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Electrostatic wands and special backpacks are delivering a viruscide that kills viruses for up to 30 days at Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern stations and in staff areas. The entire train fleet of 2,700 carriages has been treated too
Electrostatic wands and special backpacks are delivering a viruscide that kills viruses for up to 30 days at Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern stations and in staff areas. The entire train fleet of 2,700 carriages has been treated too

Press release -

GTR using 30-day virus killer to further protect passengers and colleagues


Govia Thameslink Railway’s entire fleet of Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express trains, plus stations and staff areas have been treated with a powerful new product which sticks to surfaces, killing viruses for up to 30 days.

The product further improves GTR’s already-enhanced cleaning regime, in which stations and staff areas are treated with more short-term viruscides, and all 2,700 of its train carriages are sanitised every night.

While the current advice remains to only use public transport if you absolutely have to, the product provides another layer of protection for passengers who do need to travel such as key workers and staff who are valiantly supporting the national effort on the front line.

To help support everyone’s focus on keeping their hands clean, GTR has also ordered 1,000 no-touch hand sanitisers for staff and passengers which are being distributed to stations. 

A specially-developed app also tells staff at-a-glance when each train carriage was last cleaned with the long-lasting viruscide.

Engineering Director Steve Lammin said: “Since the outbreak of this pandemic we have been doing all we can to protect our passengers and staff by ensuring our trains, and stations have enhanced cleaning regimes, and a switch in focus to high-touch areas and the increased use of anti-viral agents.

“We are now using a product that will kill viruses for up to 30 days and we are applying this to surfaces across our network on a 21-day cycle. We want to do everything possible to work with passengers and staff to keep them safe and this will further protect everyone who is working so hard for this country.”

Electrostatic ‘wands’ (pictured and on video) have been used around stations and staff areas and GTR is deploying 'Storm’ virus-killer backpacks which were used in NHS Nightingale Hospitals, as they cover large areas quickly. On trains, the new product needs to be applied traditionally with a microfibre cloth. In all locations, it is applied only after the entire surface area has been thoroughly cleaned and degreased.

Stations, trains and staff areas were already receiving enhanced cleans through additional extra staff, new 24-hour viruscide products and a switch to focus attention on passenger and staff touchpoints. Use of the 30-day viruscide will help GTR renew its focus on out of reach places to further improve the appearance of trains.


Editor’s notes

GTR swab-tests areas treated with the long-lasting viruscide around a week after its application to ensure it remains effective and reapplies it every 21 days, well within its 30-day period of efficacy.

What GTR has done to tackle the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic

The use of the new product which kills viruses for up to 30 days further improves an already-enhanced cleaning regime that was introduced following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. GTR is learning from other train operating companies, deploying best practice and establishing even better routines where it can:

  • Extra staff: GTR has more than 100 extra cleaning staff at work, and there is a significant focus on cleanliness and social distancing by everyone on the front line
  • Switch to focus on passenger and staff touchpoints: wiping down places passengers touch such as ticket machines, chip and pin machines, door buttons, tables, grab poles and handles, really focusing to make sure they are clean and safe
  • New materials – better, anti-viral cleaning products which kill Coronavirus have been in constant use even before the introduction of the long-lasting product, along with microfibre cloths to catch the virus rather than spreading it into the air
  • New techniques – high pressure dry steam and microfibre units are used for enhanced cleaning and bleach fogging for decontamination where someone has been confirmed as having Covid-19

New practices for trains

  • All 2,700 carriages in the GTR fleet are sanitised each and every night, using specially-procured short-term anti-viral sprays, with a focus on passenger touch points
  • Repeated application of these anti-viral sprays at stations and depots, and at terminus stations during the day – 22,000 trains were cleaned at terminus stations in April
  • Driver cab cleaning at stations where trains turn around and enhanced cab cleaning with the new 30-day viruscide when trains reach depots or key berthing points at night – 6,000 cabs were cleaned in depots during April
  • Overnight deep cleans – trains receive a ‘deep clean’ at key locations such as our main depots. This is where the new product is being applied. Its application is allowing GTR to spend more time on harder-to-reach areas of its trains, beyond passenger touch points



Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

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