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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

No traces of virus found in tests of railway stations and on trains


ests have found no traces of Covid-19 at four major railway stations and on intercity train services, Network Rail said.

Two rounds of testing were carried out at London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly station in January and June.

Places passengers regularly touch such as escalator handles, ticket machines and benches were swabbed, while hour-long air samples were taken.

Tests were repeated on trains running between the stations.

Examination of the results by Imperial College London found no Covid-19 contamination of any surface, or airborne particles of the virus.

Rob Mole, senior programme manager for Network Rail’s response to the pandemic, said: “Station cleaning teams and train staff have made it their mission to keep passengers safe during the pandemic and this is proof their dedicated approach works.

“We want all passengers to travel in confidence on the railway network and we will keep doing our part by rigorously cleaning trains and stations.

A lift being cleaned at Euston station in London (Network Rail/PA) / PA Media
An assistance buggy being cleaned at Manchester Piccadilly station (Network Rail/PA) / PA Media

Mr Mole added that they ask passengers to “do their bit too” by wearing face coverings while travelling out of respect for others “so we can all stop the spread of Covid-19.”

David Green, senior research fellow at Imperial College London, said: “In the same way that a swab is used to take a Covid-19 test in the nose and throat and sent to the lab, we use a filter to collect any virus particles in the air and swabs to collect viruses on surfaces.

“This approach provides a way of quantifying the amount of virus circulating in these public environments and the effect of mitigation strategies like cleaning and wearing face coverings.

“This is part of a wider programme of work with the public transport sector to understand where this virus is most prevalent so that we can return to pre-pandemic activities as safely as possible.”

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