Covid-19 killer makes trains safe, operator GTR says

Frequently-touched areas of trains operating from Huntingdon and St Neots have tested negative for Covid-19 three weeks after being treated with a long-lasting viruscide, rail firm Govia Thameslink Railway has said.

It chose carriages from all of its train fleets more than three weeks after they were treated with the bug-killer and they came up free of the virus, according to independent laboratory results.

GTR chief operating officer Steve White said: “We are carrying out a comprehensive testing regime of our trains to ensure that our customers can travel with confidence.

“Passengers can be reassured that the long-lasting viruscide we’re using, more than 100 extra cleaners and hospital-grade cleaning products are working. Please follow the government advice and wear a face covering.”

Swabs were taken from areas in the train carriages frequently touched by passengers and staff – such as grab rails, tables, toilet handles, door buttons and the driver’s power-brake controllers, which are in constant use, 23 days after they were treated with the viruscide.

Laboratory microbiological tests then showed there was no presence of Covid-19 on any of the surfaces tested.

Since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, GTR has been using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing to prove that its intensive cleaning regime is working, keeping microorganisms at bay.

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The long-lasting viruscide is part of a series of measures to keep passengers safe across trains and stations including, 100 extra cleaning staff at work and 40,000 extra labour hours in three months to enhance the cleanliness of our stations, trains and staff areas.

It said all 2,700 carriages across Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express were sanitised overnight using specially-procured short-term anti-viral sprays, with a focus on touchpoints.

New techniques - high-pressure dry steam and microfibre units - were being used for enhanced cleaning, together with bleach fogging for decontamination where someone has been confirmed as having Covid-19.

Scientists in the latest set of laboratory tests also searched for the pathogens Staphylococcus Aureus, which can cause pneumonia, food poisoning and skin infections, and E Coli, which can give rise to food poisoning. They found only negligible, entirely safe, levels – even on toilet door handles.