Cleanliness at the forefront as Aurora interiors are designed to be easy to clean

Monday, 19 February 2024

  • Easy to clean touchpoints
  • Fewer gaps and ledges that collect dirt
  • Hard-wearing and easy to clean materials

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has been working closely with specialist designers to make sure the interiors of its new Aurora fleet can be kept as clean as possible.

Working with Derby-based designers DGDESIGN, EMR has paid particular attention to the issue of cleanliness when finalising materials and designs for the interiors of its new bi-mode Aurora fleet coming soon.

Ensuring public areas are clean has never been more important and issues such as making sure material choices and regular touchpoints are easy to clean have been closely considered and scrutinised. This includes ensuring there are minimal gaps or ledges in the carriage where dust or dirt can build up. Longevity has also been thought about and the team has gone to great lengths to make sure hard-wearing surfaces were also included in the final design choices – perfect for keeping the interiors fresh looking for years to come.

Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains at East Midlands Railway, said cleanliness had been an mini-obsession of the team designing the new trains – even before the pandemic struck.

She said: “Customers deserve to travel in the cleanest possible environment and of course when everything feels calm and clean people find it easier to relax. Keeping trains clean is a challenge but without doubt design can play a massive part. That is why right at the start of this project, cleanliness was a key priority for us and the team at DGDESIGN. Since then the issue has become even more important to our customers and we have met that challenge using great materials and clever design.

“We are confident that our new Aurora fleet interiors will be easy to clean and maintain, and also long lasting – which is great news for customers who will be travelling on these brand new trains for many years.”

Andy Sykes, Senior Designer at DGDESIGN, said: “One of our guiding principles in this project has been to ‘Do the Basics Beautifully’ - that may sound simple, but in reality even brand new trains often fall short of this ambition, especially when it comes to cleaning. We continually learn from existing interiors, identify areas that are difficult to clean, places which allow dirt to build-up, and focus on designing those out.

“This has included more visible decisions, such as developing colours and materials which are hard-wearing, but a lot of effort has gone into finessing the very smallest details. Throughout the train we have designed-out tight corners, small gaps and ledges which can be tough or time-consuming to clean; details which the passenger may never notice if well-executed.

“Consider the army of night-time cleaners and maintainers working around the clock to deliver trains into service; when the train is fundamentally easy to clean, they are able to focus on the areas that matter most to the passenger. To ensure EMR can continue to deliver day-one cleanliness through the life of the train, every detail matters.”

EMR's new Intercity fleet, which will be able to run on electricity and diesel, will be built by Hitachi Rail in County Durham and financed by Rock Rail East Midlands. Aurora will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors. The trains will also include features that passengers have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free WiFi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.