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The BBC's transport reporter Tom Symonds
"Pumping selective fragrances into public places is now big business"
 real 56k

Monday, 23 April, 2001, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Perfumed platforms for London Tube
Tube commuters
Rose and jasmine aromas could perfume Tube stations
London Tube travellers are to be spared the smell of sweaty commuters and railway grime with the help of perfumed platforms.

On Monday London Underground pioneered the use of air sweeteners to mask unwanted odours at St James' Park, Euston and Piccadilly stations.

If the Madeleine fragrance proves popular after its one-month trial, it could become a permanent feature of the busy transport system.


The atmosphere down in our stations can become an interesting collection of odours

Mike Brown,
London Underground
The idea has been copied from the Paris Metro where travellers described the perfume as a cross between air freshener and under-arm deodorant.

Platforms are coated with a substance, made by ICI subsidiary Quest International, which then releases rose, jasmine and fruit aromas as commuters walk around.

London Underground hopes the perfume will mask the musty smell of the Tube system, which is caused by dust and hot passengers crammed in together.

Independent experts say the Tubes have twice as many polluting air particles as the capital's fume-filled streets.

London Underground's stations' customer services director, Mike Brown, said he was looking forward to feedback from users.

'Positive difference'

He said: "We carry more than three million passengers a day and the atmosphere down in our stations can become an interesting collection of odours reflecting all aspects of London life - some nice, some not so nice.

"That's why we are trialling Madeleine to see if a refresher will make a positive difference.

"If it's a hit, it could become a permanent item."

But the pleasant scents on the Tube are unlikely to stop commuters getting hot under the collar about the third Tube strike this year planned for 3 May.

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See also:

17 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Two-pronged attack on Tube plans
02 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Tube deal reached
17 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese men smelling of roses
26 Mar 99 | UK
Something in the air ...
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