Virgin Trains is launching a campaign to ask people to stop flushing strange things down their train toilets. It’s not a silly issue, as around four of their 484 train toilets are taken out of service each day as a result of “inappropriate use”.
Anyone busting to use the loo (or suffering travel sickness on a Pendolino) isn’t going to appreciate a toilet being out of action on a long train journey.
According to Virgin Trains, toilet blockages on its fleet currently equate to over 18,000 lost toilet hours per year, and a repair bill in excess of £182,000.
They’ve found a ladies bra flushed down the loo, glasses, wedding rings, babies nappies, and — presumably after a bad match — a Manchester United scarf.
By far the biggest culprit however is the ‘wet wipe’, accounting for over 90% of blockages. Even wipes labelled as ‘flushable’ can lead to problems, the woven material clogging the internal pipes leading to the onboard effluent tanks.
“It did make us smile when we found the bra as it’s not something you would expect to find,” explained Michael Jacks, Head of Fleet and Engineering at Virgin Trains. “
“But it does highlight a very serious issue, and one that greatly impacts on our customers. Bins are provided, and we would remind our customers to follow the 3Ps of flushing. Only pee, poo and paper should be flushed down any toilet.”
(V for vomit is presumably also allowed)
Talking toilets, along with tongue in cheek signage, have been used onboard Virgin Trains to promote responsible toilet use.