TBM van with CET tanks, toilets, seats

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 enquiries@tbmrail.com