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The unsung heroes of your daily commute

If you’re reading this in the UK, there’s a one in four chance you’re in Greater London. If you’re in Greater London, there’s a one in five chance you’ll take the Tube today. Maybe you already have. The London Underground annually takes more than 1 billion travellers to 270 stations, covering more than 72 million km in the process. Every day millions of people take the Tube without so much as a passing thought as to how it runs; the reality is that the Underground requires constant and careful maintenance to ensure that it’s able to adequately serve that many customers every single day. This is done by a team of un-seen engineers who work diligently day-in, day-out, to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Chances are you’ll rarely spare a passing thought to these people, but without their vital work, trains on the Underground would very quickly start grinding to a halt.

Getting a train from Waterloo Underground Station during rush hour might get busy, but you can be sure that it’d be a whole lot busier without the Tube’s engineers doing their job. You’ll probably never see them, but they are as vital to the network as the brain is to the central nervous system.

Opportunities to provide servicing for the Underground are fiercely sought after, but last summer Tottenham-based forklift company Hiremech won the contract to provide and service the industrial vehicles that help maintain the Tube network. If they were to simply stop showing up to work it would be “like pulling the plug out. Everything would start grinding to a halt within 24 hours,” according to their servicing director Andrew Brown. Considering the importance of the Tube in modern-day London, this means the Underground’s team of engineers collectively form a vital cog in the capital’s transport infrastructure.

Most maintenance depots on the Underground open at 7am, meaning that engineers – whose primary job is to service industrial vehicles – will typically need to be out of the front door by 6am to make it into work on time. Their work is divided into two main tasks, servicing and breakdown coverage. Servicing entails typical checks and maintenance on vehicles, as you would have someone do on your car from time to time. Each and every industrial vehicle that works on the Underground receives a full service every three months to make sure it’s safe, secure, and fit for purpose.

Breakdown coverage, however, is much more intensive. This occurs when an industrial vehicle – such as a forklift – has completely stopped working. This presents engineers with a high pressure situation; if they do not get on site and begin diagnosing the problems within four hours it can have a knock-on effect and cause serious delays. They don’t tend to buckle under the pressure, though, with Transport for London saying they’re very satisfied with the service provided.

These services are constantly in motion, whilst you’re alighting at Oxford Circus, Heathrow, or even Watford High Street. Every time you so much as set foot on a Tube train, you’re doing something that would simply not be possible without an around-the-clock team of maintenance staff to keep everything ticking along.

So, next time you’re in a cramped train on the Bakerloo line, spare a thought for the people making it all possible. The network’s team of dedicated maintenance staff work day and night to ensure that you’re able to get to that social event, business meeting, or university class swiftly and efficiently. You may never see them, but their hard work means that you can get to where you’re going every single day.

You can find out more about Hiremech here: www.Hiremech.co.uk

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