Ways Trains are Safer Now

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(Newswire.net — September 24, 2020) —

During a pandemic, you could be forgiven for thinking that a train carriage isn’t the safest place to be. With commuters crammed into a confined space, with no way to escape, it seems overwhelmingly likely that we’ll end up inhaling the wrong water-droplet.

Fortunately, over the past few months, great strides have been taken toward safer trains that we can all feel comfortable taking a trip on. Take a train from Clapham Junction to Shepherd’s Bush, and you’re likely to encounter a slew of different advances. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Social Distancing

In early September, West Midland Trains’ Francis Thomas drew the BBC’s attention to the fact that carriages are more spacious than they ever have been. “We reckon we can carry about 40% of normal loads before we start to breach social distancing.” 

Social distancing means leaving a gap between yourself and other people, such that the virus could not possibly be transmitted between you. Depending on whose advice you listen to, this might be one metre or two. 

To minimise contact points, one-way systems have been implemented at many stations. Says Thomas: “If you haven’t been to the railway station in the last couple of months you might find there’s a one-way system at your local station […]”

Checking Passenger Numbers

Rail services recommend that travellers travel off-peak wherever possible. Employers have been fairly co-operative, by granting employees more flexibly working hours, so that this can be effectively done. Passengers may also find themselves warned whenever trains are busy, so that they can make plans to catch a different train. Balancing passenger numbers between different trains, and between different sections of any given train, will also help to limit the chance of contagion.

Facemasks and Sanitizer

Hygiene in train stations is being taken more seriously. Surfaces, like buttons and handrails, are being regularly cleaned – and most commuters aren’t touching them at all, for obvious reasons. Facemasks are mandatory on trains. Staff have been trained to enforce this measure, and to explain its efficacy to children. Most commuters have been happy to oblige.


One feature that’s been highlighted by train companies is the quality of ventilation. Given that the air in a given compartment is sucked out and replaced fairly quickly. According to the HSE, “good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus,” and thus this is worth considering.