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.

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...

Bombardier and Siemens ‘in talks to merge’ – WSJ

Bombardier and Siemens ‘in talks to merge’ – WSJ

29.07.15: Bombardier and German engineering group Siemens are allegedly in talks to combine their rail businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal. They claimed people ‘familiar with the matter’ said talks between the railway giants...

Tributes to Neil Harvey after his funeral

Tributes to Neil Harvey after his funeral

24.07.15: The life of Neil Harvey was celebrated at his funeral yesterday, with many of his friends and colleagues from across the rail industry in attendance. Harvey had a long career in engineering and then communications for Bombardier, and was mo...

Scotsman loco will return in full steam this year

Scotsman loco will return in full steam this year

20.07.15: The historic Flying Scotsman locomotive might return to main line service by the end of this year as part of a £4m restoration project that has lasted over a decade. Riley & Son Ltd, a Bury-based specialist engineering firm, is no...

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latest rail news

Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

18/05/2018Bid to reopen Bristol line rejected by DfT

Proposals to fund the re-opening of a Somerset rail line have been halted by the government’s refusal to finance the plans. As part of... more >
Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

18/05/2018Welsh trains £200k makeover set to start

Work begins today on an 18-month programme to modernise fleets of Welsh trains. A £200,000 investment from Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), ... more >
Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

18/05/2018Every single service affected by major GTR timetable shakeup

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will change the times of every single service as part of its Rail Plan 20/20 programme. In order to run an additi... 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

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 >
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comment

Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >
Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

18/05/2018Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

Gordon Wakeford, managing director of the Siemens Mobility Division, explains how the company plans to make Yorkshire the base for the new U... more >
A year of change for the north

18/05/2018A year of change for the north

Achieving statutory status represents a landmark moment for northern transport and will have an enormous impact on what be achieved over the comi... more >
Make way for the D-Train

15/05/2018Make way for the D-Train

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Vivarail and former chairman of Chiltern Railways, provides an exclusive update on D-Train technology and talks about... 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 >