Those who travel by train these days often have an unpleasant companion: the fear of contracting the coronavirus. Because in contrast to restaurants, cafes or theaters, there is no minimum distance in public transport in order to minimize the risk of infection. And in most cases, the train windows cannot be opened easily to banish aerosols outside.
According to a report by, investigate how great the corona risk actually is in trains and airplanes “World” Researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The study deals with the distribution of virus particles and the question of whether mass mobility promotes the spread of the coronavirus. To do this, the DLR scientists carry out various computer simulations, such as “Research and Knowledge” reported.
Although the first results should appear in May, the study has not yet been published. According to the “Welt” article, the railway will not publish the report until the end result is available.
Surf tip: You can find all the news about the coronavirus in the FOCUS Online news ticker
Air conditioning systems ensure air circulation in trains
One thing is certain: while aircraft manufacturers use so-called “Hepa filters” that can screen viruses out of the air, Deutsche Bahn uses other methods. A spokesman for the company told the “Welt”: “The air conditioning systems in the trains provide ventilation during the journey.” And further: “In an ICE there is a complete exchange of air every seven minutes. The trains also have an active air volume control, which regulates the fresh air supply depending on the occupancy of the trains.”
The air circulation is thus significantly higher than that in buildings, including in the regional trains of Deutsche Bahn. Die Welt quotes the spokesman with the words: “This results on the one hand from the numerous stops in regional and S-Bahn traffic and the associated frequent opening of the doors. On the other hand, fresh air is also added to the air conditioning systems of regional trains . “
Deutsche Bahn: “Security can be improved with technical upgrades”
Nevertheless, the number of passengers has plummeted since October – apparently because many passengers on Deutsche Bahn trains do not feel adequately protected from the corona virus. A spokesman told the “Welt am Sonntag”: “Since the beginning of October we have been registering increasing uncertainty among our customers in long-distance traffic, while the volume of traffic in regional traffic has remained stable.”
However, that could be changed in a few simple steps. Jürgen Wilder, board member at the supplier Knorr-Bremse, told the “Welt”: “Safety in trains can be improved relatively easily with technical upgrades and retrofits.” In regions where there are a particularly high number of Covid-19 sufferers, the air circulation inside the DB wagons could be increased.
“Our electronic air conditioning control allows such adjustments to be made at short notice,” quoted the newspaper Wilder. In addition, they also have air conditioning systems on offer that kill viruses using UV light. The feature should soon be part of the “standard equipment of rail air conditioning systems”, according to the rail board.