Northern wants its customers to have the confidence to return to the railway. The train operator has, this week, launched a new campaign to highlight everything that’s being done to keep people safe on the railway as the country moves out of the Covid-19 lock down.
Extra cleaning is being carried out on trains and at stations, social distancing is still in place across the Northern network, and, of course, face coverings are still mandatory for everyone travelling by train (aside from those with specific exceptions).
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “As an industry we have been working hard to make the railway as safe as possible, so we were ready for more people to return to our trains and stations.
“We know it has been a difficult time for the communities we serve and we’re grateful that so many listened to our advice to only make essential journeys during the worst of the crisis.
“We have more cleaning staff – both on train and at stations – than ever before and they are working around the clock to keep our network clean and reduce the potential for the virus to spread.
“We have teams at 18 locations across our network who clean the trains throughout the day, focussing on touch points, litter and toilets. All our trains that have been in service receive a full clean at the end of the night at the depots and stations to make sure they are ready for our customers the next morning.
“We’re running more trains and carriages during peak hours to give our customers as much space as possible and are putting additional soap in toilets to make sure our customers can wash their hands more frequently.”
Northern currently employs around 430 staff to clean trains during the day and at night at the end of service. They work at stations and depots across the north of England and are supported by an additional 150 colleagues who are dedicated to cleaning Northern’s stations.
All staff are currently focusing on cleaning touch points (buttons, handles, tables and toilets) and Northern has invested in a new cleaning product – Zoono – to help protect customers further.
Zoono not only cleans surfaces and kills bacteria and viruses, it also protects every surface for up to 30 days and can be used to either wipe surfaces or as a mist on surfaces, floors and seats. Northern is using the product alongside other standard cleaning methods to make sure its trains and stations are sanitised and as clean as possible for customers.
Northern is also calling on those same customers to do their bit in protecting themselves and each other when travelling.
Chris added: “Our cleaning staff are doing a fantastic job, but we need our customers to play their part too.
“Everyone travelling by train must still wear a face covering, unless specific exceptions apply to them, and people should still wash their hands frequently – at least before and after every journey.
“We’re also asking our customers to consider the times of their journeys and to try to travel at quieter times, outside of the peak hours, when trains are not as busy.
“And finally, all rail travellers should take any litter off the train with them at the end of their journey. Removing litter is a huge task in itself – on a normal day we remove up to 20 tonnes from our trains – and, at the moment, our teams are concentrating on cleaning touch-points and other parts of the trains. Customers can help us keep the trains as clean as possible by taking their rubbish with them. This not only frees up time for our cleaning team, but also helps prevent possible cross-contamination.”