How eight Mumbai teenagers created a new approach to train cleaning

Mumbai Train Line
Thanks to eight teenagers, the daily commute to Mumbai could be cleaner. Image by Albert Bonjoch (via Shutterstock).

It’s a late Saturday afternoon aboard the Liverpool Lime Street train to Wigan North Western. After its return journey, the train’s next stop will be Allerton depot, where it will be cleaned for the next shift. It is strewn with litter from doorway to fold-up table. With bits of newspaper and drinks cans sharing the third carriage with St. Helens Central bound passengers. These days could be over, thanks to eight Mumbai teenagers who have created a novel approach to train cleaning.

Their invention hasn’t only impressed engineers; it has been seen by India’s railway minister, Suresh Prabhu. The teenagers, aged 12 to 14 years old, have invented a system where rubbish can be deposited through a vent. Their system has split vents in each compartment of the coach. With a foot pedal, passengers can deposit their waste into the vents. Then the refuse would be sucked up by a system similar to a vacuum cleaner. Having attracted the interest of India’s railway minister, it aims to make train cleaning easier.

The rubbish is sucked in with the vacuum system, where it is collected in waste chambers underneath the coach. Each coach will have three waste collection chambers. The students estimated that each passenger generates five litres of waste. For example, a British Rail Mark III coach (74 standard class seats) would potentially carry 370 litres of waste – slightly more than a small wheelie bin.

In the UK, our trains tend to have litter bins beside the doors. Our use of saloon style carriages rather than compartments could make installation difficult. Installing a similar system where most carriages have airline seating would make for tighter legroom (which is no good for tall passengers). On a diesel multiple unit (such as those seen on the Wigan Wallgate to Southport route) this would mean less space for its underfloor engines.
Clean Hire, 22 February 2017.

Has a Truro doctor designed the world’s smallest bagless vacuum cleaner?

Smallest vacuum cleaner image

Could a Truro doctor be the first person in the Guinness Book of Records to hold the record for having the world’s smallest vacuum cleaner?  For many people, a vacuum cleaner is small enough to manoeuvre around the house.  Our industrial vacuum cleaners can be used in warehouses and on airport terminals.  According to the Plymouth Herald, Doctor Toby Bateson may have set a precedent.

A Dyson clone for a dolls house?

Toby’s cleaner is 2.8 cm tall, about the same size as an eraser.  Owing to its small size, you handle what is probably the world’s smallest vacuum cleaner in the same way as a rubber.  You hold onto the cylindrical cleaner with your fingertips and place it on the area you wish to clean.  This video clip shows you how it picks up dust.

For the time being, it has limited uses.  Mr. Bateson is seen using the vacuum cleaner to pick up sawdust.  It could be a good tool for picking up bits of pencil erasers.  There is potential for his design for add-ons.  A dainty little brush attachment and a slim extension hose could be good.  The accessory pack, if one was to be considered, would take up more room than its cylindrical section.

Instead of being a quirky desktop toy, there is potential for serious uses.  The world’s smallest vacuum cleaner could be used for blowing dust off electronic components.  As to whether Mr. Bateson has developed a Dyson clone for a dolls house, he is almost there.  Except, dolls houses tend to be the preserve of hobbyists with cash to burn rather than as a young child’s plaything.

Would we buy one?

Should Dr. Bateson’s miniature marvel hit the shelves, we think it could be a good stocking filler.  We hope he succeeds.

Clean Hire, 05 December 2016.

How a central vacuum cleaner, underneath the former West Side Line in New York City aims to keep the city’s much-loved elevated park in tip-top condition.

High Line Corridor NYC image

A revolutionary system of pneumatic tubes is set to improve the cleanliness of one of New York City’s most popular open spaces. Pneumatic tubes, akin to a giant central vacuum cleaner, will be used to keep the High Line linear park clean. It is part of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in NYC by 80%, by 2050.

All of the tubes will be placed underneath the park’s elevated walkway, which is 1.5 mile in length from The West Village to 34th Street. The city’s proposed network of tubes is inspired by a similar system on Roosevelt Island and is championed by ClosedLoops, who have overseen the project’s development since 2010.

At pedestrian level, there will be a trio of bins every few yards. One bin will be used for the disposal of food waste (half-eaten burgers and sandwiches) with a second one for recyclable refuse, and a third one for non-recyclable rubbish. These will be connected to a pneumatic tube. There will be a separate pneumatic tube for restaurant food waste and a branch from Chelsea Market.

Like an enormous central vacuum cleaner, the allegorical vacuum bags will be the system’s anaerobic digestion facilities. The waste is containerised and sent by rail for recycling. Its railhead is a few yards from the northern end of High Line park (which is the junction of 34th Street and 12th Avenue).

As part of its environmental strategy, the giant central vacuum cleaner will see fewer dustcarts along the High Line park. The idea’s nothing new; it is reminiscent of similar practices In the UK with local authority housing estates. Known as the Garchey system, the waste disposal unit of a sink would be an outlet for disposing refuse.

This was implemented in the now-demolished Quarry Hill Flats in Leeds, and at the soon to be fully-refurbished Park Hill Estate in Sheffield. As waste consumption increased due to consumer spending, its limitations were evident. New York’s scheme aims to improve on previous practices and we think they could be on to a winner.

Clean Hire, 14 September 2016.

A selection of suction sycophants: in other words, vacuum cleaner enthusiasts and popular cultural icons

Suction sycophant image by Ljupco Smokovski (via Shutterstock).
Image by Ljupco Smokovski (via Shutterstock).

We at Clean Hire not only hire a number of industrial vacuum cleaners.  We are also passionate about vacuum cleaners and other cleaning products.  It is our life, our raison d’etre – our reason for being in plain English terms.  Needless to say, we salute like-minded people with a great interest in vacuum cleaners.  Suction sycophants if you prefer.

For our latest post, we salute four suction sycophants. Some people are fans of vacuum cleaners in the same way some of us like steam trains, photography, and American comics. Continue reading “Dedicated Followers of Suction”