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.

Could tax breaks lead to more rail jobs?

Could tax breaks lead to more rail jobs?

06.10.09: Perhaps. The shadow chancellor has said that new businesses could be allowed to save on their NI contributions for the first ten employees in an effort to encourage start-ups. Of course this probably won’t have much of an affect...

More rail jobs for a safer future

More rail jobs for a safer future

05.10.09: Today we remember the victims of the Paddington rail crash; a terrible tragedy which must never happen again. However, given the current state of investment in rail, it could. It does not take a genius to work out that the financial restric...

Spare rail the cutter

Spare rail the cutter

02.10.09: It would seem that unless Gordon Brown can pull something spectacular out of the bag, the Conservatives will probably win the next election. However, whichever party wins reductions in public spending will have to be made and therefore we r...

Money from nowhere

Money from nowhere

01.10.09: Why, when Network Rail is having to make sweeping efficiency savings, can the government suddenly afford to keep hold of the East Coast Mainline? Where is this money coming from? A cynic could also ask the same question about the gover...

Siemens fills rolling stock rail job

Siemens fills rolling stock rail job

30.09.09: The company responsible for a large percentage of the rolling stock used on Britain’s railways has appointed a new member to its management team. Matthias Schlelein has been given the role of finance director of the company’...

Rail is rising

Rail is rising

29.09.09: The high-speed rail debate has probably been one of the best things to happen to the rail industry in a very long time. This debate has sparked the media’s imagination over what the country could achieve if it had the infrastructure to pr...

Get on yer bike

Get on yer bike

28.09.09: There was great news for rail job seekers today with the This is today’s rather ironic message from our government, considering that this will probably be our instruction to them next spring. Sarcasm aside, a new initiative to get mor...

More choice equals more rail jobs

More choice equals more rail jobs

25.09.09: There was great news for rail job seekers today with the announcement that Great North Eastern Rail are set to make a comeback, along with a sister company, Great North Western Railway. The story broke alongside the announcement that many...

Future jobs in rail

Future jobs in rail

24.09.09: There was good news for rail job seekers this week; Network Rail is planning to train up 1200 young people over the next five years. Those who make it on to Network Rail’s apprenticeship programme are lucky on two counts; one to get a...

No time to be playing politics

No time to be playing politics

23.09.09: With a general election looming, I am sure that we will hear many statements of good intent being made towards the rail industry. But will anything actually come of them? Will any rail jobs be created by Lembit Opik’s attempt at...

The future is green

The future is green

22.09.09: There was good news for Welsh rail jobs yesterday as the Liberal Democrats announced that they would move funding from roads to rail in an effort to make Wales transport more green. Even though all political announcements should be taken wi...

Some rail jobs are safe and some are not

Some rail jobs are safe and some are not

21.09.09: There has been a double edged sword of news delivered to those seeking rail jobs in Scotland this week. There was jubilation at the news that plans to reopen the Edinburgh to Borders line have not been dropped, while feelings of recrimina...

Recycled rail jobs

Recycled rail jobs

18.09.09: Despite recently announcing the loss of around 1800 rail jobs, Network Rail changed its tune yesterday, announcing that it is now creating rail jobs. The news came as they announced the construction of a recycling centre in Cambridgeshire...

High-speed rail equals future rail jobs

High-speed rail equals future rail jobs

17.09.09: The high-speed debate turned another corner yesterday with the publication of Greengauge 21’s report, Fast Forward, which calls for a far more comprehensive high-speed rail network than the one outlined in Network Rail’s plans. ...

Let’s ignore the bad news and get on with the rail job in hand!

Let’s ignore the bad news and get on with the rail job in hand!

16.09.09: Things are tough for those looking for rail jobs at the moment; but as one of the only growth industries left in Britain, rail offers a variety of rail jobs for those with the right attitude. There are literally hundreds of rail jobs availa...

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latest rail news

Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

24/09/2018Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

Northern has launched an extended compensation scheme to include regular travellers who don’t hold season tickets following the major disru... more >
Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

24/09/2018Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

The London mayor has failed to quell concerns about the future of the city’s Crossrail project after he claimed he ‘cannot be sure&rs... more >
Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... 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

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Even now, there is no concrete plan, nor timescales, for the interim operator of this franchise. From our inquiry, we cannot be sure, and cannot reassure passengers or public, that the arrangements ... more >
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Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >

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interviews

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 >
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 >