5 reasons train toilet maintenance pays

12 September 2018

Keeping toilets open and working on passenger trains is all part of the maintenance mix for rail fleet operators these days. Proactive servicing pays dividends. Here’s 5 reasons why…

Ask any rail customer what frustrates them most and broken toilets is sure to be on the list of gripes. There’s a limit to how long anyone can keep their legs crossed! Throw in long journeys and restless kids and it can become a real issue.

No train operating company (TOC) deliberately keeps toilet facilities locked down. In fact, blocked or closed toilets are often no fault of the franchise. A discarded baby’s nappy or a copy of a newspaper soon renders systems unusable. And YES, people shove both down train toilets!


When large objects work their way down the pipes they can stop the flow to the train’s storage tanks. The systems are smart, and if waste cannot reach the tanks a switch flips and toilet doors lock.

Other reasons include old pipe work slowly building up nasty deposits (yep, we’ll hold back on the grim details), tanks getting too full and the toilet mechanisms failing. It all adds up to an inconvenient passenger experience.

Here’s 5 reasons why it makes economic sense to plan train toilet maintenance, and include it as part of the ongoing servicing mix for rail passenger carriages:  

  1. Keep older rail stock working - Many of the vehicles still operational around the UK rail network are getting on a bit. Some are over thirty years old. That’s a lot of wear and tear. Ignore those tell-tale signs of potential failure and it’s no surprise when older toilet systems fail. As well as cleaning and emptying systems, we replace parts and offer new solutions to keep those older parts working longer. This will save on potentially costly refits.
  2. Better customer satisfaction scores – The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) is a great barometer of how the travelling public views the UK railways. Pricing and punctuality are important, but the standard of carriages also matters. That means clean seats, bins emptied, efficient door mechanisms, Wi-Fi and power sockets – and of course working toilets. Keeping ahead of the game when it comes to toilet mechanisms, hygiene and washroom availability will help to deliver better scores for the franchise.   
  3. Identify faults sooner – Not everything can be seen when completing standard cleaning and inspection routines. With three or six-monthly servicing, its easier to see damage, wear and tear and potential points of failure before there’s any impact on the overall service. Pumps, filters, vacuums, seals and other hidden fittings can be inspected, assessed and replaced as appropriate. We’re currently doing this with Southern. You’ll avoid washroom lock-downs when trains are in service.  
  4. Keep new carriages looking pristine – You’ve invested in the latest rolling stock, so why let carriages in perfect working order deteriorate? It’s too easy leaving maintenance until something goes wrong. Then it’s too late. We’ve recently partnered GWR and Hitachi to keep the latest Class 800/801 train sets looking great from day one. It makes sense. Regular toilet tank and pipe cleaning to ensure that facilities are open for the passengers who need them.         
  5. Prevent build-up of deposits – not for the faint-hearted, the uric acid and limescale build-ups inside toilet pipes slowly reduces the diameter of the pipes. With less space to carry debris and flow into the storage tank, the pipes quickly block. Our industrial cleaning fluids and pressure washers blast pipes clean and help to prevent unnecessary blockages.     


TBM transports toilet tanks to its Cheshire base, or we use mobile toilet emptying and cleaning units at client depots around the country. Tanks are overhauled, cleaned and returned looking like new within a few days.

Please call 0844 8008577 to discuss your fleet’s toilet tank requirements, or email [email protected]

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