Thousands of Parisians and tourists walk the corridors of the Nation RER station on a daily basis. With its two transfer halls, Nation is a very big connection hub, with a tiled surface area totalling more than 20,000 m2.
Cleaning such a vast space is a colossal task. In addition to daily cleaning operations, Frédéric and some twenty colleagues have been mobilised for a special task force. Their job begins at night: they are ready to start work as soon as the network closes as of 1 a.m., until 4:30 a.m.
Unfortunately, the platforms are littered with papers, food, and spittle. To clean the floors, Frédéric and his colleagues first wash each square metre using a high pressure washer. The goal: to prepare the surface for the application of a wax that will restore the floor’s original shine.
Periodically, water infiltrations pierce the arched roofs and tiles and deposit a calcium film on the ceiling and walls. This build-up is called concretion, and it is one of the big nuisances when cleaning the walls and ceiling of the Nation RER station. Our crews can treat these concretions in one of two ways: by scrubbing the walls, or by injecting concrete. But the task is arduous, and there is a risk of damaging the seal further, which can aggravate the infiltration, or of causing the infiltration to simply migrate to a different spot.
Apart from these concretions, the problems stemming from squatters and uncivil acts make this kind of special clean-up operation indispensable. We receive lots of complaints, and we struggle every day to keep these spaces clean. Nevertheless, the principal cause of filth and degradation remains uncivil behaviour. We’ve already found part of a torn-up seat lying in the middle of the tracks, some 50m down the tunnel!