Covid 19 has shaken the global economy and made passengers think twice about using public transport. Hygiene is a priority, and CET tanks must be maintained to restore confidence!

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TBM’s recoating of grab poles and handles for Avanti’s 221 Voyager fleet has uncovered a few surprises – namely how effective Nylon R-Ag coatings for transport fleets really are!

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Floors, toilets and washrooms are all the focus of cleaning regimes, but is seat cover cleanliness taken seriously enough? We think that all seats are a priority.

As people and companies adapt to the challenges thrown up by coronavirus, everyone is assessing how they live, work and travel. How we protect ourselves from unseen attackers is now a major concern.

The coronavirus highlighted many things. It showed how vulnerable we all are to viruses that can affect people and places without warning.

Something TBM is keen to emphasise to passengers and fleet operators is the importance of regular seat cover cleaning to help in the fight against infections.

It’s no longer just about looking good; it’s about keeping staff and passengers safe.

How dirty are train seat covers?

In many cases, the seats you sit on in trains can carry more germs, bacteria and viruses than a toilet. Really!

Not every passenger uses a toilet on board, but when they do most follow simple hygiene rules. It’s the same at home; most people use a toilet cleaner, wipe down surfaces and even spray the room with disinfectant.

Seat cushions, sofas and other fabric covered chairs rarely get the same attention.

On train seats, however, the sheer volume of traffic means that the risks are high even when nightly cleaning teams clean and tidy the carriages.

Almost every passenger places a hand on the seat cover as they sit down. Many people in shorts or dresses touch the covers with their skin. People eat, sneeze and cough while they are sat in the same spot – often for an hour or more.

Sweat, grease, dirt, germs and fluids can be found all over seat fabrics when you inspect them closely. Unfortunately, these substances can be passed on from passenger to passenger.

Deep cleaning and protection

TBM offers scheduled seat cover cleaning and maintenance to fleets across the entire UK rail network. With virus concerns at the forefront of everyone’s mind, keeping covers clean and hygienic should be a priority.

Because we remove seat covers we can really get the material clean. It starts with a blast of air to remove surface dirt and dust. Individual stains and spills are dealt with by our experienced teams of cleaners. The covers are then dry cleaned in professional machines using rail industry approved solutions.

We also go a step further. In partnership with BioMaster, we now offer protective coatings for seat cover materials and carpets. This forms a barrier that repels drink spills, stops substances forming a bond on the cover’s surface, and helps to stop the spread of viruses.

When built into a regular cleaning programme fleet operators can give their passengers increased confidence with carriage interiors that are not only cleaner but more hygienic.

Scheduled seat cover cleaning

Daily and weekly cleaning teams can keep on top of one-off spills and the occasional damage to seating and carpets. Keeping them thoroughly clean and hygienic takes planning.

Leave the cleaning schedule to us. We’ve done it for most of the UK fleet operators over the last ten years.

We’ll build in a seat cover cleaning routine that suits your depot operations. We’ll receive covers at Crewe, get them inspected, assessed for damage, dry cleaned, bagged and returned when you need them.

We take away the hassle. Your fleet has clean and hygienic seat covers that give passengers the confidence to travel, because all seats are a priority!

Watch the full video that showcases our seat cover cleaning process, here:

Get in touch to discuss options. Call 0844 800 8577 or email

The Covid-19 pandemic has focused minds and convinced everyone connected with the railways that passenger comfort and safety should be top priority. Carriage hygiene from TBM is driving change.

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Keeping train toilets operational is vital for passenger comfort. TBM provides the complete CET tank service to maintain availability, promote good hygiene and save longer-term repair and refit costs.

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How TBM has supported businesses over the last few months has changed rapidly. From trains, buses and lorries, we now help schools, offices and shops disinfect large areas using fogging technology.

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What a year 2020 has been, especially for train operating companies and their passengers. Almost zero service back in early April, a reduced schedule and then a return to action but with everyone wearing masks. Just don’t forget the toilet tanks!

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What a year it’s been! From Brexit to coronavirus, the rail industry has been tested to the max. One thing for sure, after 10 years we’re still here helping fleet operators deliver better services for passengers.

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In less than six months how we live, work and travel has changed beyond all recognition. As the UK prepares to restart the economy, what will the new rail hygiene normal look like?

Nobody could have predicted how the coronavirus pandemic would affect the world. As it quickly progressed from country to country, daily life was forced to close.In less than six months how we live, work and travel has changed beyond all recognition. As the UK prepares to restart the economy, what will the new rail hygiene normal look like?

Seeing the UK rail network reduce to a trickle of services impacted many areas of the economy, with major implications for the supply chain that usually keeps it stocked, serviced, and running efficiently.

The government acted and took control of the railways. As the numbers of travellers dropped, so too the number of trains running fell to a minimum.

For TBM, that has presented several opportunities. Busy fleets are often hard to access. They need to be out on the tracks – sometimes for up to 16 hours each day.

With carriages returned to depots, we have been able to deploy our skilled teams and various services.

Regular train toilet maintenance

When you think about trains, the first area that comes to mind when discussing cleanliness and hygiene is the toilet. Fleet operators deploy cleaning teams to keep facilities looking good, but how the systems work and stay operational often depends on the storage tanks.

CET tanks can easily become blocked. Passenger put excessive amounts of paper towels, nappies, clothing, and other items down toilets pans.

“Why?” is something we ask ourselves regularly when we retrieve strange things from the storage tanks during cleaning.

What lockdown has highlighted is the need to build CET tank cleaning and servicing into regular maintenance plans. This achieves several things:

* Deposits have less chance to accumulate. This means that pipes do not block as easily.

* The gases that can build up are kept to a minimum.

* There is less chance for germs to accumulate, so train staff and the public are kept safer.

Ultimately, well serviced tanks that are emptied and deep-cleaned more often are more reliable. That means they can remain open when the travelling passengers need them.

Carriage hygiene fittings

Something that has become part of everyday life since Covid-19 emerged is washing hands. Touching surfaces and then touching our faces is one of the ways that the virus spreads.

TBM partners Omnikote and Addmaster to create and supply carriage fittings with surfaces that include antimicrobial additives. That helps to stop the spread of germs.

Much of that work, such as installing new grab poles, will be done as carriages are refurbished.

Ahead of that, we have been working with other partners to create immediate solutions to help train operators give passengers safer travelling environments.

As experts in sanitising and disinfecting vehicles, we have extended our services to offer hand sanitising units than can been installed inside train carriages – ideally by the entry points.

These safe and robust units can be topped up with hand sanitiser to keep staff and passengers safer. It is just another way we can help to make journeys safer and more hygienic.

Seating, fogging and more…

We have always believed that delivering outstanding passenger comfort should be standard. The new “normal” will be vastly different from before, but TBM is positioned to support fleets with the services they need to deliver safer journeys.

Our seat cover cleaning operations have already gone up a gear, with new coatings and solutions available to create protective barriers on the fabrics. This keeps them free from staining and more hygienic.

To support existing cleaning teams, our mobile fogging machines can quickly disinfect large spaces so that on-board teams can concentrate on other activities and feel safe in their work.

TBM sanitising spray machine


We operate from our Crewe base or at fleet depots around the country.

Get in touch to find out more about TBM’s flexible and affordable solutions for fleets across the UK. Call us on 0844 800 8577 or email

The UK railways have been operating a reduced timetable, but vehicles still need to be maintained. In fact, TBM has been busier than ever with safe working practices to support key workers.

With so many aspects of working life have been affected in early 2020, and TBM has looked to new ways of protecting staff and customers with an enhanced range of passenger comfort services.

Making sure that TBM could support customers was high priority when news broke about the Covid-19 pandemic. However, protecting staff and facilities was equally important.

As soon as the coronavirus hit, we knew that protecting those around us was essential if we were to play a part in the UK supply chain, moving people and freight around the country.

Adapting to new ways of working

TBM has operated a flexible business for over a decade. While many tasks are performed at the Crewe HQ, we have partners, technicians and depot teams moving around the country every day.

To coordinate that we already have tracking systems and account management software in place to to be flexible, mobile and easily accessed by multiple authorised personnel. They need to do this wherever they are working.

For some of the TBM team it was a simple case of taking a laptop home. Like businesses everywhere, we listened to government advice from day one. Why clog the roads and risk spreading infection unnecessarily?

Our team already makes use of WhatsApp groups so they can stay in touch securely. We have also used Zoom, Skype and other video connectivity services. Whatever it takes to communicate effectively with staff and customers, we do it.

Hygiene begins at home (or the depot)

For TBM, that means getting the office, workshops and vehicles properly sanitised. Luckily, we’ve got sanitising solutions and wipes aplenty. We also have testing kits to see how clean our surfaces are.

We have kept the recommended two metres apart when unloading consignments of seat covers, cleaning CET tanks and getting the vans ready to visit fleet operators’ depots.

It has been a cracking team effort, communicating the latest news and advice, installing new hand sanitising points, distributing extra pairs of gloves, masks and any other PPE that helps us to continue supporting front line transport companies.

Because many of our vehicles have been out cleaning carriages, lorries and containers, to keep staff extra safe we have deployed our own sanitising regime.

If a van or low-loader has been out to a customer depot, on its return we clean it – inside and out. The fogging machine ensures that all surfaces are cleaned and disinfected. We use a solution that also creates a protective barrier, but to be doubly safe we are still performing the routine regularly.

What it means is staff can use the vehicles with confidence. They know that we have made every effort to remove germs and bacteria. They are safer, and so too are our customers when we visit their sites.

TBM has been tested to the max. Keeping our staff, the company vehicles and several storage areas clean and safe has been a significant challenge, but we’re on top of the hygiene so we can continue supporting customers who need our expertise.

Supporting UK key workers

Ultimately, it’s about being available and giving outstanding customer service to frontline people who have helped to keep Great Britain moving. We’re part of that keyworking collective, operating from the Crewe depot, at our homes and on the road to support fleets around the country.

Being able to cross over and help other areas of society has been a real bonus, including local businesses and several regional food distributors who needed driver cabs sanitising.

It’s been a hectic and stressful time for all, but very rewarding being part of the national effort.

Get in touch to find out more about TBM’s flexible and affordable solutions for fleets across the UK. Trains, trams, buses, lorries – we can help. Call us on 0844 800 8577 or email