TBM Rail CET tanks repairs for fleet operators

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 enquiries@tbmrail.com