Cleaning the nation’s train seats

08 August 2018


TBM doesn’t clean every train seat cover in the UK, but we get through plenty. In fact, cleaning the nation’s train seats has become second nature, with over 200,000 completed for train operating companies.

Train seats matter to paying customers. They need to be clean and hygienic. Operators’ dedicated cleaning teams work around the clock, brushing dirt off each day. Some steam clean while covers are in place on seats inside train carriages.

TBM goes further. We remove covers, assess the seat foams and quality of the fabric. We make recommendations, or swap-out as required. Otherwise, we blast clean loose dirt and grime. We then put the covers through our industrial dry cleaning machines. Germs have no chance!

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Southeastern Railway’s ambitious overhaul 

Recently, a major UK train stock refurbishment project has been completed. TBM is delighted to say it was part of it.

Southeastern Railway and Eversholt Rail took the bold decision to overhaul nearly one third of the train operator’s passenger vehicles. It was a £30m investment aimed at giving customers an improved travelling experience around the South East London, Kent and East Sussex routes. 

Some of the work was done at Derby, one of Bombardier’s key depots. Toilets were refurbished, carpets replaced, seat bases removed and the overall look and feel of the walkways and carriage interior and exteriors was refreshed.

TBM has partnered Bombardier to meet the incredible target of cleaning 83,000 seat covers. And we did it, on time!

At least one full train set each week was tackled, with seat covers returned to the project teams as other aspects of the refurbishment was completed. This is just one of many examples of significant investment in the UK’s railway system.   

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Other TBM seat projects

TBM overhauls train toilet systems, coats grab poles with high-quality Nylon R-AG coatings that include Addmaster’s antimicrobial additive technology, as well as providing washroom equipment, USB power points and door sensor equipment. We’re all about passenger comfort services.

However, seat cover cleaning has been a key part of the business for some time. We support train operating companies (TOCs) all over the UK rail network. That can be at client depots, or back at our Crewe base in Cheshire.

One ongoing contract is in partnership with Hitachi and GWR. Last year’s roll-out of Class 800/801 units saw the introduction of the next generation of trains. They look incredible and the operators want to keep them looking great.

Enter TBM. We have been supporting the South West depots of GWR/Hitachi from day one. Now around 450 seat covers pass through the TBM Crewe site each week. They are quickly processed and returned to depots in time for deployment on passenger services between the South West and London.

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How do TOCs maintain high standards?

The big challenge for Southeastern, GWR and other train operators is keeping carriage interiors looking good over time. Many thousands pass through the carriages each day. That’s a lot of wear and tear.

Passengers step inside when they begin journeys and they expect quality. Seats, grab poles and luggage spaces are the first things they see.

The answer is ongoing maintenance. Building seat cleaning and toilet servicing into daily/weekly and monthly maintenance plans from launch makes sense. It means that on-board standards for passengers remain high.

Delivering quality will always be reflected in customer feedback, and for railway operators that means the scores reflected in the NRPS questionnaires (National Rail Passenger Survey) that are completed twice each year.

If you’d like more information about what TBM can offer your fleet please call 0844 800 8577 or email [email protected] for further details.

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