Sleeper toilets closed after cleaners use the wrong kind of bleach

30th of September 2019
Sleeper toilets closed after cleaners use the wrong kind of bleach

When cleaners used the wrong kind of detergent to clean the toilets on the Caledonian Sleeper train, the results were disastrous.

The caustic bleach used by the team burned right through the pipework, causing major plumbing problems and leaving many passengers without water in the en-suite toilets, basins and showers.

All 75 carriages in the fleet - which cost €169 million to build and which serves major London-Scotland routes - were affected by the error. The issue was also thought to have affected the sensors that monitor water levels, leading to toilets elsewhere in the train closing down.

The problem was discovered after politicians and other special guests boarded the inaugural service from Glasgow to London in April. But the cause - which led to major repairs - was only discovered later.

A firm acting for Spanish train manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles was thought to be responsible for the mistake.

Cleaning problems have been reported on Caledonian Sleeper trains ever since they entered service. The Scotsman newspaper has referred to "repeated cleaning failures" after passengers complained about the state of the onboard cabins and uncollected litter.

One passenger claimed that the bedclothes in his room had been straightened, but not changed after use by the previous guests. And other customers flagged up grubby toilets and carpets.

Graham Kelly, guest experience director of train operator Serco said: "We're really sorry the standards we set for room presentation were not met. I can reassure guests that beds are changed and rooms are cleaned each day."


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