Brighton train turned into rapid Covid testing service for rail staff

A Southern train stationed at Brighton is being used for rapid Covid testing of rail staff.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:54 pm
The train at Platform 8 is being used by GTR to test its staff for Covid

Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR, has set up three centres for its staff including one in an adapted train with curtains and screens on platform 8.

GTR is offering twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests to its colleagues who cannot work from home as part of a Government scheme to help stem the spread of Covid-19 and give added reassurance to staff, as well as passengers when they return to the railway.

Mark Whitley, GTR’s head of safety and health, said: “One-in-three people with Covid show no symptoms. These tests are the latest in a long line of measures we’ve been taking to protect our colleagues and will help identify carriers before they have the potential to infect others. It will help prevent workplace outbreaks and, along with regular sanitising, give our staff and passengers added reassurance.”

Onboard supervisor Jeremy Moss carries out a swab test on board the Southern train at Brighton station

The government is offering two asymptomatic rapid lateral flow tests per week to businesses for anyone who can’t work from home. The Prime Minister last weekend announced this initiative will be extended until the end of June.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group which represents the rail industry, said: “Implementing the use of lateral flow testing will help identify asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 and, alongside train operators’ enhanced cleaning, is helping to make work safer for our people and ensure those who need to travel can do so with confidence.”

Brad Lade, is an onboard supervisor with Southern who has volunteered as one of the team of 15 testers. He said: “I wanted to do something which will benefit people, to give them and my family peace of mind that my colleagues and I are Covid-free.”

To reassure people who have to travel, as well as those preparing to return to the railway when restrictions ease, GTR sanitises every one of its 2,700 carriages each night and using long-lasting viricide across its network, which kills coronavirus for weeks at a time.

Southern Acting Station Manager Craig Harwood leads a team of 15 volunteer testers on the Brighton train

More than 1,000 touch-free hand sanitiser points have been put in at stations since the start of the pandemic and a staff app has been developed to monitor passenger volumes to identify ‘hot spots’ across the network.

A team of GTR inspectors carry out regular Covid assurance checks, and to cut contact at the station, smartphone ‘e-tickets’ have been extended to help everyone socially distance.

Brad Lade, one of the 15 volunteer testers who normally provides passenger assistance on board Southern trains