The country might be in lockdown, but as essential workers our teams are still busy keeping the railway running.
Over the next few weeks, we will be shining the spotlight on our colleagues with a ‘Day in the Life’ series. This week, the spotlight lands on our fleet cleaner, Anthony.
Anthony joined our railway 19 years ago, and works as part of our fleet presentation team at our Cardiff Canton Depot. He and the team work day and night to ensure our trains come back into service looking the best they can be, and have been working round the clock to enhance our cleaning regime since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Antony has kindly given us an insight into what his role involves on a day to day basis...
“A typical day for the fleet presentation staff at Canton starts much like many other work place; with a cup of tea and a catch up with colleagues about their time away from the job”
“I normally get in about 6.30pm and we can work to anywhere between 4.30am and 6.30am, usually three days on, two days off.
“Once our Standard PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has been donned, including Hi-Vis clothing, safety shoes and protective glasses, that is when you look at the list of duties for that evening and check-in with colleagues who started earlier that day. This is to check what trains currently in the depot have already been cleaned.
“We work as a small team of 5 and on a typical night we can get through 35 to 40 two-carriage trains.
We rotate the different cleaning roles so that it doesn’t get too repetitive. The main jobs include cleaning the windows, cleaning the inside of the carriages and there is usually one person dedicated to cleaning the toilets.
“Many activities, such as washing windows and floors need gloves but there are jobs which require use of more corrosive materials and solvents, and for those we need to wear protective gloves, protective sleeves and a full-face visor.
“This job not only improves the appearance of the train for our customers, it also aids the vision of the driver and ensures that our front facing cameras can record the journey.
Transport for Wales recently invested in Cab based cameras to help with track maintenance, for more information on this technology click here.
“Cleaning the toilets on the trains has, of late, started to get more complicated with many different dispensers being fitted and containers for hand soap needing replenishing, once you have the right keys and equipment it becomes a bit easier. Before Covid-19, there was the dreaded Friday and Saturday night. All the work at these times was harder and trains dirtier, particularly after big international sporting events. It’s not always pleasant but we’ve all got PPE so we just get on with the job.
“It’s been estimated by staff that we can walk up to seven miles in an evening shift. We do stop for breaks, have a cup of tea and of course, a meal break.
“I love the difference we can make, particularly when a train comes in after travelling hundreds of miles picking up salt in the air and brake dust, but you can get it looking really good again with a bit of hard work.
The worst things we’ve come across are when customers change a baby at their seat and leave the nappy on the heater underneath. It’s pretty unpleasant and I’d just urge people to think of the next customer to sit there after them. You can get graffiti too and it can take a bit of time to get off so that can be frustrating. But to me, it is the ideal job as you can really make a difference and the night shifts don’t bother me.
I get the same satisfaction from my time spent with the Cardiff Rivers Group who are a group of award-winning volunteers that clean waterways in and around our capital.
I volunteered with them nine years ago and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of their work, not just in Cardiff but all across south Wales. This involves, much like my work, lots of teamwork. My colleagues call it a ‘bus man’s holiday’ but I enjoy it.”
If you’re interested in a career with us, visit our recruitment site for all the current vacancies.