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.

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...

TV show mocks rail industry

TV show mocks rail industry

15.09.09: The rail industry, which has been criticised in the past for taking itself a little too seriously, took a light hearted battering on a recent episode of the hit TV comedy panel show Mock The Week. The jokes began to fly after the show&rsquo...

London Midland set to bring a fresh approach to rail services

15.11.07: London Midland, operator of the West Midlands rail franchise, became one of the Uk’s newest rail companies with the promise of a fresh approach to running the railway. The franchise combines the former Silverlink County business and t...

Is high speed Labour’s last chance?

Is high speed Labour’s last chance?

23.11.03: Gordon Brown has come out saying that Labour will have a fully costed plan for high speed rail in their election manifesto. Apparently their plans will include a precise route and timetable for when work is to be begin. Of course this...

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latest rail news

Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

22/02/2019Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

The potential of a Leicester to Coventry rail link has been revived again as one of the key highlights of a new transport masterplan outlined by ... more >
Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

22/02/2019Queues of 15,000 and Eurostar chaos at St Pancras in no-deal Brexit

Eurostar queues of up to 15,000 passengers could mount up at London’s St Pancras International station in the event of a no-deal Brexit, ac... more >
New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

21/02/2019New head of safety and environment for Hull Trains announced

A new head of safety and environment has been announced by Hull Trains, with Mark Shepherd due to replace Phil Green in the role. Bringing m... 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

Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

05/02/2019Williams Rail Review: The end of saying sorry?

Keith Williams’ ongoing Rail Review presents a golden opportunity to rebuild the industry’s weakened relationship with its users and set it on a better track for the future, argues David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus. Passengers waiting at stations today are not peering down the line looking for a strategy ... more >
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TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

05/02/2019TrackWater: Embracing data in flood prevention

Mike Harding, from Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, introduces us to TrackWater: an innovative project between Lancaster Univ... more >
High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

05/02/2019High-speed rail cannot stand in isolation

Last year, the Scottish Government announced two feasibility studies to better understand the economic and environmental implications of options ... more >
Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

05/02/2019Flying Banana reaps the fruit of its labour

Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s head of data collection, gives us the rundown on the state-of-the-art ‘Flying Banana’ train. ... more >
Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

05/02/2019Introducing the new Passenger Assist app

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, explains how a new app developed for the rail industry wil... more >

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interviews

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >