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

Hygiene is essential on public transport and being able to keep vehicles in use is increasingly important. TBM’s one-stop mobile sanitising units keep staff and passengers safe.

TBM’s mobile “fogging” machines spray an even layer of sanitising mist over all surfaces in enclosed spaces. This is perfect for driver cabs, passenger carriages, buses, trams and trailers.

Watch the video to see how efficiently our skilled operatives dispense the sanitiser.

Our QFD solution kills up to 99.9999% of germs within minutes in dirty conditions, meaning that surfaces are cleaned and disinfected in one step. The product dries quickly and work areas are ready for use by employees and staff.

TBM also offers BarrierTech, a solution that creates a protective barrier that can keep surfaces germ-free for up to four weeks.
Contact us for further details: 0844 800 8577 or email

TBM Rail has extended its hygiene and sanitising services to help businesses tackle ongoing deep-clean challenges caused by the Corona Virus.

As experienced passenger comfort specialists, TBM is positioned to support trains, lorry fleets, offices, schools, care homes and factories with machinery and personnel to disinfect surfaces to combat microbes, viruses and bacteria.

Cleaning seating, washroom facilities and storage tanks are core services offered to transport fleet operators across the UK, including many train and bus companies.

Sanitising solution for transport operators

Recently, TBM has extended these services to include a “fogging” machine that sprays a sanitising mist onto all surfaces within passenger carriages and driver cabs.

The solution kills up to 99.9999% of germs within minutes in dirty conditions, meaning that the surface is cleaned and disinfected in one step. The product dries within a few hours and work areas are ready for use (TBM also offers solutions that can create a protective barrier. Contact us for further details).

TBM’s cleaning team recently supported the Boughey Distribution lorry fleet. The Cheshire-based firm is the UK’s leading ambient grocery distribution and storage specialist.


With a growing fleet of wagons, the company was keen to keep their drivers and customers as safe and hygienic as possible. Over one weekend, TBM sanitised 120 of their lorry tractor units.

Neil Smith, TBM Director, is keen to utilise the firm’s equipment and skills to support local organisations.

He said: “Like most businesses we have been forced to adapt and react quickly to the fast-changing Corona Virus situation.

“We complete daily cleaning and servicing contracts at Crewe. We also take our machinery to transport and maintenance depots all over the UK.

“Our employees live locally, their families work and shop locally, and their children use local facilities.

“With our expertise it makes sense that we make use of our resources to help companies like Boughey Distribution get their lorries, buildings and facilities clean, hygienic and back up and running as quickly as possible.

“More than most, they are helping to keep the UK’s food supply chain moving.”

A mobile sanitising team

Neil Trotter, Boughey Distribution’s Transport Operations Director, said: “We are very fortunate to be able to call on TBM for its specialist cleaning services for our vehicles.

“In these unprecedented circumstances, it’s imperative that we keep our drivers completely safe and our fleet on-the-road so that we can continue to deliver food around the country.

“TBM is providing a proven and efficient sanitising service and it’s a real bonus that we have its team of professionals on our doorstep.”

The sanitising application is suitable for deployment in any areas that need to fight and prevent pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds and algae.

TBM is a fully approved supplier to the rail industry with depot inductions already in place. The skilled teams can react quickly and have extensive experience dealing with a wide range of deep-clean situations.

For further information about TBM’s services please call 0844 800 8577 or email

Lights, camera, action… it was like Saturday night at the movies when the TBM Rail crew enjoyed a session filming passenger comfort services that keep train facilities looking good and working efficiently.

TBM regularly shouts about the services we offer on social media. We also put up hundreds of photos that showcase our work.

A picture tells a thousand words, and we’ve managed to capture images that show the dedication and skill that goes into what we offer the railway industry.

We wanted to do more. Although we’ve posted short film clips taken on mobile phones, we never felt that they did us justice. It was time to raise our game. It was time to bring in the professionals.

Now there is no limit to our talents, including coating grab poles, installing door sensor technology and even completing hygiene tests.

However, we needed to focus. Train toilets and seating it was. Two videos that showed exactly what we offer the fleet operators.

Where there’s muck!

First up was a look at how we service and clean toilet tanks.

The cameraman’s face was a picture. We kick-started the day’s filming at the start of a tank overhaul. That means degreasing and blasting surface dirt clear.

Then you open the can, so to speak. Emptying tanks is one thing, but that doesn’t address the unpleasant build-ups that not only cause systems to give off unpleasant odours, they also block pipes and shut down toilets.  

So, in he went, looking to capture that perfect internal footage that highlighted how grim it was inside a tank that needed a good clean.

There was gagging, wrenching, but he held it together. He stepped back as we started to chuckle. We’ve been there thousands of times and the stink that comes out of those tanks is unbearable. That’s why we deep clean them to keep them available and working when passengers need them.

Next up was the acid flush. We use rail-approved solutions, but they need to be handled with care. The camera zoomed in from a safe distance and let our team work away with suitable goggles and gloves in place.

Some of the real magic happens when the toilet systems are checked, valves and seals replaced, and everything fully tested. The tank even gets a coat of paint, so it’s returned looking like new.

It was fascinating to watch it all from the background, almost through the lens to see how others might see our work.  


Dealing with carriage seating is much more straightforward than train toilets. They’re dirty, for sure, but it’s a different kind of muck and grime.

We receive covers from all over the rail network, sent from depots up and down the country. Cleaning them in situ doesn’t properly remove the dirt and it often pushes particles deep into the fabric and foam. Worse still, you don’t get rid of the germs.

Filming our seat cover cleaning processes gave the cameraman plenty of ideas, angles and cracking close-ups.

There’s the initial airline blast to remove much of the dust and larger particles. The covers are checked for any obvious stains that need to be cleaned by hand. Then they are put through are industrial dry-cleaning machines. They come out smelling lovely!

At this point we can add the fantastic Fiber ProTector solution to prevent spills soaking into fabrics, and that provided some great spill tests on some of the seats we have mocked up in the workshop.

Otherwise, the final stages of work were captured on film as the covers are bagged and made ready for quick return to the depot that need them. Getting trains back in service is always a priority.

There were some gaffs, maybe some decent outtakes we can use in future, but the team at TBM became movie stars for the day.  

If we’d had a red carpet ready for the film launch it would almost certainly have been coated with Fiber ProTector to avoid unsightly stains from the TBM workshop.

Instead, get the popcorn out, sit back and enjoy short clips that show how we tackle train toilets and seat covers for franchise operators across the country.  

Contact TBM Rail

Being film stars is just a sideline. Our main business is offering the transport sector a range of cleaning, overhaul, spares management and consultancy services to UK train operators across the network.

We do this from our fully equipped Cheshire base, or with our extensive range of specialist mobile units that visit client depots all over the UK.

Get in touch to find out more. Call 0844 800 8577 or email

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