Crewe-based TBM Rail celebrated this month as they refurbished the 100,000th seat cover for one of their UK train operator customers.
Established in 2009, the firm provides a range of cost-effective solutions that help the rail industry deliver a better experience to the growing number of passengers on Britain’s railways.
Dirty train seats now pose a serious threat to train operating companies (TOCs), as National Passenger Survey scores become increasingly important when franchises are up for renewal.
Over the last two years, TBM Rail has delivered cleaning and seat refurbishment projects for several key train franchises - including Virgin, Arriva Trains Wales, East Midlands Trains, Cross Country Trains, DLR and Southeastern Trains.
With a number of industrial dry cleaning units running constantly, the firm is able to clean and replace seats covers quickly, helping to keep carriages in action at peak times.
TBM Rail also offers services that ensure enhanced seat comfort and safety. Seat foam is assessed, and the fire-proof membrane is also checked and replaced where necessary.
Company director Neil Smith believes that offering the additional support to train companies not only helps to win contracts, but also raises standards for rail users.
He said: “Many rail lines are running to near capacity now, so trains are only laid up for a few hours during the night.
“Our technicians have vast knowledge of seat materials and mechanisms, so decisions about cleaning or complete replacement can be made quickly and accurately to ensure the best cost-efficiencies for the customer.
“Our cleaning team can get seat covers thoroughly dry-cleaned and back in service before the morning shift begins.
“What we realised is that removing covers allowed full inspection of the seat unit, but it also enabled us to immerse the cover in solvent that forces out dirt, dust and, crucially, bacteria.
“The hygiene element is vital if train operators are serious about maintaining high standards. Ideally, seat covers should be overhauled every six months.”
East Midlands Trains has already benefited from TBM Rail’s seat cleaning services.
Fleet Support Engineer and HST C6 Programme Manager, Paul Caffrey, said: “TBM Rail have always been easy to deal with and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them to people in the industry
“They collected seats and materials quickly and promptly, and they delivered a professional service that allowed us to give customers clean and hygienic seats.
“Keeping passengers happy has always been the priority, so being able to rely upon a flexible company that maintains a good working relationship with you is very important.”
TBM Rail has added other factory-based and mobile operations to its portfolio recently as it continues to expand the rail passenger comfort services offered.
Train toilet systems and storage tanks are refurbished onsite and within UK rail depots, and slimline power sockets with USB connections have been supplied to Hull Trains, Pendolino cabs and train manager cabins.