No solution to scourge of chewing gum stains at Wembley Park or other stations rail chiefs admit

PUBLISHED: 09:30 05 May 2019

No solutions to the chewing gum scourge at Wembley Park. Picture: Hamant Verma

No solutions to the chewing gum scourge at Wembley Park. Picture: Hamant Verma


The familiar site of discarded chewing gum at suburban Tube stations is likely to remain – as transport chiefs admit defeat in ending the scourge.

In January, this paper reported on a call by Wembley residents for Transport for London (TFL) to clear the disgusting carpets of chewing gum from the platforms of Wembley Park Tube. At the time, TfL said residents should not worry because the station undergoes a “deep clean” every six weeks.

However, photographs of the same spot at Wembley Park Tube taken two months apart – one on January 5 2019 and the other on March 23 2019 –showed little difference.

In response, TfL now admits it cannot give platforms the deep clean needed to rid them of discarded chewing gum because the asphalt laid on the platforms is too delicate. This limits the amount of freeze drying and steam cleaning that cleaners do. And TfL is telling passengers this is not likely to change drastically in the foreseeable future.

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Chirag Gir, chair of Wembley Central and Alperton Residents' Association (WCARA), said: “I am very disappointed to hear that these platforms cannot be rid of chewing gum and hope something can be done because it is disgusting.”

Discarded chewing gum on platforms is more obvious on above ground Tube stations outside Tube Zone 1, such us Finchley Road Tube.

Roger Blake, of the London and South East branch of campaign group Rail Future, added: “It is an absolute scourge. We should be targeting the manufacturers of chewing gum and retailers to get the message to their customers far more than they currently do, to not discard their chewing gum on platforms.”

Naomi Smith, customer service chief for the Metropolitan line, said: “We have a rigorous cleaning schedule at Wembley Park station, as we do at all stations, and we try and remove as many chewing gum deposits as possible.

“Unfortunately chewing gum deposits are particularly difficult to remove as the intensity of the cleaning products required can also damage the platform surface.”

She advised customers to use the bins provided.

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