Greater Anglia tests for COVID-19 on trains – and gets all clear

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Woman in high vis jacket holding covid testing equipment

Greater Anglia has commissioned a leading provider of testing, inspection and compliance services to test for COVID-19 on its trains – and every test has come back negative.

SOCOTEC has so far carried out 40 ‘biological assessments’ on a randomly selected number of trains departing or arriving from Liverpool Street. The COVID-19 virus was not detected in any of the swabs.

Different areas of trains were swabbed, including push buttons, tables, toilet doors, toilet flush buttons, grab handles and inside driver’s cabs.

None of the swab tests came back as positive.

Martin Moran, Greater Anglia commercial, customer service and train presentation director, said: "We are using everything available to make sure that our trains are clean and sanitised. SOCOTEC’s tests enable us to triple check the effectiveness of our new cleaning and sanitising regimes.

"We already carry out weekly tests for biological residue to make sure trains are clean so that we can be sure that we have the right conditions for sanitising our trains.

"It’s excellent that all tests have come back negative, but we’re not complacent, and we will continue to keep our trains as hygienic as possible so that our customers can travel with confidence."

Norman Sleeth, managing director, Environment & Safety, SOCOTEC UK, said: "SOCOTEC’s environmental swabbing service is designed to instil confidence in our clients, ensuring that they can operate a safe and compliant service during these challenging times.

"We were delighted to have carried out the swabbing service on behalf of Greater Anglia, helping to maintain their business operations and keep the country moving."

Greater Anglia decided to carry out COVID-19 tests to check the effectiveness of new cleaning and sanitising regimes.

The company has invested £600,000 in powerful new cleaning equipment and extra staff in order to keep trains clean and hygienic, so customers can feel confident they are safe when travelling.

Train cleaning managers have recently started using hygiene monitoring units to detect biological residue on high touch areas on board trains.

These tests give managers a picture of the efficiency and effectiveness of cleaning regimes across the whole of the network and enable optimal conditions for the sanitisation of trains.

Cleaners and other Greater Anglia staff, such as ticket office and gateline staff, have stepped up cleaning of high-touch areas such as push buttons, grab handles, door handles and ticket machine screens with viricides.

The company has also bought seven fogging guns, which spray a fine targeted mist of anti-viral disinfectant which quickly kills off bacteria and viruses in the air, on floors, furniture, walls, ceilings, other surfaces and large internal areas on board its trains.

Every single carriage has been fogged at least once. Greater Anglia’s cleaning contractors are also using fogging guns to sanitise waiting rooms, toilets and other areas at stations.

Other new cleaning equipment includes eight Pacvac backpack vacuum cleaners, with four filters, which clean the air as well as the floor and upholstery. The company has also recruited 28 more people to its team of over 300 train cleaners.

In addition, Greater Anglia has made it easy for people to socially distance at stations, with signs, one way systems and floor markings.

People are reminded to wear a face covering on all stations and trains, unless they are exempt.

The company has been running a near normal timetable since July, and details of less busy trains are regularly updated on the Greater Anglia website.