Tag Archives: Train toilets

2 August 2017 in toilets | Four stories from the UK

I love local news!


We start in Hull, where a story in the Hull Daily Mail features one of my favourite complaints ever. Apparently, the city centre has been graced with new fountains that children love playing in, but the nearby public toilets have a sign up stating that the toilets are to be used as toilets only and should not be used for drying off or changing clothes. According to the council, wet floors in the toilets were a safety risk, but local resident, Mr Smith, does not believe them. He says, “I suspect that the prospect of people in Hull having pleasure was too much.” Too much.


Wet children in Hull – photo from Hull Daily Mail


KL FM, a King’s Lynn radio station, reports on a toilet story from Wisbech that I don’t exactly understand. Apparently a man got stuck in the public toilets for three hours. The confusing crux of the story is in this sentence “The man had fallen asleep, when a woman heard him banging on the doors.” Was he knocking in his sleep? Anyway, the police were called but couldn’t release him and eventually the fire brigade managed to extract him. Wisbech Town Council say nothing like this has happened at these toilets before.


The Times reports on train toilets. I was surprised to read that in the UK, 500 trains still flush effluent directly onto the tracks. Gross! Thankfully, for the health of the people whose job it is to clean the tracks, the Department of Transport has announced a change in the law meaning that this practice has to end by the end of 2019. Yay!


Finally, an abandoned monkey. The Metro claims that “an international hunt is underway” for the child that owns a cuddly monkey toy found in the women’s toilets in Gatwick Airport. In reality, it’s just an airport employee tweeting a photo of the monkey in question asking if anyone knows its owner, but still, it’s a cute story.


The as yet unnamed monkey – photo from Metro, originally from Victor French on Twitter


4 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from New Zealand, Japan, China, South Africa, the US, the UK and Ireland

Welcome to the new format – from now on every Sunday I’ll be posting all of the internet’s best toilet stories from the last week. I imagine you’ve missed me lots.


Let’s start in New Zealand, with a story about a policeman keeping his job. TVNZ reports on the story of a “highly trained” police officer, whose job is to protect the New Zealand Prime Minister and other VIPs, who kept his job after a disciplinary process. He was using the public toilet in parliament and put his loaded Glock pistol down and then forgot to pick it up. An hour and a half later, when he was on his way back, having realised he’d forgotten his gun, it was discovered by a member of the public. Luckily, no harm was done.


Breaking News reports that Sober Lane, a pub in my home city of Cork, has installed a “Snapchat machine” in the ladies’ toilets, so women on a night out can record their toilet fun and drunk group selfies on the pub’s Snapchat story. I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.


The ladies’ toilet Snapchat Machine  – photo from BreakingNews.ie


Angry commuter stories make me happy. Angry commuters pissing in plastic bottle stories are amazing. Read this story in the East Anglian Daily Times to experience the anger of rail passengers stuck on a train that only had working toilets in half of the carriages. It does sound inconvenient, as they had to get off the train and get back on another carriage in order to access the toilets, so I’m not not on the passengers’ side. But I still find the idea of the people of East Anglia angrily pissing into bottles on a train quite funny.


Now, a story from the Sowetan Live, about a man who has an amazing name and amazing hair. There is apparently a singer  and reality TV star called Papa Penny Penny. Imagine being called Papa Penny Penny and not being a reality TV star. Anyway, the story goes that he once worked as a toilet cleaner. He told a show called Real Talk that “some people would just do their deeds beside [instead of inside] the toilet pot but I just cleaned”. Poor Papa Penny Penny.



Papa Penny Penny – photo from Sowetan Live


Now to China, where a news story in This Week in Asia appears to be trying to make Japan’s good toilets as much of a problem as China’s bad ones. The story tells of the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, when the city’s many dirty, smelly and old-fashioned toilets had to be renovated before the Games started. It compares this situation to Japan’s amazing toilets, thought to be the best in the world, and lists some of the advantages of Japan’s toilets, with their automated functions, heated seats, built-in bidets and washing functions and even the ability to measure blood pressure or analyse urine content. It claims that before the Olympics come to Japan 2020, the Japanese will have a similar problem because competitors and crowds from around the world won’t be able to figure out how to use the loos there. You should mainly read this story for the amazing photos of Japanese toilets, two of which I include here.


This is a photo of Inax’s (a Japanese firm) flagship toilet at a Shanghai expo. Imagine having a flagship toilet. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP. 


A man wearing a poo-shaped hat climbs a giant toilet slide at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. Amazing. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP.


Finally to San Francisco, and a story from Business Insider (which is basically Buzzfeed in a suit) about a journalist who tries a Japanese toilet. It’s not just any Japanese toilet. It’s apparently “the Mercedes Benz of toilets” and it costs $10,200. To be honest, that’s too much to spend on an actual Mercedes Benz. She said the toilet was nice, but unsurprisingly she also said that it wasn’t ten thousand dollars nice.


Swiss cinema toilets, overflowing train toilets, Steven Gerrard and a regressive petition

In Zurich, you can go to the toilet while at the cinema while not missing any of the movie. There are screens set into the bathroom floors in front of the toilets so you don’t have to miss a minute while you poo!


Cinema toilets – photo from 9GAG


The Pune Mirror reports on what sounds like a horrendous train journey where travellers had to go from Pune to Chandrigarh (1853 kms) with a toilet that was overflowing so badly that urine was flowing across the floor of the toilets. Apparently, the problem arose because of passengers trying to flush all kinds of rubbish down the toilets and no action was taken by railway staff to remedy the problem for the whole journey.


The urine-covered floor of the train – from the Pune Mirror


I know nothing about football. Like nothing. But The Sun reports that Steven Gerrard could possibly be named Liverpool manager, a remarkable piece of progress considering he started out cleaning the club’s staff toilets. I can’t find any corroborating evidence for this elsewhere – Wikipedia says that he started out as a youth player, but who am I to question The Sun? Steven Gerrard started out as a humble toilet cleaner.


A petition to ban gender-neutral toilets in schools in the UK claims that boys and girls in schools with gender-neutral toilets are afraid to use them and that it’s becoming a health issue. The petition only has 528 signatures, and it needs 10,000 in order to bring about a government response, so it’s unlikely to go anywhere, which is good.


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Welsh train toilets, Bieber Toilet Fever, Namibian Schools and Animals Attack from the Bowl

The Tenby Observer is proud to report that trains across Wales run by the Arriva Trains network are now trialling toilet walls that feature a large colourful image of Tenby Harbour. The train company wanted to brighten up the cubicles using vinyl images and Tenby was the one that was chosen. In one of those sentences that always makes you feel sorry for people working in PR, the train company’s spokesperson said “We’ve had some great feedback from the trial project over Twitter.”

Tenby train toilet

A Welsh train toilet featuring Tenby Harbour – from the Tenby Observer

Meanwhile, at the BBC Radio One studios in London, Justin Bieber caused a panic when he pulled the “Do Not Pull” cord in a disabled toilet. The Mirror reports that “Once the alarm sounded security had to check it out. Bieber said he pulled it because it said not to. It was an odd thing to do.” Indeed.

The Namibian reports on an upsetting speech from the Minister for Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa which said that only about 29% of schools have flush toilets, while 58% have pit latrines. In the remaining 12% of schools, students and teachers have to use the Bush. Fewer than half of the schools have soap in the toilets. The minister said that education cannot improve unless health care improves and therefore that good sanitation is essential to a good education.


A snake in a toilet – from Slate

We end with a truly terrifying story (for me at least). Slate ran this report in the wake of two snakes found in different Australian toilets in September. The report starts with the a man in Israel who was bitten on his penis by a snake that emerged from the toilet he was sitting on. Luckily, his injuries were minor. As well as snakes, the story covers the many occurrences of rats appearing from toilets, and even biting people on the bum while they were sitting on the toilet. Rats coming up from the sewers through toilets are common enough in one area of Seattle that the local government has issued guidance on what to do when you see a rat coming up from your toilet. I’m clenching up at the very thought. There’s even a story of a squirrel being rescued from a toilet. Writing this blog is affecting me in ways I didn’t think possible.

The Queen, a chicken, some porta-potties and an angry mayor

Today’s first story involves poo and the Queen of England, and therefore cannot be ignored. The Edinburgh Evening News is running a story about a historic steam train whose first passenger was the Queen, and which has carried 6500 “railway enthusiasts and day-trippers” since then. The trouble is that the train, which is confusingly called “the Union of South Africa”, even though it runs between England and Scotland, doesn’t have toilet waste containers, like a newer train would, and so the tracks have been littered with poo (possibly including valuable royal poo), which the railworkers have to scrape off. Understandably, they are very annoyed by this, and to mark this, the Edinburgh Evening News ran the story accompanied with my favourite type of picture – a person looking sad next to the thing that made them sad, in this case rail trade union official Michael Hogg, next to a train.


From the Edinburgh Evening News

I feel sorry for the railworkers in the last story, but even more sorry for this poor chicken, who was found dehydrated in a toilet in a 24-hour betting shop in Morden, South London. LBC reported that the chicken was rescued by the RSPCA, who said she had been mistreated for some time and they are caring for her. They have called her “Armitage” and we wish her all the best in her recovery.


Armitage – photo by RSPCA, seen on LBC.co.uk

I had never heard of Corvallis, Oregon before today, but it showed up in my toilet newsfeed because of a “public defecation problem”, as reported in this story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The problem could of course be more properly described as a homelessness problem, rather than a defecation one, but it is good news that the council has decided to pay for two more porta-potties (American names can be very childish sometimes, and a porta-potty sounds kind of adorable) at a cost of $1320 per year.

Another town I’ve never heard of is Gisborne, New Zealand. Its mayor is very angry. Very angry indeed. This story from the Gisborne Herald about a rant from the mayor about some filthy public toilets deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are some of the choicest morsels:

GISBORNE Mayor Meng Foon is running out of patience with “dirty, grubby people leaving inappropriately-placed bowel movements at the district’s public conveniences”. That’s right. He said “inappropriately placed bowel movements”. Public officials talking euphemistically about shit is one of my favourite things.

“I have personally witnessed poos and urine all over the place,” he said.

“I take pictures and send them to my councillors during tea time.”

And you think your boss is difficult to deal with.