'Viola' as the staff at Copenhagen Central Station like to call their Nilfisk City Ranger 2200 utility machine (now City Ranger 2250) bears a sign saying DSB 1' - reflecting the first class working environment they now enjoy.
Brooms, shovels and buckets for waste have been replaced by 'Viola', which can keep the area around Copenhagen Central Station clean in just three hours a day. This used to be a full-time job for two or three people - and the quality has also been dramatically improved.
The nickname, 'Viola', is taken from a stand-up routine by Danish comedian, Kai Løvring, and reflects the fact that the new City Ranger 2200 is prized by employees. The unpleasant work using brooms and shovels has been replaced by a warm, comfortable cabin, to which they have affixed a DSB 1' sign - the designation for first class on Danish trains.
Henning Rasmussen is the regular driver of the machine, and is more than happy to demonstrate how it can weave its way around bicycles in the packed bicycle racks surrounding Copenhagen Central Station.
"We tested several machines, but the City Ranger 2200 was the most agile at manoeuvring around the restricted space. It can sweep right in between bicycles and under benches, and has a very small turning radius. Our customers have also noticed a difference. Several have commented that it is very clean and tidy around the station, and that's because we get around more efficiently now," says Henning Rasmussen. Service Inspector Ulrik V. Larsen adds that it is important to DSB that the area around the central station is kept thoroughly clean.
"Arriving at a clean and tidy station has a big impact on our customers' overall experience of their train trip. If there is dirt and rubbish everywhere, it sends a negative signal about the 'neighbourhood', so it is also about the customers' feeling of security. It also has a strong preventative effect. When things are clean, people are less likely to litter," says Ulrik V. Larsen. He adds that the machine occasionally also sweeps some of the municipal areas adjacent to the station in order to give customers the best experience of clean surroundings.
The machine has also had a major impact on the working environment. Instead of going outside with a broom, shovel and bucket, Henning Rasmussen now sits in a cabin with a cushioned seat and air-conditioning.
"The machine is very comfortable to sit in. There is plenty of room, even though the machine is small and agile. Walking around sweeping was actually hard work, whereas I'm not tired at all after a working day now. I'm also protected from the wind and rain," he says.
The City Ranger 2200 is fitted with an external vacuum hose which can be used between bicycles in bicycle racks, in stair wells, around waste bins, or in other inaccessible places.
"When we are using the vacuum hose a lot we are generally two to do the job - one to drive, and one to operate the vacuum hose. So we get it done quickly," says Henning Rasmussen.
In addition to the suction sweeper, DSB ordered the snow plough, shovel, snow blower, salt and sand spreader, trailer and tipper with the utility machine. There was not much snow during the first winter, so the snow blower has not been used, but the many attachment options make the City Ranger 2200 an all-year-round machine.
"We had some wet snow during the winter which we cleared using the sweeper, and it is excellent at leaving a clean surface. It is also incredibly easy to change attachments without tools or heavy lifting," says Henning Rasmussen.
Ulrik V Larsen reveals that costs and service also played an important role in selecting the new machine.
"We had a compact tractor before, and we quickly discovered that spare parts for a City Ranger are not nearly as expensive. Starting with delivery, we already had a much better experience than we had with a previous supplier. Helsinge Maskinforretning, which supplied the machine, has really provided good service and responded quickly to the minor details we have asked them to rectify. It's also a good thing that the machines are manufactured in Denmark," says Ulrik V. Larsen.
Copenhagen Central Station
Sales consultant Gert Westergaard from Helsinge Maskinforretning reports that it is normal practice for them to respond quickly to any contact, and this is also a service parameter Nilfisk Outdoor Division emphasise among their dealers.
"We always make a special effort to provide quick service, and we have rapid access to spare parts. This is essential in order to deliver new machines and provide after sales service and maintenance to our customers in North Zealand and Greater Copenhagen," says Gert Westergaard.
- Copenhagen Central station was opened on 30 November 1911
- Designed by chief architect Heinrich Wenck
- The dominant materials are brick, slate, granite and wood
- Approx. 100,000 passengers pass through the station each day
- The station has 12 tracks, 4 of which are used for suburban trains
- The twin-vaulted main hall is 138 m long and 20 m high
- There is a platform on the outer side of track one which offers access to the Royal waiting rooms
- When the Metro City Circle Line opens in 2018 it will be connected to the central station