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Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Tube scent machine breaks down
Tube commuters
Fragrance is intended to make the Tube smell sweeter
The machine used to improve the smell of the Tube has broken down within a day of its launch.

London Underground had hoped its perfumed platforms would spare travellers the smell of sweaty commuters and railway grime.

The use of air sweeteners to mask unwanted odours at St James' Park, Euston and Piccadilly stations was launched on Monday.

But just 24 hours later Tube bosses admitted that the machine at St. James' Park was no longer working properly and had been suspended from action.


What we are really interested in is the reaction of people to the perfume and that has not really been affected

London Underground

But a London Underground spokeswoman said it was only a "minor set-back" and that the system was expected to be up and running on Wednesday.

She said: "It was a blip. But the point of having a trial is to test it.

"What we are really interested in is the reaction of people to the perfume and that has not really been affected. The perfume is certainly still lingering."

Masking smell

Tube bosses had planned to reapply the fragrance onto the platforms each evening, but the spokeswoman the breakdown suggested this might not now be needed.

The perfume might now only be applied every couple of nights instead, she said.

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

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 Tube has twice as many polluting air particles as the capital's fume-filled streets.

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