Steam an efficient disinfectant for rolling stock
In the earliest days of railways, steam was energy for the first locomotives. Now, the railway and public transport operators are deeply focused on disinfection its rolling stock to provide safe journeys for their customers. To this end, they are using steam as an efficient disinfectant for cleaning trains and trams.
After successful tests, Polish regional railway operator Koleje Śląskie, which provides train services in Silesian Voivodeship, has started to clean its trains with a dry vapour steam cleaner. The device disinfects surfaces (seats, floors, windows, toilets) with superheated steam that has a temperature exceeding 170 degrees Celsius and is generated at a pressure of up to 9 bars. This advanced technology allows the steam to penetrate even the deepest fibres of the material.
After disinfecting the train seats with superheated steam, their surfaces remain dry and do not require additional cleaning. Koleje Śląskie calls this feature the main advantage of the solution. In addition, the device is able to collect impurities into a special container.
Besides Koleje Śląskie, another company based in Silesian Voivodeship has also introduced steam for cleaning its rolling stock. It is Tramwaje Śląskie, which operates tram lines in the Silesian Metropolitan Area. Since early April, the public transport operator is disinfecting its trams with the help of steam. Meanwhile, there is a difference compared to the solution used by Koleje Śląskie. Tramwaje Śląskie works with steam that has a temperature of 80-90 degrees Celsius. According to the researchers, this is enough to kill bacteria and viruses.
The disinfection of one tram car with steam takes from 50 to 120 minutes. This process is divided into stages. Initially, a tram is cleaned with steam. Afterwards, the workers spray the specialised bactericide and virucide substances on the surfaces inside a vehicle paying special attention to the doors. Tramwaje Śląskie is disinfecting its trams every day at all the depots (in Będzin, Bytom, Gliwice, Katowice). Meanwhile, steam cleaning is being used once a week.
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