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Bombardier teams up with Arrow to trial new cleaning solution for train operator CrossCountry

Trials of a new deep cleaning process for trains has proved a resounding success at Bombardier Transportation’s Central Rivers depot in the Midlands.

The company has joined forces with cleaning chemical manufacturer Arrow Solutions to introduce a new product to its operations and has just completed the first deep clean of the entire fleet of CrossCountry Voyager trains.

This has involved 57 trains, made up of 4 and 5 carriages each, being subjected to a 20-hour exterior bodyside clean with Thickened Oxalwash, which removes iron and rust deposits that aren’t normally eliminated with daily cleaning solutions.

The change has resulted in significantly cleaner trains, helping improve the passenger experience and boost the CrossCountry brand in the process.

“I believe the results speak for themselves - you only have to see the difference in the train after we have applied Thickened Oxalwash,” explained Colin Dunn, Train Presentation Manager at Bombardier Central Rivers.

“It not only gives the train a much cleaner finish, but has also brought hard to clean areas back to a much more acceptable appearance. This includes the door buttons, steps, sole bar and vestibule ends… these are notoriously difficult to clean, but this Arrow product offers the solution.”

He concluded: “The staff are proud of the finish they have achieved and we can monitor how long the train maintains its appearance. Again, we can see the improvements have been significant and they are easier to reclean after this process.”

Arrow Solutions, which has been supplying products to the rail sector for more than 25 years, first started discussions with Bombardier about an advanced exterior cleaner in 2013, following the successful introduction of Ecowash Autoshine in their wash plant.

There was a requirement from CrossCountry to look at an alternative deep clean solution so the Leicestershire-based cleaning and maintenance specialist spent a lot of time understanding the challenges faced by Bombardier and the impact these had on the final ‘look’ of the fleet.

Consultative meetings with a host of key stakeholders followed, including facility managers, Health & Safety officers, production personnel and senior representatives from the train operator.

James Lomas, Head of Sales - Industrial for Arrow Solutions, picked up the story: “We had to make sure all parties were convinced that our solution would be effective, safe to use and safe to dispose of so that it wouldn’t damage rolling stock or infrastructure at Central Rivers.

“It was agreed that we would use Thickened Oxalwash to effectively remove rust marks and iron residues, as well as general oil, grease and dirt. The trial would see all 57 trains in the CrossCountry fleet be deep cleaned after a 90-day operational period and then maintained daily by using Ecowash Autoshine to prevent heavy build-up of traffic film and provide a streak-free finish.”

He continued: “The overwhelming response has been positive in terms of operational performance and the enhanced appearance of the trains.”

Jon Williams, Fleet & Contract Manager (Voyagers) for CrossCountry, added his support:

“External cleanliness of the train is a critical aspect of creating a positive first impression for our customers. The Oxalwash programme has lifted the overall presentation of the Voyager fleet with significant improvement in the appearance of harder to clean areas and removal of ingrained dirt along the bodyside”.

Arrow Solutions, which employs over 200 people at its state-of-the-art manufacturing site in Moira, is looking to double sales in the rail sector over the next twelve months after securing work with Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and OEMs.

In addition to increased demand for Oxalwash and Ecowash Autoshine, the company has also seen sales rise for Lotoxane®, Arrow’s market leading safe solvent degreaser. This is being driven by a desire from rail businesses to move away from the use of hazardous materials in their engineering operations.

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