UPDATE – tube noise on Acton Street

5 Mar

Hi all,

The engineer deployed to investigate the tube noise situation has completed his report, which acknowledges an issue with rail joints, see an extract below:

Eastbound services presented with a light impulsive character while westbound services presented as a heavy impulsive noise which could be heard echoing around the trench.
On the westbound road the trackform is flat-bottom rail on concrete sleepers. There is a train stop at M122/MIRLO 1,112m, there are insulated rail joints (IRJ) on the left hand rail at M122/MIRLO 1,120 and 1,124m. There is a widening of the contact patch on the following rail of both IRJs.
On the eastbound road the trackform is flat-bottom rail on concrete sleepers. There are no track features or rail head defects in the noise source area. The lack of rail head defects indicates that the impulsive character from the eastbound roads is the result of multiple short plain line events as each bogie passes thought the open air section.

On the basis of this report, TFL followed-up saying:

“Most of your noise is caused by a couple of joints on the Hammersmith and City line rails. The joints are connected to the signalling system, so regretfully they can’t be completely removed, but we’ve asked the Track Manager to inspect them to see if anything can be done to improve their condition. I’m afraid this might take some time, as safety-critical track repair work always has to take priority over noise-reducing work, but as soon as I learn whether their condition can indeed be improved, I’ll let you know.

My understanding is that the signalling system is due to be upgraded within the next couple of years. Once that happens, the joints can be taken out, as they’ll no longer be required. However, I acknowledge that this is a lengthy period of time to wait, so hopefully the condition of the joints can be improved in the meantime as an interim measure.”

Whilst it’s good that they acknowledge the issue and contemplate remediation, if the remediation is only coming in the next couple of years this isn’t going to be acceptable. To compel TFL to act quickly and find a quick temporary solution to the issue, we should maintain pressure and complain via  https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-tube-and-rail, or by calling TFL on 0343 222 1234.

See this excerpt from a June 2019 TFL formal response to another noise complaint correspondence with the City of London: “Can TfL confirm the approach taken to prioritising which sections of the track should benefit works when complaints are made?
We prioritise based on in-property noise level and the number of complaints (of an appropriate noise level). We introduced this process and decision making to ensure a fair and consistent method of prioritising where best to direct our resources.”

A complaint will trigger a follow-up by TFL by email asking the following questions, to which I propose a template answer:

Full Address and postcode:
Do you live in a flat or a house?
If in a flat, on which floor?
When are you most commonly in the property?
When did you first notice the noise and/or vibration? Since at least November 2019
Did the noise increase suddenly, or was it gradual? Sudden
Is the noise a rumble, a clanking or a screech? Clanking – heavy impulsive noise every ~2mn from 5:30 am to 1 am every day when a westbound Hammersmith & City/Circle/Metropolitan tube runs over what sounds like a faulty rail joint around the C20 bridge

Thanks for your support

Adrien

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