Tube Noise written answers, July 18

Tube noise [1]

Question No: 2018/1865

Andrew Dismore

Transport for London (TfL) has on a number of occasions now indicated that they are not able to do more to reduce disturbing tube noise affecting residents, effectively stating that they just have to put up with the increased noise levels. When this increased noise is caused by corrugated rail, will you instruct TfL to consider replacing the affected rails until a longer-term solution can be found?


Written response from the Mayor

Transport for London (TfL) will continue to examine all feasible means of minimising noise and limiting disruption to residents living close to the Tube. In areas where noise cannot currently be further reduced, TfL will continue to work alongside industry and academia to further understand noise and vibration, and to trial new products and innovative solutions. Rail corrugation can develop within months, and so replacing the affected rails would not be an effective long-term mitigation for residents.


Tube noise [2]

Question No: 2018/1866

Andrew Dismore

Tube noise from the Victoria Line has been adversely affecting residents in Fitzrovia. Transport for London stopped remedial work, as they had complaints of increased noise from passengers for the stretch of track affected. Do you think it is fair to put the interests of passengers for a short period of time, above that of residents who face the noise nuisance all the time?


Written response from the Mayor

Transport for London (TfL) is required to balance the interests of all groups affected by Tube noise, including local residents, passengers and members of staff. However, it is not the case that TfL has stopped works in this area. Resilient track fastenings were installed in this area in January and December 2017, following a number of noise complaints. Following further complaints in a nearby area, TfL engineers will visit the site by the end of July 2018 to determine what further noise mitigation measures can be carried out. I have asked that TfL officers update you following this visit.


Tube noise [3]

Question No: 2018/1867

Andrew Dismore

We are told by a Transport for London (TfL) press release that ‘state-of-the-art technology’ will increase the lifespan of the Elizabeth line with a rail milling train and two multi-purpose engineering trains, with delivery to London later this year. TfL says: ‘The 48 metre long rail milling train is the first of its kind to be used in the UK rail industry. It is able to scan the rails using electromagnetic crack detection, looking for any defects. If it identifies any issues with the track, it can mill the surface of the rail to remove defects and cracks, reducing wear on the new Elizabeth line train wheels and the tracks’. If this can be done for the Elizabeth Line, why cannot such a machine be purchased for the Northern Line, to reduce the noise from corrugated rails that is causing such misery to so many people living near the Northern Line: should they not have priority over a track that has not even been used yet?


Written response from the Mayor

Transport for London (TfL) has rail grinding machines that operate on the Northern line. They manage rail defects on the line, as the milling train will on the Elizabeth line. Both rail grinding and milling remove material from the rail head to smooth the rails. These London Underground grinding machines use ultrasonic technology to measure rail cracks, which are then addressed by rail grinding.

Rail grinding and milling are not effective long-term methods for reducing noise and vibration. Both methods are predominantly used to maximise rail life and reduce the risk of rail defects.