Moquette still serving rail

08 May 2018

From the early days of British Rail, train seats have often been covered with hard-wearing Moquette and flat cloth fabrics. TBM Rail recently unearthed a classic document that highlights the importance of proper maintenance and care…

We love a bit of history. Our supplier emailed a scanned document the other day. It was published by the Materials Technology Group. It was about the use of Moquette and flat cloth within the railway industry, and how in some cases the classic material has been known to last up to 37 years. Really!

Look after something and it lasts, that’s an accepted maxim no matter what you’re dealing with. Sure some products wear out, and where train seats are concerns that’s no surprise considering the number of bums (and feet, naughty!) that pound them each day.


Moquette and flat cloth has been used with both fixed and loose seat covers, with a slightly longer ‘life’ enjoyed when the fabric is deployed on fixed units. Put simply, fixed covers gets dragged around much less, keep their shape and hold their position.

Interestingly, according the MTG, the main reasons Train Operating Companies (TOCs) replace the covers is due to excessive soiling, not damage or wear and tear. It’s tough stuff Moquette and flat cloth, but when mud, coffee and other substances have been ground in over the years it’s hard to get out.

It’s all about sensible maintenance schedules and effective cleaning. What the MTG paper recommended made us smile. Apparently, they should not be ‘wet’ cleaned, rather dry-cleaned – especially after stains have been allowed to dry off.

That’s exactly what we do. TBM Rail has been dry-cleaning set covers for nearly a decade. It’s the most effective way to get them properly clean and free from germs.


Moquette and flat cloth seat covers should be cleaned every six months to maximise their life. This will keep the material looking good and performing at its best. MTG also recommended that TOCs avoid lighter colours, as staining shows up more and therefore demands additional cleaning. That will ramp up costs for fleet managers and shorten the life of the fabric. 

A range of new materials have graced the train seat covers of recently rolled out carriages, but already comfort and durability are being called into question in some cases. TBM Rail cleans all types of covers but still loves the qualities offered by Moquette and flat cloth.

Somehow, when other materials are long gone and consigned to the rubbish bin, we reckon that some of the original Moquette and flat cloth covers will still be serving rail passengers across the UK network.

Long live Moquette and flat cloth!

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