Nigel Moore, General Manager of Transport Operations at Leadec, looks at the importance of workflow planning to ensure effective cleans every time.

Few sectors are as time critical or operate to such tight turnarounds as the public transport industry. Indeed, a journey delay of even a few minutes can cause misery for commuters. While operators recognise the importance of giving rolling stock a thorough clean at the end of a day’s worth of journeys, this has to fit in with a wider programme of maintenance for the vehicle.

That’s why, at Leadec, we’ve developed a pioneering workflow approach to vehicle cleaning. Recognising that the businesses we work with are operating to incredibly tight deadlines, our workflow process provides cleaning teams with a timed, step-by-step guide to delivering a thorough, time-efficient clean.

Our workflow approach has been honed through our experience working with transport operating companies (TOCs) on some of the UK’s most heavily used routes. In rail, for example, we supply services to several TOCs running services on the West Coast mainline – one of the country’s most important railway routes, connecting London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. With such heavy footfall on trains on this line, and as little as just half an hour to get the passenger unit ready, a robust cleaning regime is essential.

We provide our clients with a three- step bespoke cleaning process. This incorporates an overnight heavy clean, delivered when the train is empty of passengers at terminus; a thorough but quicker clean when a train is at a terminating station before it makes its return journey; and an active clean, where members of our cleaning team travel with the vehicle to give it a surface clean while it’s in active service.

While that takes care of the train’s carriage cleanliness, it’s also important to consider the train’s


external appearance. For the principle West Coast mainline TOC, we deliver a thorough, manual wash to the exterior of one full train set every day. At more than 250m in length, we carry out the wash of the train by hand. This is a safety-critical arena, so we have to follow procedure closely in order to guarantee a safe working environment for members of our team.

ON THE BUSES Experience gleaned from using our workflow process with train operators has helped us deliver a quality service to bus companies in some of the UK’s most densely-populated urban areas. Looking after more than 1,500 units nationwide, of which a significant proportion traverses some of London’s busiest routes, we’ve adapted our workflow plan to meet the specific needs of bus operators.

Because most buses are continually in service from first thing in the morning until after midnight, especially in urban areas, it’s traditionally harder to keep a unit clean. We’re working to deadlines which are sometimes even tighter than those in rail, and with a larger volume of vehicles, so a workflow plan reflective of this is absolutely crucial.

We’ve pioneered a system which gets buses ‘road ready’ in just nine minutes. As soon as the vehicle arrives back at the depot, it is parked in a ‘safe zone’ where members of the team board to clean the interior and collect waste and debris accrued from the previous journeys. The bus is then refuelled, taken through a wash and parked ready for its next round of trips.

This is a surface clean designed to get the bus passenger-ready, and is complemented by a more in-depth clean once a week. In this instance, we typically have more room for flexibility, as this deep clean is carried out when the bus is not in service.

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