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Army of workers with swabs test trains for Covid

PUBLISHED: 13:17 19 November 2020 | UPDATED: 16:13 19 November 2020

A worker from SOCOTEC swabbing a Greater Anglia carriage to test for signs of Covid-19. Picture: Greater Anglia

A worker from SOCOTEC swabbing a Greater Anglia carriage to test for signs of Covid-19. Picture: Greater Anglia

Greater Angia

A small army of workers armed with swabs has descended on the region’s trains to hunt for traces of Covid-19 - and found nothing so far.

Greater Anglia, the main rail provider in the region, enlisted a company called SOCOTEC to carry out tests in it carriages on regular touch points.

Push buttons, toilet doors, tables and grab handles were all swabbed by the company in the operation, which was carried out to assess the Covid-security of the carriages.

Forty biological assessments were carried out on randomly selected trains travelling in and out of London Liverpool Street, with workers swabbing all regularly touched surfaces, before testing for signs of the virus.

And the operation returned exactly the result the rail provider would have hoped for - with not a single swab test coming back as positive.

Martin Moran, of Greater Anglia, 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.

“It is excellent that all the tests have come back negative, but we are not complacent and we will continue to keep our trains as hygienic as possible so that our customers can travel with confidence.”

The tests are one of a raft of measures Greater Anglia is carrying out in a bid to offset the fears of those who may be reluctant to using public transport during the pandemic.

These also include investing £600,000 in new cleaning equipment and extra staff to keep the trains fully sanitised.

Other measures include buying seven fogging guns, which spray carriages with a fine mist of anti-viral disinfectant to kill off any bacteria in the air, on the floors, surfaces and other internal areas.

Norman Sleeth, a manaing director at 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.”


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