London Underground steps up cleaning to fight superbugs plaguing the tube
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Tube network to fight grime with industrial vacuum cleaners and magnetic wands after discovery of threatening bacteria
Industrial vacuum cleaners and magnetic wands will be used in a bid to rid the tube network of eight of the most dangerous superbugs.

Cleaning of the London Underground will be stepped up each night over the summer to remove metal particles, dust, oil and grease from about 50 stations and five tunnels.

An investigation published last month by London Metropolitan University and taxi insurers Staveley Head found 121 types of bacteria and mould on public transport in the capital.

Eight of the most threatening bacteria to human health were discovered on the tube, with the Victoria line deemed the dirtiest route.

The expanded cleaning regime is one of a series of measures announced by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, as part of a new air quality action plan.

Tests will be carried out at more than a dozen stations to monitor how dust levels change at various times and locations. Information from an improved air quality monitoring programme will be published on the Transport for London (TfL) website.
Khan said: "Tube staff and the millions of passengers who use the underground regularly deserve to breathe the cleanest air possible. TfL's new underground air quality programme will help ensure dust and particles are kept to an absolute minimum.

"But I want to leave no stone unturned and I've also asked for an updated scientific analysis of pollution on the tube so we can fully assess the air quality levels and take appropriate measures to ensure that the air is clean."
The combination of friction from tube trains running along rails, air ventilation and skin particles from passengers all contribute to dust on the network.

A TfL-funded study in 2004 found the dust did not pose a health risk but Khan has asked TfL to commission an updated review.

Advice will be sought from the Department of Health's independent expert committee on the medical effects of air pollutants.

London Underground's managing director, Mark Wild, said: "We have been monitoring dust levels on the tube for many years and, through a wide range of measures, have ensured that particle levels are well within Health and Safety Executive guidelines.


Comment: TFL were so sure dust levels were within acceptable limits and yet after the studies exposé last month, May 2017, they suddenly upped their cleaning regime? Considering the extortionate prices commuters pay for using the tube - fighting for a seat in the morning and after a hard days slog - one wonders whether a 'industrial vacuums' and 'magnetic sticks' are sufficient measures.

"But as scientific understanding of the effects of particles develops, we are ensuring that we're both using the very latest research and that we're doing everything possible to keep the air underground clean for our customers and staff."