The long-term environmental benefits that come from using an urban rapid transit service are well documented. A 2011 study of the environmental impact a new urban rail transit system made in Taiwan found that carbon monoxide levels were reduced by up to 15%, while evidence was also found that nitrogen oxide levels in the air fell.
But another study carried out in Germany and Canada suggests there are also benefits from regularly cleaning surfaces where soils can build up every day. This is because dangerous nitrogen oxide compounds can hide in the dirt and grime so synonymous with a modern city.
City Grime And Air PollutionIt was believed that the everyday dirt that builds up on outdoor surfaces around a city – like windows, buildings and statues – was inert, trapping and neutralizing chemicals that might otherwise have added to air pollution levels. It’s the same kind of grime that builds up on the exteriors railroad and rapid transit carriages.
The principal gas trapped is nitrogen oxide (NO), which is a by-product of combustion engines. Transportation is already known to account for up to 50% of total emissions of nitrogen oxides, which is a major component of city smog. It causes respiratory problems for citizens, and severely damages water resources, crops and flora when falling as acid rain.
But research published in 2015 discovered the assumption grime lowered air pollution to be untrue and, in fact, releases smog-forming nitrogen oxide compounds when exposed to sunlight.
The research paper, which was published in the American Chemical Society in August 2015, was completed by scientists led by the University of Toronto. They conducted laboratory tests and discovered that nitrates trapped in grime disappeared almost 10,000 times faster when exposed to artificial sunlight than when washed away with a water-based solution, and released more nitrates than grime kept in the dark.
Field studies in Leipzig, Germany, and Toronto confirmed the findings, indicating that light can chemically convert nitrogen compounds into active forms, and released them into the atmosphere.
How A Cleaning Regimen HelpsLike any other infrastructure, railroad and rapid transit systems need to be properly maintained if they are to provide the high-quality services expected of them. This includes regularly cleaning, degreasing and brightening the rail carriages used. This is because of the amount of contaminants – like soil, rainwater, oil and grease – that typically builds up on rail cars and their chassis over the course of the working day.
But with large fleets of locomotives and rail carriages used by the railroad and rapid transit sector in metropolitan areas, a regular cleaning regimen can make a valuable contribution to environmentalists’ efforts to lower air pollution.
This potential extends to the proper maintenance of rail network stations, urban stops, bridges, buildings and other railroad structures, and regularly removing the grime and grit that can build up on these constructions.
Railroad and Rapid Transit Cleaners from Velocity ChemicalsAt Velocity Chemicals, we have a wide selection of high-performance cleaning products to deal with both the exterior and interior cleaning requirements of the railroad and rapid transit industries. And, if necessary, there are experts at hand to specially formulate a product according to specific needs.
WONDERSOL – a medium duty caustic liquid cleaner used to remove road film, grease, oil, carbon and pitch from machinery and exterior surfaces. It’s used by transportation companies, mines, pulp and paper mills, engine repair shops, and maintenance shops to remove oil and grease from heavy machinery and locomotive exterior and component parts.
ALUMAGLO – a medium-duty aluminum brightener, etchant and cleaner ideal for removing road film, rust, oxides, light oils and greases. Leaves a satin finish after cleaning. It is used by trucking companies, aluminum and plastic manufacturers, for exterior cleaning of aluminum trucks and trailers.
AVENGER – a non-caustic, light-duty all-purpose alkaline cleaner and degreaser designed for high-pressure washing. It’s highly effective in cleaning grease and oil from engine blocks, transmission housings and internal engine components. It cleans the exterior surfaces of locomotives, rail cars, trucks and truck frames.
FLOURIX – a medium duty aluminum brightener that removes road film, rust, oxides, light oils and greases. Leaving a satin finish, it’s a favourite for the exterior cleaning of aluminum trucks, trailers, and railroad and rapid transit carriages. CFIA approved, it can be used on food contact surfaces.
RELEASE – a multi-purpose, heavy duty non-caustic cleaner, it is effective for cleaning grease and oil from engine blocks, transmission housings and internal engine components. It is also ideal for cleaning exterior surfaces of locomotives, rail cars, trucks and truck frames.