: More disabled people than ever are using Britain’s railways, figures released yesterday by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) suggest. In 2012-15, the number of disabled person’s railcards in circulation increased from 144,829 to...

Changing of the guard: Roy Freeland to speak on behalf of RSG at Infrarail

Changing of the guard: Roy Freeland to speak on behalf of RSG at Infrarail

08.04.16: Infrarail 2016 have announced the new speaker for the Rail Supply Group (RSG) at next week’s event, with Perpetuum’s Roy Freeland replacing Alstom’s former UK president. Roy Freeland, SME lead for the RSG Council, will app...

Search is launched to uncover origins of WW2 era plans to reconstruct Forth Bridge

Search is launched to uncover origins of WW2 era plans to reconstruct Forth Bridge

05.04.16: Mysterious 71-year-old plans for a Forth Bridge reconstruction that was never built have been discovered in an archive, leading to a hunt to find out more about them. The drawings, found in a microfiche file among a box of historical docume...

Mental health at the heart of rail travel

Mental health at the heart of rail travel

01.04.16: It’s a momentous day for West Coast staff and commuters alike: Virgin Trains has kicked off a partnership with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) to increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing amongst customers and employees, includi...

BTP deploy extra resources following Brussels terrorist attacks

BTP deploy extra resources following Brussels terrorist attacks

23.03.16: Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels yesterday morning, British Transport Police (BTP) announced they are deploying extra resources on Britain’s transport networks. The attacks in Brussels began at 7.00am GMT yesterday with two...

Virgin unveils Azumas for East Coast

Virgin unveils Azumas for East Coast

18.03.16: Virgin have unveiled a new fleet of their fastest ever trains to increase capacity on their East Coast route. The 65 VirginAzuma trains are capable of reaching 125mph in around four-and-a-half minutes, compared to around five minutes ten se...

Sussex trains slow to 5mph as latest landslip hits

Sussex trains slow to 5mph as latest landslip hits

14.03.16: Another landslip has hit the rail network, this time in Sussex, forcing Southern rail services on the line between Eastbourne and Lewes to slow to 5mph. Network Rail staff are currently digging bore holes into the rail to look deeper at the...

Anything but splitting franchises

Anything but splitting franchises

11.03.16: It’s a turbulent time for the rail industry at the moment, what with the upcoming Shaw Report, early signs of potential asset privatisation across Network Rail, and even a looming shake-up of how operators run services in the UK. A sh...

Row over Network Rail’s future worsens as campaign launched to stop station sales

Row over Network Rail’s future worsens as campaign launched to stop station sales

04.03.16: Activists are joining the debate over Network Rail’s future as anti-privatisation group ‘We Own It’ has launched a week of protests against proposals to sell off 18 major stations. The protests began at King’s Cross...

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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 >