New York Pilots Air Filtration and Purification On Trains, Select Commuter Rail Services

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is piloting an air filtration and purification system on trains in select commuter rail services.

The system, developed by the Knorr Brake Company (KBC), uses electrical fields to generate a wave of ionised particles that destroy airborne viruses such as COVID-19. It was tested by Microchem Laboratory – an independent, certified U.S. lab – and was shown to be 99.99998% effective in eliminating airborne viruses and bacteria. KBC launched its 3-Stage Air Filtration & Purification System for rail transit vehicles in June of this year as an engineered solution offering passengers and operations personnel protection against potential exposure to COVID-19, as well as other viruses, bacteria, and hazardous airborne particulates. The HVAC filtration system guards against the spread of contagion by continuously cleansing the recirculated air during train operation. According to MTA officials, about a third of the air traveling through the ventilation system is fresh air filtered from outside the rail cars – with the system entirely replacing air inside a car every five minutes.

“As more and more customers return to Metro-North trains, they want to be confident that we are doing everything that we can to keep them safe and healthy. If the pilot proves successful, not only does this new air purification technology kill Covid-19, it kills any virus, including the standard flu or bacteria that cause the common cold, and even particulate matter like diesel fumes,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi.

The introduction of the technology emerged through the MTA’s COVID-19 Response Challenge, which seeks to engage the private sector and enable the rapid evaluation and deployment of innovative technologies to make public transit safer during the pandemic.