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.

Poor compensation

Poor compensation

19.01.16: Why can’t rail travel vouchers (given as compensation by operators after delays) be used online? Only about a quarter of tickets are actually bought at station ticket offices these days, more and more are bought online and at automate...

Our not so golden tickets

Our not so golden tickets

18.12.15: This probably comes as no surprise, but it’s been revealed that 69% of all train users either partly or entirely fail to understand the different types of tickets available to them. A recent study by the Department for Transport, publ...

How many passengers used your station last year?

How many passengers used your station last year?

15.12.15: The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its latest annual dataset on station usage, which analyses ticket sales and travel cards to assess how many people are travelling to and from, or interchanging at, specific stations. This year...

Last chance to have a say on Gospel Oak-Barking extension

Last chance to have a say on Gospel Oak-Barking extension

04.12.15: Transport for London (TfL) has today launched the final consultation on the new rail link from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside before it seeks permission from transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to start construction. The proposed 4km ex...

Meadowhall remains DfT preference – but it leaves options open

Meadowhall remains DfT preference – but it leaves options open

30.11.15: HS2 station location has been a source of constant debate and frustration in the past few years, as the government, engineers and designers try to solve the connectivity conundrum without letting costs spiral completely out of control. City cent...

NR profits down and punctuality target missed, but New Year around the corner

NR profits down and punctuality target missed, but New Year around the corner

27.11.15: Network Rail has revealed in its half yearly report that it has narrowly missed its punctuality target as “more than one in 10 trains” arrived late.  Also, in what has been a tough couple of weeks, the rail infrastructure o...

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...

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Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

18/12/2018Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

“Ineffective” safety arrangements and a number of unofficial working practices contributed to a group of track workers narrowly avoid... more >
Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

18/12/2018Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

The transformation of Glasgow Queen Street has been revealed as engineers have finished the installation of the west truss and have begun buildin... more >
Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18/12/2018Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same rou... 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

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
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Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

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interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >
Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >