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Insanity, cleaning and the ATOC report

Sir, Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. After analysing the findings of the most recent National Rail Passenger Surveys (NRPS), I worry that a similar condition has taken hold of train operating companies in the UK.

By Richard Havon, rail sales manager, Arrow Solutions

The unchanging results of these surveys reflect a level of complacency, even when it comes to easy wins like train presentation. Passengers make clear that train cleanliness can make or break a journey, so why is it so low on the priority list of train operating companies?

The latest report showed a three point decline in the overall satisfaction with train upkeep and repair, as well as a two point decline in passenger satisfaction when it comes to train cleanliness.

On average, more than 26 per cent of passengers are unhappy with the cleanliness of trains and the number goes up to around 40 per cent on certain routes. Out of the 23 train operating companies in the UK, only one has improved its cleanliness rating over the last year, four are in decline, while the others are stagnant.

Whether the problem is breaking down limescale, keeping windows clean, protecting paintwork or something else, a suitable cleaning chemical exists if you just take the time to look for it.

To help companies operating trains leap their cleaning hurdles, Arrow Solutions is launching a challenge. We’d like to invite train operators and presentation managers to bring us their toughest cleaning problem and we will offer them an alternative solution. Challenges can be sent to