Calling all vacuum cleaner salepeople. Transport for London (TfL) has just announced that it’s going to spring clean the entire Tube network; using vacuum cleaners. And magnets. OK. So the job is probably beyond your average Henry Hoover. It may even be too tall a task for a Dyson (even allowing for its revolutionary cyclonic separation technology). But the Mayor and his senior colleagues at TfL have announced that its time to give the Underground network a bit of a scrub.
Given how many people use it and its great age, it’s perhaps not surprising how grubby the network is. But the spring clean is long overdue nonetheless and their announcement will be warmly welcomed by the millions of commuters that use it every day – as well as the thousands of tourists who travel on it too.
The vacuum cleaners will be special ones that will hoover up all the dirt that has collected in the tracks. (We can’t imagine how often they’ll have to empty the bags but we’re guessing that the cleaning company will have thought of that).
And the magnets? Apparently, all that screeching when a train arrives are the metal wheels grinding on the metal tracks, which produces metal particles. The magnets will collect these particles which can then be – presumably – recycled into building more trains.
The spring clean will also help deprive the scores of rats and mice that inhabit the network and feed off all the food wrappings dropped by passengers. These unwelcome guests gnaw through cables and so cause disruptions to the network. Thanks to the introduction of the night service, however, commuters may have spotted fewer of them recently. According to an academic who has studied them, this is making them ‘sleep deprived’ and so driving them out of the network!