Written by Harry Porter
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Topics: Britain, Trains

Monday, 28 February 2005

image for Tilting trains now flushed with pride
Angle poise - the revolutionary pneumatic loo

Rail passengers are enjoying the experience of Britain's first state-of-the-art tilting trains.

But the initial pilot routes revealed a small design fault… in the loos.

Travelling at 125mph may be an exhilarating experience, especially tilting into a country bend on the West Coast line

But it wasn't much fun if you happened to be sitting on the toilet!

Cathy Graham (36) was en-route to Manchester and was ‘spending a penny' when the train went into full tilt - propelling Cathy out of the toilet cubicle and into the carriage.

"I was mortified," she admitted. "I mean, how embarrassing is that; having a hundred people looking at you flailing around on the floor with your knickers at your knees?"

Following a number of other incidents, including a particularly distressing one involving an elderly vicar, Virgin Trains called in the boffins.

Working through the night at the depots, engineers applied basic tilt ergonomics to the toilet bowls.

Working from a new base plate, bonded to the floor with high-density corrugated rubber, the bowl itself now sits on a nine-inch, spring-bound pneumatic funnel.

This, together with the flexibility of the base plate, means the toilet can tilt to over 45 degrees, allowing you to stay seated in comfort while angled like a high-performance motorbike on a hairpin.

"It was a bit of a challenge," conceded chief engineer Stanley Greeenaway, "but the comfort and safety of our passengers, no matter where they are in the train, is always the number one priority. We're proud of what we've achieved in the timescale we had."

The ‘tilting toilet' has been entered into the UK's Invention & Innovation Awards, to be held at Birmingham NEC on Friday, September 24.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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