The Great Train Grubbery! Railway savaged for 'grubby carriages'

The Great Train Grubbery: Commuters’ fury at East Midlands Railways ‘filthy trains’ due to broken cleaning unit… as firm forks out £370,000 on bike sheds

  • EXCLUSIVE: Commuters complained at grime seen on trains running in Midlands
  • Railway firm admits it is trying to improve their washing machines’ performance  

It used to be the oft-mocked excuse for delays on ‘leaves on the line’ that would infuriate rail passengers the most.

But customers using the East Midlands Railway services between St Pancras and the rest of the country have found a new irritation.

EMR’s grime- incrusted carriages have become passengers’ new cause for concern.

It marks something of a low for a line that was once the domain of gleaming steam locomotives such as the now preserved ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ and ‘Royal Scot’.

And to add insult to injury the company is preparing to splash out £370,000 on bike sheds so commuters can cycle to the station. 

Speculation has been rife amongst commuters as to just what is causing the grime problem, as other train operators manage to turn out well presented pullers.

A St Pancras Express at Leicester, which has come from one of the affected Etches Park depot

Nottingham Eastcroft Light Maintenance Depot where some of the trains are washed to go

One said: ‘This is a common theme with East Midlands Railway.

‘You can stand at Sheffield Midland Station and watch all the EMR services coming from, London Liverpool, and Norwich, and all of the units and trains will be absolutely grubby on the outside.’

MailOnline can reveal the reason for the grubby trains is down to a washer at one depot no longer being up to the job.

The machines at Etches Park and Eastcroft depots mean the cleaning have to be done by hand in some cases.

A source said: ‘The washer is just not up to it really.

Train maintenance at Etches Park Depot, Derby, where the system will soon be upgraded

‘Units are ‘hand washed’ as and when – often once they become so grimy it affects visibility for guards dispatching.’

Last month EMR said it was going to invest more than £370,000 in cycle facilities on its network.

It said they would be included at Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Mark Lambert, Head of Infrastructure and Property at East Midlands Railway, said at the time: ‘Cycling to your nearest station to catch a train to work, school or for a leisure trip is a great way to keep healthy and reduce emissions.

‘This investment shows our ongoing commitment to improving facilities for our regional customers and we hope their installation will encourage more people to choose sustainable travel as part of their everyday journey.’     

The dirt trains are not the first time passengers on the route have had to contend with less than first class service.

In October 2020 passengers on a Leicester to St Pancras service were served chlorine instead of coffee, with five passengers requiring medical assistance once the train reached London.

An East Midlands Railway spokesperson said: ‘In addition to increased hand-cleaning, we are exploring ways to improve the performance of our current automated carriage washer systems.

‘As part of the depot upgrades for the arrival of our modern Aurora fleet, these washers will eventually be replaced by new equipment and in the meantime will also be used to clean our current fleet.’

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