London North Eastern Railway (LNER), the government-owned rain operator that runs services from London King’s Cross north to Peterborough, Doncaster, Newcastle and Edinburgh, has been carrying out record levels of enhanced cleaning to keep people safe onboard trains and at stations.
To make sure that cleaning is effective, more than 140 swab tests have been carried out since July to test for traces of COVID-19 on high-frequency touch points. All tests have returned negative results, thanks to the hard work carried out by the team of 280 cleaning staff.
To ensure customers and staff kept safe, LNER now has more cleaners than train drivers covering the East Coast route, including in-transit cleaning teams working onboard services with industry-leading equipment and practises to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
In addition to onboard fogging devices using sustainable viricidal cleaning fluids, teams from Atalian Servest carry out two-stage sanitisation on surfaces from armrests to tables and onboard toilet facilities, which are regularly checked for plentiful supplies of soap and water.
Warrick Dent, LNER director of safety and operations, said: “The safety of our customers and staff is always our top priority. We recognise the importance of customers not only being safe but feeling safe, which is why we continue to provide reassurance to customers of the significantly enhanced measures we are providing to operate a ‘Covid Secure’ service.”
Customers are helping play a key part in keeping others safe by following guidelines on wearing face coverings in stations and onboard trains, as well as making seat reservations, which are currently mandatory on all LNER services.
Since March, more than 307,000 hours of cleaning has been undertaken by cleaning teams stretching across the 936 miles of LNER route, and more than 184,000 litres of sustainable cleaning chemicals have been used by the teams. A further 9,720 hours has been spent deep-cleaning stations.
Research by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has found the risk of Covid-19 infection being less than 0.01 per cent on an average hour-long train journey, in a carriage with no social distancing or face coverings. The analysis has shown the risk of contracting Covid-19 while travelling by train is about 1 in 11,000 journeys.
The research, which was conducted with assistance from LNER, also shows the risk more than halves if passengers wear a face covering. These have been mandatory when travelling by train since June, unless exempt.
LNER has launched a range of regionally inspired face masks promoting London, Yorkshire, Newcastle and Edinburgh with proceeds going to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). The operator has also developed and launched an easy to use online seat finder tool to help customers identify quieter trains and travel outside of busier times as customer numbers continue to grow.