Virgin Trains set for £3.5m refurbishment – to remove smell from corridors

Virgin Trains "Pendolino"

Virgin Trains “Pendolino” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a long time since I’ve written limericks, not since the story earlier this year about the cat caught smuggling mobile phones into a prison in Brazil.  But this story just amused me and I thought limerick verses would be just right.  I have personal experience of the Pendolino pong, being a regular traveller at one time, and now it’s explained for me why I used to always get home with a headache.  Toilet fumes.  Ughhhh!


Pendolino Pong

A commuter whose first name was Phil
on the Pendolino felt awfully ill.
Overcome by the smell,
like vapours from hell,
three days later he’s vomiting still.

His partner, a girl called Denise
by the fumes was brought to her knees.
She drooped and she sagged,
she retched and she gagged.
She thought she had some weird disease.

A third passenger succumbed as well,
turning green from the noxious, foul smell.
He said “we are doomed,”
and fled from the room.
His departure soon sounded the knell.

Then a fourth, a fifth and a sixth
all complained of feeling quite sick.
Sweat oozed from their pores
but what was the cause?
Were they victims of some joker’s mischief?

Panic soon spread through the train.
Was it a terrorist attack once again?
Was nerve gas released?
Would they soon be deceased?
Don’t worry, I’d better explain.

The train’s owner, entrepreneur Dick,
said the Pendolino just travelled too quick.
When the train has to bank
the effluent tanks
flood the aircon, thus making you sick.

So good news, the problem’s been sussed.
Said Richard “no need for more fuss.
Come back again.
Let the train take the strain
and Virgin’s the company to trust!”

There must be a moral to this tale.
If I don’t find one I feel I will fail.
So what was so wrong
with Pendolino pong?
The answer of course – “Don’t inhale!”


5th October 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “Virgin Trains set for £3.5m refurbishment – to remove smell from corridors.”  Virgin Trains is set to spend £3.5 million on a project to refresh its entire fleet of locomotives, in an attempt to finally get rid of the smell coming from lavatories.  Tracking down the source of the so-called “Pendolino pong” has been a challenging task for Virgin Trains, even with the Government taking a close interest in the matter.  The unwelcome smell which pervades large sections of the new model trains introduced by Richard Branson’s company have become almost an accepted by-product of the experience, and reportedly came up in conversation on a regular basis at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last week.  Virgin runs 56 electric Pendolino trains and 21 diesel-powered Voyagers, and according to the Sunday Times every single one of them needs to be treated for its distinctive odour.  Initially it was believed that the smell could be yet another issue caused by Network Rail – Virgin already blames long sections of outdated and overly-curved tracks for slowing down its 140mph trains, and had feared the excessive tilting could be causing tanks of effluent to spill over.  Now, however, the problem is believed to come from air conditioning inlets placed too close to the toilets, sucking in the foul-smelling air and spreading it throughout the rest of the train

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