Cheng - cleaning during the pandemic

Monday, 6 September 2021
  • Your journey

Our train maintenance team member, Cheng, discusses the highs and lows of working as a cleaner throughout the pandemic.

Our key workers have been working hard throughout the pandemic to make sure passengers have been able to travel in a safe, comfortable environment.

With the launch of our brand-new TV advert campaign, ‘Ready When You’re Ready’, heroes of the network - such as our train cleaner Cheng - were thrust into the spotlight to reassure passengers that our trains were safe. Undeterred by the challenges of Covid-19 that continue to impact our staff – our train presentation teams are working tirelessly to make sure those returning to the trains feel safe to do so.

Cheng - train cleaner - sanitising a London Northwestern Railway train.

Despite Cheng starting his railway career at the beginning of the pandemic, Cheng has remained philosophical about the challenges he’s faced and was honoured to be asked to feature a series of case studies about our unsung railway heroes.

The Covid pandemic is a time Cheng will definitely never forget, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s what Cheng had to say about his experience.

Working on the railway

Starting a new job at the beginning of a pandemic and within days being referred to as a ’key worker’ was nerve-wracking!

I have always wanted to work on the railways, and it has been an ambition for the last five years, so I see this as my first step, and I look forward to progressing my career.

Cleaning processes

My main daily job is to operate the machine that puts water onto the train and takes wastewater off it! I also have general cleaning responsibilities, such as removing litter and cleaning the washrooms and am part of a turnaround team that operates from Crewe station.

Increased cleaning measures

As well as thoroughly cleaning all areas of the train, we now also sanitise all buttons, tabletops - any “high touch” areas - with an approved disinfectant solution.

Even as restrictions are relaxed, we will continue working to these higher standards as people have come to expect them and we are so used to carrying out the extras - it’s just second nature!

Job highlights

It means so much to us to feel appreciated and throughout the pandemic most passengers were so pleased to see us moving through the carriages they would always say “thank you” and “you’re doing so much”, that meant the world to me.

A lot of people were working from home, so when people actually did get on the train and thank us, it was even more special!

Challenges at work

It has been a double-edged sword working through the pandemic - on the one hand, I didn’t have to stay at home which would have driven me crazy, but on the other, it has been quite stressful being an essential worker - I have a family and I have been worried for them.

There have been difficult times, but I am so proud of the role our team has played in keeping the trains moving for our key worker passengers during the pandemic.

For more information on what we are doing to help keep you safe, check out our latest travel advice !