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.

McLoughlin happy with Pacer replacement deal, and “busy” British order books

McLoughlin happy with Pacer replacement deal, and “busy” British order books

29.01.16: Following last week’s announcement by Arriva that CAF is to build 281 new carriages for the new Northern franchise to replace the Pacer trains, there was much noise made about “Why didn’t we go for a British manufacturer?&rdquo...

Poor compensation

Poor compensation

19.01.16: Why can’t rail travel vouchers (given as compensation by operators after delays) be used online? Only about a quarter of tickets are actually bought at station ticket offices these days, more and more are bought online and at automate...

Our not so golden tickets

Our not so golden tickets

18.12.15: This probably comes as no surprise, but it’s been revealed that 69% of all train users either partly or entirely fail to understand the different types of tickets available to them. A recent study by the Department for Transport, publ...

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...

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

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 >
board2

'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 >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

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 >

rail industry focus

View all News

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 >