Dismore challenges Mayor and Transport Commissioner over tube noise

At today’s London Assembly meeting examining the Mayor’s transport strategy, Assembly member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM challenged Mayor Sadiq Khan and London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown over the growing problems of tube noise on the Northern, Jubilee and Victoria lines serving his constituency. (video here)

Mr Dismore told the Mayor:

‘I am pleased you have expanded Proposal 49 in the strategy, to mitigate the effects of noise and vibration caused by the Tube and other rail services. The World Health Organisation recommends a 40 decibels limit for noise. Why does such a limit not appear in your strategy, as recommended by the Labour group?

‘I ask this because I have had many complaints from residents living near the Northern Line, as well as the Jubilee and Victoria lines, who are suffering from unpreceded noise problems, well above 40Db. On the Northern Line, I’ve been told that this has been caused by a combination of automatic trains braking at exactly the same spots, causing extra corrugation of the rails leading to noise and vibration; and by the new rails’ profile and now fixed to concrete sleepers with no damping which transmits the noise far more than before, and which should have been foreseen when the rerailing was being designed and installed by the previous Mayor. The problem is compounded by the night tube, which prevents affected people being able to sleep at all.

‘TfL’s Northern Line engineering gangs, for example, can retrofit noise dampening pads at the rate of about 100 m a week, unless they are called away for other emergency work which is often the case, as at Mornington Crescent which is 6 weeks behind. As the work involves stretches in Camden up to 1 km long, it can take many months, indeed years, for these problems to be identified and then addressed. Will you look at employing additional engineering gangs, to enable this remedial work to be done more promptly?’

The Mayor said that he appreciated the efforts Mr Dismore had made on behalf of his constituents and he would look at the issue seriously.

Mike Brown said that they would explore every complaint and what can be done. It was challenging science, and mitigating noise in one place could cause resonance elsewhere but he would prioritise areas of concern.

When pressed by Mr Dismore over noise at Kentish Town, remedial work for which will not be completed at best until at least a year since the first complaints, Mr Brown confirmed he would look further at it, and will continue to explore options, which could include putting more staff on the work.