Train Washing

Cleaning the exteriors of heavy vehicles, trucks, buses and trains is an area of John Bennett has a special interest for Tecnicorp and John Bennett personally. For 10 years he was Managing Director of Smith Bros & Webb Limited (SBW), a world leader in heavy vehicle washing systems under the Britannia brand. Uniquely, SBW specialised in systems for truck, bus and train washing which they designed and manufactured in-house, and achieved market leader status for a number of products. They installed and maintained their automatic vehicle washing systems, globally; Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Egypt, Portugal, Dubai, Turkey to name a few destinations. Turnover of the business doubled during this period. John’s knowledge of this subject and the supply of equipment in the UK and around the world, is unrivalled He consults on all aspects; from their design through to their applications and their supply to workshops and depots around the world.

Train Portugal2dpix


Early train wash systems, SBW supplied it first washer in the early 1920’s, were designated as Carriage Wash Machines (CWM) as they only cleaned the sides of the carriages while the train was driven through the wash area. They were also total loss water systems with none of the spent water being recycled. These installations were predominantly main line systems and a significant number used acidic detergents to remove the ferrous deposits which arose mainly from the braking systems.

In more recent times, the rail industry, around the world has developed significantly both in heavy rail intercity systems and in light rail or metro systems. These more modern facilities demand a more sophisticated offering from their train washing systems. Environmental considerations are also much more to the fore. In consequence, a train wash plant supplier must be able to offer systems that will clean the complete train, including the power units, automatically cater for varied train profiles, different train set lengths and wash programs. They must also be capable of incorporating water treatment and recycling. Of course, the system must include the necessary safety features common to all equipment found operating in the rail industry. Alternatives to the use of acidic detergents and other aggressive chemicals are more desirable to modern railway systems.

Train KCR HTL Front Cab Washing 4

To achieve an effective wash some of the basic design criteria have remained constant. The brushes should reflect the profile of the train and be capable of exerting constant pressure and contact against the surfaces. Alternatively, some wash regimes from the past have been found wanting.

 The following articles papers written by John Bennett are available on request:-

  •  The reduction in the need for Acid Washing in Modern Railway Systems.
  • Brushes Versus Flails
  • The correct application of the Scientifics On Board Panel Test (SOAP Test)

Train Docklands LR Maint #2

Tecnicorp under the personal direction of John Bennett can provide clients in the UK and overseas with input into designing and sourcing the most effective wash plant for the particular application.

See next page for Truck & Bus Washing.

Tel. +44 (0)7561 599351
Email. [email protected]


The Garden Office, 52 Castle Road,
Cookley, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 3TE

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