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.

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...

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...

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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 >