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A fascinating look at how the MTA disinfects, revitalizes subway trains

Congested. Entertaining. Unpredictable. There are many ways to describe the New York City subway station. Clean may not be one of them.

But paying a visit to this rail yard in Queens will completely change your mind.

The New York City Transit Corona Maintenance Facility lies in the shadow of Citi Field and is one of a dozen facilities across the city that specializes in keeping subway cars in tip top shape, with that bonus lavender scent.

“Similar to your vehicle going to an annual inspection, these cars come in every 72 to 78 days,” John Santamaria, VP and chief mechanical officer at NYC Transit told PIX11. “When all those safety aspects and operational parameters are checked, then we do the aesthetic part.”

Or as most neat freaks would put it – the fun part.

“You [get to] see it from the start through the finish – that’s what’s most exciting about it and every day is a different day,” Assistant Chief Mechanical Officer Lonnie Meeks said.

After getting a standard powered-car wash for its exterior, the train cars make their way into the facility where gum, grit and graffiti meet their maker.

Corey Skinner has worked as a cleaner with the MTA for nearly a decade. He does such a rigorous job of cleaning, he makes the idea of having lunch off the floor of a New York City subway car sound possible. With his weapons on deck, which includes gallons of Fabuloso, Skinner goes to war with the car. All by hand, he disinfects, cleans and revitalizes every inch of the car.

The whole process of cleaning an entire car takes about three hours. A total of 11 cars get a deep cleaning at the 24-hour facility each day. By the following day, each train is ready to hit the tracks for the morning commute.

The process is not only intense but gratifying for the workers who get to see their progress from start to finish. It’s definitely something to keep in mind the next time you jump on the subway.