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Greater Anglia Coronavirus Update No. 25
Additional investment in train cleaning
As part of our continued focus on providing a safe, clean and reliable service, we have announced further investment in train cleaning today. The key initiatives are as follows:
- We are recruiting 28 extra cleaning staff to our train presentation team, to further increase our cleaning regime, to help keep passengers safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
- Train cleaners can also now wear new cordless vacuum cleaners, designed like backpacks (see attached photo), which have been sourced so that they can nip onto trains between journeys and give floors and upholstery a thorough clean on an even more frequent basis. These new PacVac cleaners are very manoeuvrable so that cleaners can easily reach under seats, tables and luggage racks.
- We are also buying special testing equipment to carry out random hygiene tests on trains, which quickly detects if surfaces have been cleaned effectively or need additional cleaning. This will enable the cleaning team to make sure that existing cleaning regimes are working and alter them if tests show they are not effective enough.
These new initiatives add to the extensive range of additional cleaning initiatives we are already undertaking in the fight against Covid. We are in the process of cleaning every single carriage with fogging guns - which disinfect all surfaces, including seats, arm rests, grab handles and windows - to supplement the extra cleaning already being implemented in these high contact areas. We’re also carrying out extra cleaning at stations, where the fogging guns come in handy for larger indoor areas, such as waiting rooms.
We currently expect the timetable position to stay the same for the foreseeable future. As previously highlighted, we are running a full service on most routes, except on the Norwich to London intercity services - where most services are still operating (with our new, longer, 12 carriage trains), and the Stansted Express, which is running every 30 minutes. Where appropriate and practical we’ve been providing extra carriages or extra trains on coastal routes on the busiest days, whilst still encouraging customers to spread their journeys to quieter times, where possible. We will keep on monitoring customer numbers on a daily basis, to see if any adjustments or alterations are necessary, and be ready to make changes if appropriate.
It is mandatory for customers to wear a face covering when using public transport, in stations as well as on trains, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or medical condition which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt from wearing them. Most people are complying with the requirements, but the British Transport Police do have the power to impose fines of £100 for non-compliance, if necessary.
It’s still important to observe social distancing. We’ve introduced a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to do so at stations and on trains - including floor markings, one-way systems, new signs and queuing systems.
We’re welcoming customers for any journeys, so please take the train wherever convenient. As outlined, we are doing all we can to ensure rail travel is safe, reliable and straight forward.
Despite the ongoing heatwave, we’ve delivered another good week of performance, with punctuality at 93% across our network which, given we have experienced one of the most sustained periods of really hot weather ever seen in the UK, is a significant achievement. This follows on from a fourth successive period of very good performance in July, with punctuality of 96.2% across our network.
It’s been another week of intensive testing for our new suburban trains, both on our network, primarily on the Southend Victoria line, and on the West Coast Main Line, where some additional testing is taking place to help us complete the commissioning and testing schedules as quickly and efficiently as possible. Things continue to progress well and we are looking forward to bringing the first ones into passenger service later this year.
There’s more station investment underway. We’ve started work on a project to increase car parking at Attleborough in Norfolk from 30 to 86 spaces, with 5 motor cycle spaces, 20 bicycle spaces, provision for electric car charging, LED lighting and CCTV. The £500,000 scheme follows on from investment in restoring the station building with support from the Railway Heritage Trust. The station is set to see more passengers following the introduction of new trains and the extension of many of the Norwich to Cambridge services, which serve Attleborough, through to Stansted Airport, over the past 12 months.
Thanks again to everyone across Greater Anglia for delivering a very good service to our customers and communities across East Anglia again this week, with valuable support from colleagues at Network Rail, Siemens, Stadler, Bombardier and our other rail industry partners.
Our thoughts are also with colleagues at Scotrail and Network Rail Scotland, after the tragic accident at Stonehaven.