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.

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...

DfT keeping on top of things at Network Rail?

DfT keeping on top of things at Network Rail?

18.09.15: Since the beginning of the year, no DfT officials have attended any meetings of Network Rail’s influential sub committees, despite knowing since autumn 2014 that there would be a multi-billion pound overrun on Network Rail’s enhancem...

‘North west electrification will continue at pace,’ says transport minister

‘North west electrification will continue at pace,’ says transport minister

16.09.15: The transport minister Andrew Jones has stated that despite Balfour Beatty withdrawing from the north west electrification programme “a full transition plan is in place” to ensure delivery continues “at pace”.  ...

Deadline day for Network Rail representations on licence breach fine

Deadline day for Network Rail representations on licence breach fine

11.09.15: Network Rail has until the close of business today (11 September) to make representations or objections to the ORR after the regulator proposed a £2m fine for Network Rail for breaching its licence due to poor performance on Southern, Govi...

‘Top 10’ overcrowded train services revealed

‘Top 10’ overcrowded train services revealed

09.09.15: Government data for the ‘top 10’ overcrowded train services in England and Wales during the autumn of 2014 has been released today (9 September). Figures are taken from internal management information, but some are derived from...

‘Victoria’ chopped and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

‘Victoria’ chopped and unscrewed after Crossrail completion

14.08.15: The final Crossrail tunnelling machine, Victoria, is being broken up and recycled after “finishing her journey” under the capital. The machine – whose self-explanatory name honours Queen Victoria’s involvement with t...

The case for a second Brighton Main Line – BML2

The case for a second Brighton Main Line – BML2

14.08.15: Guest blog by BML2 project manager Brian Hart London and South East commuters can take heart from the chancellor’s recent demand for a full study into a second Brighton Main Line (BML2), rather than just reopening the Lewes–Uckf...

JVs bidding for lucrative HS2 engineering job

JVs bidding for lucrative HS2 engineering job

07.08.15: There are whispers around the sector that two joint ventures have become the frontrunners to become HS2’s phase one engineering delivery partner (EDP).  HS2 Ltd began pre-qualifying for the 10-year contract, valued at between &po...

‘Use retired workers to bust Tube strike’ – GLA Conservatives

‘Use retired workers to bust Tube strike’ – GLA Conservatives

05.08.15: The Greater London Authority Conservative group is urging Transport for London to bring back members of the retired staff pool to keep LU running smoothly “even on strike days”. Richard Tracey AM wants some of the 364 Tube drive...

Electrification issues: Who knew what and when?

Electrification issues: Who knew what and when?

31.07.15: The date for when Network Rail started to see costs for some enhancement and electrification schemes exceed the amounts listed in the budget for CP5 seem to be getting earlier and earlier on a week-by-week basis.  Last week, RTM report...

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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 >