FOI request detail

Tube upholstery cleaning

Request ID: FOI-3426-1920
Date published: 25 March 2020

You asked

Would it be possible to answer the following questions (as a Freedom of Information Request)? 1) When was the upholstery of tube carriages on each of the tube lines given a deep clean? 2) How often are the tracks of each of the tube lines cleaned and rubbish collected? When was the last time that each tube lines was cleaned in this way?

We answered

TfL Ref: 3426-1920

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6 February 2020 asking for information about tube carriage cleaning. I apologise for the delay in replying.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) and our information access policy. I can confirm that we hold the information you require.

We started an enhanced cleaning regime across the Tube and bus networks to improve the already-high hygiene levels on our transport. Cleaning across our networks now includes additional substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. Please see the attached document to explain what extra steps are being taken.

At present our transport network is only for essential journeys by NHS and other critical workers. To keep them and our hardworking staff even safer, we are now using a new, longer-lasting anti-viral fluid to limit the spread of coronavirus.

You may also want to look at our latest press release for more information which is available via the following link:

Your questions and our replies are as follows:

1. When was the upholstery of tube carriages on each of the tube lines given a deep clean?

Please see the attached schedule which details our ‘normal’ train upholstery routinely cleaning frequencies which was in place prior to the recent coronavirus outbreak.

2. How often are the tracks of each of the tube lines cleaned and rubbish collected? When was the last time that each tube lines was cleaned in this way?

All the deep tube and stations including the tracks and through the station grounds are litter picked as per our standards every 24 to 72 hours dependant on known footfall and tonnage.

In addition to this our new cleaning regime means that 11,300m of deep Tube tracks are deep cleaned every four weeks based on an A to E grading system. The grading is set out in the cleaning standards with E being the most dirty and A the cleanest. We have three inspectors going through each group of lines (JNP, BCV and Sub Surface Lines – District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines) each period . We then pick the most dirty section to include in the following months’ process programme. We also have a base team cleaning through the deep tube end to end. Currently this is the Central line and also we are working our way through the District line platforms. the Victoria and Bakerloo lines have also had a deep clean of the track and tunnels this year (2019/20) and we are working on an extended programme for the new financial year 2020/2021 which should see us cleaning over 30,000m every period. Based on this we hope to deep clean all tunnels track twice a year.

We also clear thousands of tonnes of scrap rail and waste materials and we are setting up an organised lineside materials system (this means all storage locations for storage and removal of scrap rail and materials and lineside materials for repairs will only be stored in agreed signed approved storage zones and will be removed on agreed dates. This system has already efficiently and effectively removed 1000’s of tonnes over the last few years.

The Government has announced a series of measures to tackle the Coronavirus. It is essential for London, and in particular for all critical workers, that we continue to provide a safe transport network that enables them to make the journeys they need to.

In current circumstances, we are not able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make a request to us at present.

Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the current situation.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


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