Southeastern, the train company running services into London and the South East, has completed its first phase of coronavirus swab testing at stations and high touch areas to confirm the effectiveness of its additional cleaning measures.
Swab tests were carried out at high touch points at five key commuter stations including Ashford International, Chatham, Lewisham, Sevenoaks and Strood, and all results came back negative with no traces of COVID-19 having been tested in a laboratory. These tests will now be rolled out across all Southeastern stations for ongoing reassurance.
The activity is part of Southeastern’s enhanced cleaning regime, put in place as part of the rail industry’s ‘safer travel pledge’ published in July. The train company has invested approximately £400,000 in extra cleaning to ensure a safe and hygienic working environment for passengers and employees, and will be hiring more than 30 extra members of the cleaning team to work on trains across 20 of its busiest stations.
This includes sanitising every train carriage each night to apply anti-viral treatments to high touch areas such as toilets, handles and buttons, as well as in the driving cabs. In addition, Southeastern’s training cleaning teams are ‘fog cleaning’ every one of their trains to ensure soft furnishings and panels are also protected.
David Wornham, Passenger Services Director for Southeastern said:
“We are doing everything we can to help our passengers feel safe and supported when returning to travelling by train on our network, and we’re really pleased with the results of our cleaning testing so far. During August, passengers will see a visible increase in cleaning staff across the network.
“We recommend that in addition to wearing face coverings and carrying hand sanitiser, passengers think about planning their journey ahead, travelling at quieter times to help maintain social distancing and registering for one of our contactless tickets by visiting the Southeastern website.”
Under the new Safer Travel Pledge, Southeastern is working with the rest of the rail industry to implement a raft of measures:
- More trains and extra carriages in timetables – to make extra room and help with social distancing
- New social distancing signs – so people know where to go, stay 2 metres apart where possible and avoid pinch points
- Powerful fog cleaning on trains – with trains and stations cleaned more frequently through the day
- Soap restocked more often in stations and on trains – so it’s easier to wash hands and keep them virus-free
- Vending machines for face coverings and hand sanitiser – at over 150 stations making it easier for passengers to buy what they need
- Hand sanitiser points in over 300 stations – helping protect people themselves from the virus
- New service on Messenger app alerting people to busy trains – look up National Rail on Messenger to get started
- Up to 2,500 extra staff available at key locations – to help passengers on their way.