Rail minister praises volunteer scheme which is ‘rebuilding’ passenger’s confidence

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris visits Norwich Station. Picture: Department for Transport

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris visits Norwich Station. Picture: Department for Transport - Credit: Archant

Reassurance and advice offered to passengers by volunteers at Norwich railway station have been praised by the country’s rail minister.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the rail minister, visited the station on Tuesday morning to meet volunteers who have taken part in a Journey Makers scheme to rebuild confidence in travelling again during the pandemic.

The project, which was delivered through the Department for Transport and charity Volunteering Matters, has hundreds of volunteers around the country supporting transport staff and passengers.

Journey Makers provide reassurance and assistance as well as prevent overcrowding and queues.

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “As the network becomes busier, the Journey Makers scheme is going to be an invaluable part of passenger safety, complementing existing staff and preventing stations from becoming congested and overcrowded.

“I am thankful to Volunteering Matters and all our Journey Makers, who are providing a crucial service that will be even more vital as footfall at stations continues to increase.

“The huge efforts by rail operators including Greater Anglia to deliver comprehensive cleaning measures across the network will also ensure that trains and stations are regularly sanitised, meaning passengers feel confident when travelling.”

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Stephen Skeet, from Volunteering Matters, said the charity was delighted to support the Department for Transport to rebuild public confidence in travelling.

Mr Heaton-Harris also met with Greater Anglia staff to find out more about its enhanced train cleaning scheme, which includes spot-check scanners, disinfected fogging guns and vacuum cleaners.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said:“We’re doing everything we can to keep our customers safe while travelling with us, including investing in new powerful cleaning equipment, such as fogging guns which spray a mist of disinfectant onto all surfaces, vacuum cleaners which clean the air as well as the floor, and hygiene monitoring equipment to improve the efficiency of our cleaning routines.

“We’re also taking on extra cleaners as we’ve stepped up our cleaning paying special attention to high touch areas such as push buttons, door handles and grab rails.”