False teeth, walking sticks and crutches.
These are just some of the things found by Transport for Wales’ cleaners up at Holyhead depot as they go through the train to ensure everything is spick and span for customers.
With October 18 marking National Thank Your Cleaner day, we took caught up with our team in the north to find out more about their work.
The aptly named Mark Hornby is Cleaning Area Manager for Transport for Wales and he said the team typically clean around 30 carriages over night inside and out while also carrying out onboard cleaning during the day up to Bangor and Llandudno Junction.
He said: “We strive to achieve high standards and the team leaders and myself consistently push for higher standards from our teams.
“Being an end of the line station, and the nearest onboard cleaning service being over 90 minutes away, we have to ensure all units arriving in to Holyhead during the day receives a good clean. We have had to adapt our approach including an increase to onboards to Bangor in order to ensure we meet standards requirements.
“We tend to not get drawn in to criticism or praise, the team understand their roles and expectations and no matter which day of the week it is, we strive to achieve a consistency in our service delivery.”
The small Holyhead team will also clean the Avanti trains which are based out of there serving the London routes.
The fleet that starts at Holyhead each morning travel hundreds of miles and carry thousands of customers each day.
Event days can be a particular challenge with Chester Races regularly drawing high crowds, while Christmas is also a very busy period for the cleaners.
Since becoming Transport for Wales five years ago, the cleaning teams have moved “in house” as part of the wider onboard team and that seems to really be paying dividends.
“Our conductor colleagues always remind customers to take rubbish with them and we have seen an increase in customers following this instruction since we became all part of the onboard team,” added Mark.
“We’re definitely seeing less plastic in our bins than there used to be which is great but we do find some quite unusual items like crutches, walking sticks and even false teeth from time to time!”
Transport for Wales employs more than 100 cleaners at key locations around the network including Carmarthen, Cardiff, Swansea, Shrewsbury, Machynlleth, Barry, Chester, Manchester and Holyhead.
In addition to these, there are also fleet carriage cleaning operatives at depots in Canton, Treherbert, Rhymney and Machynlleth and regional Station Environmental Operatives.
Between them they ensure trains, stations, mess rooms and offices are kept as clean as possible.
Cleaning Operations Manager Wendy Jones said, “Our cleaning teams really do do a fantastic job.
“Working day and night they ensure our customers and staff are able to travel and work in as clean an environment as possible.