Hi-tech air purifying totem trials planned for Birmingham New Street

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Pioneering new devices will be trialled at Birmingham New Street station to see how much they improve air quality for passengers on platforms.

Network Rail will install two upright ‘totems’ later this year to filter pollutants and viruses from the air on platforms 10 and 11.

The purification systems work by taking in air at the bottom before it’s passed through a series of filters with clean air then released at head height.

It’s hoped this will make platforms more pleasant for passengers by reducing the impact from train exhaust fumes.

A recent trial of similar units, made by a company called Pluvo, saw promising improvements on a busy street in London*.

It’s hoped the trials will complement the major multi-million-pound investment into the station’s overhead ventilation system four years ago**.

Patrick Power, Network Rail Central route head of stations, said: “We want Birmingham New Street to be a pleasant environment for passengers and we’ve invested millions of pounds over the years to try to improve the air quality.

“As one of the busiest stations in the country, with diesel and electric trains coming or going every 37 seconds on average, we know the air quality at platform level could be better. These new units show real promise to tackle that and if successful we’d look to roll them out right across the station in future.”

Matteo Maccario, CEO and founder of Pluvo, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Network Rail to test and bring our clean air solutions to the railway environment. At Pluvo our mission is to create clean air spaces for people to live, work and play in. We believe this partnership with a global rail leader such as Network Rail will aid us in that mission.

“Birmingham New Street, with its unique air quality challenges, is an ideal trial location for our Pluvo Column solution. Network Rail’s managed stations have huge passenger footfall in the largest cities in the UK and we hope to help them create healthier and cleaner spaces, thus improving the overall passenger experience.”

The central sections of the units will feature large visual displays which will show passengers how they work and what else Network Rail is doing to provide a cleaner and greener railway.

If the trial on platforms 10 and 11 is successful, the plan is to install more of the devices along other platforms at the station in the future.

Image credit: Network Rail

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