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You are here: Home > Your journey > Station information > Train cleaning & refurbishment

Train cleaning & refurbishment

While you are sleeping

Did you know that while you are sleeping, a small army of cleaning staff are working on your train at our traincare depots for the following day? It might sound obvious that our trains need to be prepared before they go out into service, but what you may not know is what takes place and how much cleaning materials are needed to get the job done. Every night, over 1,000 carriages washed which equates to 386,900 per year. Also every night, the following amounts of materials are used:

  • 135 litres of exterior hand wash cleaner - that’s around 50,000 litres per year
  • Over 400 tissue packs - 160,000 per year
  • 7 miles of carpet are cleaned - 2,500 miles per year
  • 3.5 litres of chewing gum remover - 1,300 litres per year
  • 3 litres of graffiti remover - 1,150 litres per year
  • 30 litres of liquid soap - 11,000 litres per year
  • 30 litres of interior cleaner - 11,000 litres per year
  • 315 waste tanks emptied - 115,000 per year
  • 85,000 litres of waste emptied - 31,000,000 litres per year

We thought you’d like to see this all in action, so we’ve put together a 90 second video of our Cleaning Team at Littlehampton depot showing just what’s involved every night.

Meanwhile, at Southern's Traincare depot in Brighton, every night, our engineers work away on maintaining, repairing and cleaning trains before they re-enter service for the following morning's peak.

We invited ITV Meridian reporter Mike Pearse to come and see what's involved with the overnight regime. This is his report:


How to refurbish an entire carriage in around three minutes!

You will need Adobe Flash Player to view the video. 

The first of our fleet of Class 377 Electrostar trains was introduced onto the Southern network around 10 years ago. Since then, it has completed around a million miles, carrying commuters and leisure travellers to their destinations. That’s a lot of wear and tear and now our ‘new’ trains are starting to look a little tired in places.

To breathe new life in to these trains, we carried out a £9million programme of refurbishment to all 700 carriages in the fleet at the rate of four carriages a week. All of the work was done in-house at our Selhurst Depot to ensure that we got the best value for money and so that the trains weren't out of service for any longer than necessary. Not only were the interiors completely gutted, fixtures and fittings replaced or refurbished then put back, the exterior of the carriages were given a spruce-up by being deep-cleaned and repainted where needed, and at the same time, major exams (like an MOT) were carried out so repairs and maintenance to the running gear could take place, ensuring that the time the trains were in the depot was used to maximum effect. All 700 carriages have been now completely refurbished having done around a million miles each.

Enough new carpet was laid to stretch between Brighton and Gatwick Airport, enough Brush matting was laid to carpet the whole of the Victoria Station concourse, 12 miles of anti-graffiti materials were used, and 10,000 litres of paint were used.

We’ve put together a time-lapse video for you to enjoy which captures a day’s worth of work in three minutes. We hope you enjoy seeing just what was involved.