West Midlands signallers turn to local gin distillery for their hand sanitiser.

Network Rail signallers in the West Midlands and Chilterns are using Piston Gin's new hand sanitiser.

Signalling staff in the West Midlands and Chilterns area are keeping safe using a new hand sanitiser made by local distillery Piston Gin.

The Worcester-based gin distillery turned hand sanitiser producer is helping Network Rail’s signallers, who work shifts, seven days a week, and share their workspaces with others every day, to keep hands clean and equipment wiped regularly as part of their daily cleaning and social distancing routines.

The sanitiser is being used at the main signalling centre in Birmingham, where signallers are working two metres apart, and in standalone signal boxes across the route.

Martin Colmey, Network Rail.

With sanitiser in higher demand than ever due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, Network Rail’s Central route, which covers the West Midlands area and the Chiltern main line, heard about the distillery’s new product and arranged to buy 300 bottles.

Martin Colmey, head of operations for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “Reducing the risk of spreading coronavirus among out staff is vital to keeping the railway open and trains, with key workers and essential food and medical supplies, moving around the West Midlands and Chiltern main line.

“We have had to think outside the box during this unusual time and supporting a small business like this while keeping our staff safe made perfect sense.”

Piston Gin hand sanitiser.

Grace Stringer, from Piston Gin, said: “We have the ability to help people during this crisis, so we have changed our production line from gin to hand sanitiser. We have also had fun learning a new skill!

“Knowing we are helping key workers stay safe is an added bonus and we are grateful to have been able to help and supply Network Rail.”

The railway in the West Midlands and Chilterns area is carrying thousands of tonnes of freight – including petrol, medical supplies, steel, food and white goods – every day to support the economy and keep Britain stocked with vital products and equipment.

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