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.

How many passengers used your station last year?

How many passengers used your station last year?

15.12.15: The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its latest annual dataset on station usage, which analyses ticket sales and travel cards to assess how many people are travelling to and from, or interchanging at, specific stations. This year...

Last chance to have a say on Gospel Oak-Barking extension

Last chance to have a say on Gospel Oak-Barking extension

04.12.15: Transport for London (TfL) has today launched the final consultation on the new rail link from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside before it seeks permission from transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to start construction. The proposed 4km ex...

Meadowhall remains DfT preference – but it leaves options open

Meadowhall remains DfT preference – but it leaves options open

30.11.15: HS2 station location has been a source of constant debate and frustration in the past few years, as the government, engineers and designers try to solve the connectivity conundrum without letting costs spiral completely out of control. City cent...

NR profits down and punctuality target missed, but New Year around the corner

NR profits down and punctuality target missed, but New Year around the corner

27.11.15: Network Rail has revealed in its half yearly report that it has narrowly missed its punctuality target as “more than one in 10 trains” arrived late.  Also, in what has been a tough couple of weeks, the rail infrastructure o...

Metrolink close to overtaking London Tramlink as third busiest in England

Metrolink close to overtaking London Tramlink as third busiest in England

20.11.15: Major sporting events in Manchester – including the Rugby World Cup at Etihad Stadium, Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford and Manchester City and United matches – helped the city’s Metrolink hit a record number of passeng...

Halfway there for Crossrail surface works

Halfway there for Crossrail surface works

18.11.15: Six years into the project and with another four left until trains hit the capital, Crossrail surface works have today reached the halfway mark.. Although these works take only a £2.3bn slice of the overall £15bn Crossrail fundi...

What you've been saying about TransCityRail North...

What you've been saying about TransCityRail North...

13.11.15: Thanks from all of us here at RTM to everyone who made TransCityRail North such a fabulous event last night. You can read our take on it here, but we also wanted to highlight some of the contributions you made via social media:  ...

S-Stock is the best thing since black cab

S-Stock is the best thing since black cab

05.11.15: A poll of over 10,000 Londoners has selected Bombardier’s S-Stock Tube trains as one of the top 10 transport designs in the capital – impressive, considering well-established icons from more than a century ago were also competing. ...

Another big name lost for Network Rail

Another big name lost for Network Rail

02.11.15: Patrick Butcher, Network Rail’s finance director, is leaving his longstanding position in the New Year to take up a job as chief finance officer of the Go-Ahead Group from May 2016. The appointment follows a series of executive change...

Why the government’s consultation on ‘improving mobile communications to UK rail passengers’ is too restrictive

Why the government’s consultation on ‘improving mobile communications to UK rail passengers’ is too restrictive

23.10.15: Guest blog by Graham Cove of Synaptix Technologies, which installed and maintained The Cloud equipment in all Network Rail stations over the last five years. During the summer, the government issued a consultation document about improv...

Britain’s railway stations on film

Britain’s railway stations on film

20.10.15: Passengers passing through some of Britain’s biggest stations this week may have seen special screenings of unearthed heritage films from the BFI’s ‘Britain on Film’ collection, looking to celebrate the lives of ordinary...

A commitment to transparency

A commitment to transparency

19.10.15: Many organisations, particularly publicly accountable ones, say they favour transparency – and many take some steps towards it. But data-dumps and a ‘Transparency’ page on your website aren’t enough. Information need...

Southeastern forced to remove sexist ‘safety’ poster across 70 stations

Southeastern forced to remove sexist ‘safety’ poster across 70 stations

16.10.15: Southeastern has been forced to remove a “safety” poster campaign across 70 stations after it was rightly branded as sexist by MPs. The poster, somehow intended to promote safety, featured an edited close-up of a woman’s b...

TfL’s novel development of London property needs ‘careful watching’

TfL’s novel development of London property needs ‘careful watching’

15.10.15: The chair of London Assembly’s Budget & Performance Committee has told PSE that Transport for London’s (TfL’s) novel plans to raise more than a billion pounds by developing its property portfolio more commercially need to b...

100 Years of Women in Transport – where do we go from here?

100 Years of Women in Transport – where do we go from here?

28.09.15: Guest blog by Debra Charles, CEO at smartcard technology company Novacroft When London's Maida Vale tube station opened in 1915 it made history as the first to be completely staffed by women. Then, as the First World War engulfed Europe, wo...

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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 >