Virgin urges train passengers not to put 'strange items' down toilets after flushed bra causes blockage

Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains are urging customers to think before they flush. Image: Virgin Trains

Monday, December 31, 2018

Virgin Trains is urging passengers not to flush "strange items" down its toilets after a discarded bra caused a blockage.

The train operator said around four toilets per day were taken out of service due to incorrect usage, resulting in an annual repair bill of over £180,000 and 18,000 lost toilet hours.

The flushed bra joins a list of other unusual items flushed by passengers on Virgin Pendolino trains, including wedding rings, glasses and a football scarf.



Wet wipes accounted for over 90 per cent of onboard blockages according to Virgin Trains, with wipes labelled as "flushable" still leading to clogging of internal pipes.

Virgin Trains implemented talking toilets in 2013, which remind passengers what can and cannot be flushed in an effort to combat blockages.

The recorded message says: "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."


'Only pee, poo and paper should be flushed'

Head of fleet and engineering at Virgin Trains, Michael Jacks, said the discovery of a fliushed bra made him "smile", but added flushing non-suitable items was a "very serious issue".

"It did make us smile when we found the bra as it's not something you would expect to find," he said.

"But it does highlight a very serious issue, and one that greatly impacts on our customers.

"Bins are provided, and we would remind everyone to follow the three P's of flushing. Only pee, poo and paper should be flushed down any toilet."