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been on the road in winter, peering through a dirty windscreen because you've either forgotten to top up the wash or the fl uid has frozen? It's a common occurrence.

Regular screen washes for both cars and trains only work down to about -4°C. For Britain, this is obviously suitable for most winter days, but it is essential that TOCs are aware of product limitations in case of another Met Offi ce record breaker.

Furthermore, TOCs should always check the fi ne print on products claiming to be winter grade. A routine British winter’s day is unlikely to drop lower than -4°C, but when has the great British weather ever been predictable? It is therefore imperative that a concentrated winter grade screen wash is available to hand when temperatures plummet.

The word 'concentrated' is very important. If you dilute a winter grade screen wash, you'll raise its freezing point. This sounds obvious to a chemist, but we've seen this issue countless times.

A true winter grade screen wash will work down to temperatures of -20°C in its concentrated form, ensuring that even in the record breaking winter of 2010, windscreens would be clean and wash would still be in a liquid form; even if your cuppa wasn't.

De-icer There are many ways in which to de-ice a car. De-icing a train is a little trickier, as you might expect.

The de-icers that you see appearing in supermarkets and petrol stations around late August mark the end of what is normally a disappointing summer in the UK. They also generally differ, sometimes quite massively, from product to product. A de-icer’s lowest working temperature can range from -5°C to -35°C.

In the bitterly cold winter of 2010, a variety of these were the kinds of de-icers that were used on cars and trains – and some of them inevitably

Having the right tools in the locker is absolutely essential to help combat whatever the weather throws at you.

froze solid on whatever they were sprayed on. It is important that TOCs fi rstly know the specs of the products they use and secondly only use industrial de-icers that work in severely cold temperatures to avoid delays when preparing trains before use in winter.

Here at Arrow Solutions, we developed a Polar De-icer that works down to temperatures of -20°C. This ensures that the de-icer won't refreeze when it comes into contact with ice and frost on windscreens, locks and bolts. Short of a nuclear winter in Britain, TOCs should never be caught out when the mercury drops.

But functionality isn’t the only issue; safety is also a crucial consideration when working on or around trains. De-icing them is no different. The reach on a standard de-icer spray is minimal, meaning that if you were going to de-frost a train windscreen with one, you'd have to step off the platform to go round to the other side. This action increases the risk of potential injury to an employee. A benefi t of using Arrow Solutions’ Polar De-icer is its powerful jet action, which allows a train’s entire windscreen to be reached from the platform.

One for the road One fi nal tip; the next time you go to a train station car park, have a look at the state of the tarmac. The chances are it will be feeling pretty sorry for itself. This is because, when winter comes around and the ground becomes slippery, rock salt

is thrown down to combat the ice. Although TOCs aren't particularly worried by the state of the station car parks – they’re often the council's responsibility – they are concerned when the rock salt is walked from the outside onto their trains.

As well as eroding concrete and steel, rock salt is also very good at staining and rotting carpets when brought in on passengers’ feet. Once stained, no amount of cleaning can get the marks out and the carpets are left looking unsightly.

In the interest of public safety, defrosting products need to be used on platforms to negate potential slipping hazards. Alternatives to rock salt should be used on platforms and car parks to protect infrastructure and trains alike. Arrow Solutions' Thaw works down to temperatures of -7°C. It won't erode platforms and most importantly from a TOC's point of view, it won't rot or stain carpets.

Cold hard facts With any luck we won't get another winter like that of 2010 in the UK anytime soon. But here at Arrow Solutions we believe it is best to be prepared for whatever winter may bring.

That's why our winter grade products are specifi cally designed to work even in extreme subzero environments. For train operating companies it is imperative that preparation and planning are done before the temperatures start to drop, in order to save on both time and money in the long run. The true cost for train operating companies is in struggling to cope with winter conditions through the use of substandard products. Failing to switch to genuine winter grade chemicals when temperatures reach sub-zero levels could risk leaving customers in the cold.


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