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Passenger Trains > Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???


Date: 03/25/20 16:19
Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: GenePoon

A short video clip on efforts of Amtrak to clean and SANITIZE trains between trips and while en-route has been filmed, "starring" DJ Stadtler, and posted on the infamous video site. 

Search for:"A Message From Amtrak - Keeping Our Trains Clean" 

But here is an excerpt from a communication among the leadership of the union representing Amtrak's Conductors and assistant Conductors, telling a different story:

"...This morning I was contacted by GO-663 General Chairperson Fran Ariola, whom I’ve copied on this email, regarding Amtrak and COVID-19. He reports that anyone who has recently visited New York City is now being ordered to quarantine themselves for 2 weeks, and he has concerns about our Amtrak crews who operate in and out of there on a daily basis. He asked management about their plans to quarantine crews, and he was told that they must continue to operate as critical infrastructure. I told him that this is our understanding as well. 

"When I asked Fran about Amtrak’s efforts to sanitize locomotive cabs, passenger cars, and crew areas, he said they’ve done almost nothing.  I told him about the reporting tool we developed, and I asked that he help us in our efforts to distribute it to all his members."



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/20 16:24 by GenePoon.



Date: 03/25/20 17:29
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: fulham

So who is supposed to be doing the cleaning?  Union members under Fran's control?  If they are not...why aren't they?  Are they refusing to work?  Right now anyone dealing with the public is at risk (I work in an Auto-Parts store...I wash my hands a lot...that's it).  Things totally suck right now.  I would understand why workers would not want to clean and disinfect equipment, but let's be honest here,  is equipment being cleaned or not?  Are people doing what they are supposed to do or not?  Are Amtrak employees given PPE to do there jobs or not?  Try to get to the facts and find something that can work.  



Date: 03/25/20 18:06
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: PHall

If they don't have ALL of the required PPE then there's no way they should be trying to clean potentially infected trains.
 



Date: 03/25/20 19:04
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: GenePoon

At a local Big Chain hardware store, employees are staying after an early 830pm closing to wipe down everything under eight feet above the floor, with special attention to frequently touched spots. No PPE required, just paper towels and a spray bottle of disinfectant. And while tape markings have been placed on the floor to keep customers six feet apart at the cash registers and customer service counters, employee-customer spacing is unregulated and has been measured at about three feet at those locations.  So, does the management REALLY care about safety of their employees?

These big corporations and other "essential" entities are posturing about their cleanliness, and how they are taking actions to protect people. But a lot of it amounts to advertising to convince customers to keep doing business and to keep the money flowing.

As always: FOLLOW THE MONEY.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/20 21:25 by GenePoon.



Date: 03/25/20 21:14
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: Duna

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If they don't have ALL of the required PPE then
> there's no way they should be trying to clean
> potentially infected trains.
>  


All? What is that?  Would there ever be enough protective gear to protect these soft, lazy employees? If not Amtrak employees, who should be doing the cleaning?

Moscow Metro (subway) is disenfecting every train at the end of every run. About 16 lines x 2 directions @ approx 2-minute headways = lots of disinfecting. They are not wearing full hazmat suits but are taking reasonalbe precautions.

Despite a long border with China, Russia has had one Covid-19 death.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/20 21:50 by Duna.



Date: 03/25/20 22:01
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: SLORailfanning

Anyone's who's ever taken a ride on an Amtrak train knows that the claims that they " clean " & " sanitize " are complete bull



Date: 03/25/20 23:43
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: GenePoon

fulham Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So who is supposed to be doing the cleaning? 
> Union members under Fran's control?
==================================

NO.  Different union entirely.



Date: 03/26/20 03:07
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: goduckies

SLORailfanning Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Anyone's who's ever taken a ride on an Amtrak
> train knows that the claims that they " clean " &
> " sanitize " are complete bull

My sister took a trip to Reno with me for my 40th. She was disgusted by the filth on the trains. And she had a point. I am used to it, so I have ignored it. But at times it can be pretty bad.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/26/20 08:00
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: prech786

An interesting anecdote to the OP.  My son is a Dept manger for a company, in the Twin Cities, that manufactures piece parts for medical equipment, including Ventilators.  Obviously, he and his people have been designated as Essential Critical Manufacturing personnel.  They have been given, basically, “Get Out of Jail Free” papers from HR to travel to and from work during MN & WI Stay-at-Home orders.
 
BUT if anyone comes into contact with a person who has tested or subsequently tests POSITIVE for COVID-19 they must stay home from work.  Perhaps one less Ventilator goes out Medtronic's door.
 
So, the question is; why are Amtrak personnel and operations treating the situation so much differently? One could ask the same about any transportation system's front facing personnel, Airline or Bus.  You can ride a train, plane, or bus but don’t look for a Ventilator if the crew makes you sick? How essential is it that snowbirds and their cars return to the NYC/NEC Area Hot Zone?  Or that people travel out of the same area to Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami, Tampa or Chicago?
 



Date: 03/26/20 11:56
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: SP4360

That you know of, unless you have a back channel to Putin, there will be no accurate information let out.

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Despite a long border with China, Russia has had
> one Covid-19 death.



Date: 03/26/20 12:05
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: Duna

SP4360 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That you know of, unless you have a back channel
> to Putin, there will be no accurate information
> let out.
>
> Duna Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Despite a long border with China, Russia has
> had
> > one Covid-19 death.



Suppose you could say that about anywhere, anything. But the infection and death rate in Russia is very low, a few percent of the US or Italy. Multiple sources, not "Putin!". A fraction of the US or Italy. I trust Russian as least as much as US mainstream media.  Also note Germany's infection & death rates are much smaller than Italy's.

Why would Russia's infection rate NOT be low? The country is all about defense and Russians have had plenty of practice keeping previous plagues, and peoples, out.  "Kremlin" means fortress or walled city. Walls = good.

Are you one of those people who still think Putin! and Russia! influenced the 2016 elections?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/20 12:13 by Duna.



Date: 03/26/20 13:37
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: rrman6

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> fulham Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > So who is supposed to be doing the cleaning? 
> > Union members under Fran's control?
> ==================================
>
> NO.  Different union entirely.

Can't the headend crew wear disposable gloves while climbing to the cab and carry something like Clorox/Lysol wipes to wipe down the critical areas of the cab?  Thus, providing cleanliness assurance above and beyond, rather than hoping some Union crew had performed effectively at the origination point.



Date: 03/26/20 13:57
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: ironmtn

Both now, but also going forward in the months ahead, cleanliness and sanitizing of passenger cars and locomotives is going to be a critical concern. Confidence about sanitizing is needed so that traffic can resume safely and some real revenue can start to flow again -- and no less so that crew and passengers can feel some degree of comfort going to work and traveling.

Here are current (I could find no updates beyond these) CDC and FAA regulations and procedures for aircraft. I've read in a number of places (including on commercial sanitization product websites) that prior to COVID-19 there were no such standards. I am trying to verify that, as I am quite skeptical of such a statement. But it's a bit hard to do, since the current regs and procedures have replaced pre-COVID-19 regs and procedures on many websites, and the older regs and standards have been pushed way down in search results.

CDC guidance:https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/air/managing-sick-travelers/ncov-airlines.html
FAA guidance (page is a PDF document):https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_safos/media/2020/SAFO20003.pdf

I could not locate comparable information for passenger rail equipment. I will keep searching.

However, the industry trade journal RT&S has a good summary in two reporting team reports which cover not only the U.S., but other nations as well. These reports are pretty broad-based and cover many items, not just sanitization, including some rail industry impact thoughts by Cowen & Co. and analyst Jim Blaze.

March 16: https://www.rtands.com/rail-news/updated-march-16-rail-group-staff-report-global-railway-industry-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/
March 24: https://www.rtands.com/rail-news/22785/

Of interest on the sanitization front in these articles is mention of an robot sanitizer used by Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR). The robot sprays Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) into an unoccupied railcar. The VHP solution has a specific concentration that allow droplets to penetrate into small areas that would not otherwise be reached.

Devices like this have caught my interest since I first saw a news report on my local NBC station, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich., about the use of a UVC (short-wave ultraviolet light) device in the Kent County, Michigan Jail to maintain sanitary conditions there in order to avoid disease spread, a real concern in a correctional institution. The device is from a Grand Rapids-area firm, Skytron, which has been in UV-light manufacturing space for medical applications for some time. I can't locate video of the TV news item I saw, but here's info on the device, which is rolled into jail spaces, operated for a period of time, then rolled on to the next space: 
https://www.skytron.com/products/infection-prevention/uvc-light-disinfection-robots/

Another firm in this space for rapid, single-cycle sanitization using UVC light is Xenex Disinfection Services. Their LightStrike robot is rolled into a space, such as a hospital surgical suite, and then does it bug-zapper-like routine flashing high intensity UV light to kill microorganisms. Could these be rolled into a railcar and used in a similar way? Several videos are online, here's one from KTVU-TV in San Francisco (you will have to copy and paste the URL into your browser to watch): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=operE5DfXiI 

Devices like these from Skytron and Xenex, and like the Hong Kong device, are likely, in my opinion, to become more widely used. Spraying and wiping surfaces with chemicals and biocides is time-consuming and inefficient, and can leave gaps in coverage. The workers doing the wiping may be exposed to the pathogens they are working to defeat. In serious situations like COVID-19, they may require expensive and hard-to-get personal protective clothing, with all which that entails. Liquids require specified wet-on-surface times (sometimes several minutes) to be effective. Chemical residues and vapors can be a problem.

Ingenuity is where you find it. A firm called Dimer has developed a device called the Germ Falcon which is specifically designed and optimized for aircraft cabin sanitization using UVC light, with arms that reach out from the main section (on the footprint of a flight service galley cart). The arms with UVC lamps go out over the seats, and up into the opened baggage racks to sanitize those areas. Seems to me that one of these could be workable in an Amtrak coach after being rolled on at a high-level platform, or where those aren't available, off of the wheelchair lift device that's present (or could be present) at almost every station and servicing facility.
https://www.germfalcon.com/

I'm not a medical person, or a scientist, or a railroader. I'm also not pushing any product or encouraging any investment in any business or purchase of any item, and I'm not an investor in any of these firms (all of which are privately held anyway, to the best of my knowledge). I'm just another average Joe interested and caring citizen who like many of us loves to travel (and who just retired and now finally has time to do so - which in the big picture of things right now is utterly inconsequential), and who sees a big problem that must be solved for us all in the months and years ahead. Whether it's just wanting to travel for recreation -- or needing to travel for work and economic reasons. Right now, we have to do the best that we can with social distancing, voluntary and stipulated quarantines and stay-at-home policies, and using the best available materials and processes that we have. We can't deploy new technologies like these by snapping our fingers, even if they are proven through testing, and found to be safe, efficacious, and operationally and economically viable. And they don't solve the problem that as soon as ill or asymptomatic but infected passengers or crew board, everything resets again. That's another problem requiring other solutions. Maybe that's why one planned generation of New York City subway cars (I think it was the R-11 prototype car -- saw it at the wonderful New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn) actually had UV light fixtures in the ceilings to hopefully cut down on germ and virus spread.

But we need to start thinking hard about it all if our mass transportation infrastructure is going to be able to serve us all safely, protect our health, and mitigate conditions such as the concerns with now face with COVID-19. To paraphrase the famous start of the Indy 500: "Gentlemen and ladies, start your thinking and innovation!"

MC
Muskegon, Michigan

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/20 14:18 by ironmtn.



Date: 03/26/20 14:20
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: Lackawanna484

That's a great post. Lots of ways to stop this epidemic.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/26/20 16:35
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: rrman6

MC, I agee also.  You've studied well.  Maybe you retired too soon! 😀   Some tend to not take the COVID-19 seriously, but as we see the numbers rise in high populations like New York City and New Orleans daily it tells much is yet to be learned in the battle.  Just becaue we've never experienced such personally, it can be lurking unknown around us with our current mobility.  Hopefully much will be learned on its containment before next Winter, if it truly is a seasonal event.  Thanks for your thoughtful input!



Date: 03/26/20 18:18
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: LooseCaboose

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>.... I'm not a medical person, or a scientist, or a
> railroader. ...


> MC
> Muskegon, Michigan
>
>  

But quite obviously you're a very competent researcher and an eloquent writer. Thank you very kindly for doing all this investigating and explaining your findings so well to us.



Date: 03/27/20 11:44
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: ironmtn

Thank you all for your kind words. I am glad that I was able to make contribution to the discussion.

Readership on any thread drops off significantly after a few days. But I'd nonetheless offer a few more thoughts, for the record, although they might be seen by very few.

I had meant to include (but forgot to do so) the thought that a device like the Germ Falcon would have problems with Superliner cars, or any full-floor double-deck equipment, including European designs like the TGV Duplex. Even smaller carry-on, rollable UVC devices like the Skytron and Xenex will be difficult (if not impossible) to heft up the narrow steps to the upper level without some redesign for that need. Gallery-style commuter cars, like those common in Chicago, where the upper-level single seats are exposed to an open main-floor-to-roof gallery, might be more workable for sanitizing by such devices. The sanitizing device could be configured in those cars to reach up to the upper level gallery from the bottom level center aisle. But if there is no center main-floor-to-roof open center gallery, and the second level is solid floor throughout, then the problem of getting the device up there becomes more difficult. Such issues almost certainly were never considered when bi-level cars were designed. And there is no assurance that such devices ultimately will be used, and that such issues need to be considered in designs. But quick, efficient, single-cycle sanitizing such as by these UVC light devices, or a spray robot like the Hong Kong device, does add one more potentially very important piece to the complex decisions and cost-benefit analysis that goes into any railcar design.

As I think about this more, my guess is that the optimal solution probably lies in some combination of UVC light devices and spraying of some type of sanitizing agent which continues to function for some hours after application by a wide-volume spray apparatus that can be easily carried around a car by a worker. The UVC light device does the initial "big kill". The spray then does additional clean-up, and forestalling of re-establishment of the pathogens. Also, continuous-process sanitization, such as passing all airflow in HVAC systems through very high efficiency filtration (such as current HEPA filters), and perhaps also past a UV light source, can also make a contribution while the car is in service.

Maybe the ultimate solution, if UVC light proves to be a good solution, is inclusion of such lamps in the car design, placed in strategic locations where their light can reach well into all parts of the car. Such lamps are dangerous to humans when operated, so there would have to be absolute safety interlocks to assure that no person (or accidentally left-behind pet) was on the car when they were turned on. Maybe the safety interlock would be that they are on a wiring circuit completely separate from the car's regular lighting, HVAC and other circuits, with a pathway only to an external outlet on the car. The car would have be plugged into that power source for that separate circuit after inspection that everyone was off, and the UVC lights operated only from a switch only on that power source.

The medical community, hospitals and clinics particularly, have thought about these issues long and hard over many years. And they will continue to think about them even more at such time as they are finally able to have the space to step back a little from the current emergency. Now is not the time to bother them for answers and best practices. But when some degree of steady-state resumes, they will have a wealth of experience and tested results and best practices to offer. Perhaps the dialogue should, at least initially, be led by regulatory authorities like FRA, STB, Federal Transit Administration and others, along with industry bodies like AAR, as appropriate per their legal authority. They are in the best position to directly liaise with other scientific and medical authorities like CDC, HHS and others.

This is getting a bit fanciful, and way out on a limb, so time to stop. But there is a point in all of this that all passenger carriers - air, rail, water, bus -- are going to need to do some serious rethinking of vehicle sanitization in the future. Both for passengers, and, very importantly, for the continued safety and health of crew members. It will not be cheap; it's likely to be quite costly. But mass transportation is a vital part of our economic infrastructure, everywhere. Along with what we all do individually to address the current COVID-19 situation, and what we do for that and other situations in the future, it will be incumbent on all public mass transportation systems to address these issues. The public will demand it, much more sensitized as they will be to such issues as a result of this COVID-19 situation. If they are not satisfied with the solutions offered, then they will make other choices as soon as they are able to do so, with commensurate negative economic consequences. But in the end, there is only so much that individuals can do alone, and only so much that transportation systems can do alone. And there is always a point of determination of "enough", and avoidance of a gold-plated perfect which can be the enemy of the entirely satisfactory good. As is being said so often these days, we are all in this together. That includes thinking hard and imaginatively (and maybe a little weirdly) about the future, and for the time when we are finally on the other side of the current emergency. An emergency that will not soon be forgotten.

Thank you all for your patience in reading my thoughts. I hope that they have made some worthwhile contribution.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/20 11:54 by ironmtn.



Date: 03/27/20 21:31
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: SP4360

Nope, and thank you for another in oyur series of childish comments.
By the way, better check your backchannel connection, some statistics are not getting through. 

 Russia Belatedly Begins to Awaken to the Coronavirusforeignpolicy.com › fortress-russia-coronavirus-spread-covid-pandemic
 
Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SP4360 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > That you know of, unless you have a back
> channel
> > to Putin, there will be no accurate information
> > let out.
> >
> > Duna Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Despite a long border with China, Russia has
> > had
> > > one Covid-19 death.
>
>
>
> Suppose you could say that about anywhere,
> anything. But the infection and death rate in
> Russia is very low, a few percent of the US or
> Italy. Multiple sources, not "Putin!". A fraction
> of the US or Italy. I trust Russian as least as
> much as US mainstream media.  Also note Germany's
> infection & death rates are much smaller than
> Italy's.
>
> Why would Russia's infection rate NOT be low? The
> country is all about defense and Russians have had
> plenty of practice keeping previous plagues, and
> peoples, out.  "Kremlin" means fortress or walled
> city. Walls = good.
>
> Are you one of those people who still think Putin!
> and Russia! influenced the 2016 elections?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/20 21:31 by SP4360.



Date: 03/27/20 22:04
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: Duna

SP4360 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nope, and thank you for another in oyur series of
> childish comments.
> By the way, better check your backchannel
> connection, some statistics are not getting
> through. 
>
>  Russia Belatedly Begins to Awaken to the
> Coronavirusforeignpolicy.com ›
> fortress-russia-coronavirus-spread-covid-pandemic


USA deaths: 1700+
Russia deaths: 5


Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University
https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
Data sources: WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY, 1point3acres, Worldometers.info, BNO, state and national government health departments, and local media reports.  Read more in this blog.
Downloadable database: GitHub: Here. Feature layer: Here.

But you and Foreign Policy mag (a neocon / zionist rag, yet supported Hillary) know better.



Date: 03/27/20 23:50
Re: Amtrak cleaning, disinfecting trains...or not???
Author: SP4360

Hardly. 

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SP4360 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Nope, and thank you for another in oyur series
> of
> > childish comments.
> > By the way, better check your backchannel
> > connection, some statistics are not getting
> > through. 
> >
> >  Russia Belatedly Begins to Awaken to the
> > Coronavirusforeignpolicy.com ›
> >
> fortress-russia-coronavirus-spread-covid-pandemic
>
>
> USA deaths: 1700+
> Russia deaths: 5
>
> Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center
> for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at
> Johns Hopkins University
> https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboa
> rd/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
> Data sources: WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY,
> 1point3acres, Worldometers.info, BNO, state and
> national government health departments, and local
> media reports.  Read more in this blog.
> Downloadable database: GitHub: Here. Feature
> layer: Here.
>
> But you and Foreign Policy mag (a neocon / zionist
> rag, yet supported Hillary) know better.



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