Class 313 EMU being used for Covid-19 testing of Southern and Thameslink staff at Brighton station

UK: Govia Thameslink Railway has set up three Covid-19 rapid testing centres for its staff, including one on a Class 313 electric multiple-unit which has been fitted with curtains and screens and positioned at Brighton station.

Team leader Jeremy Moss carries out a swab test on board the Southern train at Brighton station

GTR is offering twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests for staff who can’t work from home, as part of a wider government-backed scheme for employers.

It is anticipated that up to 1 250 staff will use the test centres on the EMU in Brighton, at GTR offices at East Croydon and at Hornsey depot in north London.

The centres are staffed by volunteers from the business including Thameslink passenger hosts and Southern Onboard Supervisors. The rapid lateral flow tests take less than 4 min, and results are sent by text in as little as 1 h.

Sanitised and plastic wrapped train being used for the testing of rail staff at Brighton station

Further centres are planned if the trial proves successful, reaching up to 1 500 more staff. Employees will also be directed to community test centres which may be closer, and GTR has expressed an interest in piloting home testing.

‘One-in-three people with Covid show no symptoms’, said GTR’s Head of Safety & Health Mark Whitley on March 10. ‘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.’