Virgin Trains has revealed a list of items flushed down its onboard toilets, which it says costs the operator over £180,000 in annual repair bills.
The list ranges from the usual suspects of wet wipes and nappies to the somewhat more bizarre, including glasses, wedding rings, a lady’s bra and a Manchester United scarf (it’s unclear whether this was before or after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as caretaker manager).
Virgin said that on average around four toilets are taken out of service each day as a result of “inapproporiate use”, equating to over 18,000 lost toilet hours and a repair bill of over £182,000 per year.
Over 90 per cent of blockages are caused by wet wipes being flushed, and the operator is urging customers to follow the “3Ps of flushing”.
Virgin also uses humorous onboard messaging to try to encourage passengers to think before flushing inappropriate items, including this printed above the toilet seat:
“Please don’t flush nappies, sanitary towels, paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish down this toilet.”
There are over 480 toilets in service on Virgin trains each day, with each one being flushed eight times per hour on average.
Commenting on the issue Michael Jacks, Head of Fleet and Engineering at Virgin Trains, said:
“It did make us smile when we found the bra as it’s not something you would expect to find.
“But it does highlight a very serious issue, and one that greatly impacts on our customers. Bins are provided, and we would remind our customers to follow the 3Ps of flushing. Only pee, poo and paper should be flushed down any toilet.”