Fitzroy Square Tube Noise meeting

Fitzroy Square Tube Noise meeting

Location: Fitzroy Square


  • Andrew Dismore AM
  • Arjun Mittra (GLA)
  • TT (TfL)
  • DT (TfL)
  • 10 residents


Residents in Fitzroy are experiencing severe and relentless tube noise and vibration.

Causes of the noise are likely:

  • Corrugations in the rails.
  • High frequency and number of trains.
  • Rolling stock on the Victoria Line is in poor condition.
  • Train Operating system – trains brake and accelerate in the same region of track.
  • Track maintenance – regular grinding of the rails is no longer carried out by TfL.

TfL has taken no effective action to address these noise and vibration issues – and, currently, has no plans to do so. They could install Resilient Track Fastenings – ‘PVs’ (Pandrol Vanguards) TfL say they will not do this because they say it will increase noise in carriages.

TfL’s only planned action is the installation of flat bottomed rails on the Southbound track, in November 2019, and TfL state that this may increase noise levels.

TfL say reducing speed is not an option, as it will impact on peak time services.

Complaints from residents:17

First complaint: early 2012

Minutes of meeting:

Residents gave an overview of their experiences, explaining that many moved in between 2007 and 2017, when they experienced a low level of noise, but after 2017, and the works on the track bed, they noticed much increased noise and vibration, and that both have become worse over time. Noise and vibration can be heard and felt throughout the houses, affecting sleep. One resident, who is still recovering from a stroke, finds the lack of rest debilitating, and has a severe impact on his health and wellbeing. Children are unable to rest, revise for exams or work.

4 residents have had noise testing, but many said they had requested it but not received it, TfL officers noted this, and will be going back to ensure all requests for noise measurements are delivered. (TfL ACTION)

Residents said information provided by TfL and the Mayor’s office to date had been contradictory and unhelpful.

Residents raised the prospect of the replacement of track from bullhead to flat bottom rail in November 2019. TfL said there was a chance that this would increase noise even more. Residents requested that at the same time that the track is replaced, that PV is installed.

TfL can’t fit resilient track fastenings (RTFs) on Bullhead rail (which the Southbound currently is). TfL are looking to develop RTFs for flatbottom rail on timber (which the Southbound track will be in Nov), as this arrangement had not been approved internally, but they are in discussion with potential suppliers regarding the possibility of this and other means, but all would need to be tested by TfL. TfL refused to provide information on the methods being reviewed, or give any advice on the status of these investigations.

TfL have concerns regarding PV, as the impact is to make the lines akin to a guitar string, with the rails suspended in the air. TfL stated that this creates noise in the tunnel and thence into the carriages.

TfL say the noise within carriages is already near the noise level is approaching the limit of having to mandate PPE, who do not wish to wear the ear protectors, and they are receiving complaints from passengers. Residents noted that they had been advised by TfL that there was no direct correlation between passenger complaints and the location of the PVs, and that the in-carriage noise in both tunnels was very similar, with and without PVs. TfL said it is too costly to undertake a number of works requested by residents, and there are no internally approved technological solutions to some of the problems.

AD commented that like a building site, drivers should be required to wear proper PPE, and that short bursts of loud sound do not have a significant impact on hearing. It is less harmful for passengers and drivers hear noise for a few seconds on the line, rather than residents put up with frequent and repeated loud noise and vibration.

Residents questioned why the groundborne noise has become gradually worse over time. They said they had seen pictures of the rails, and the poor condition they are in. TfL said that they did not feel corrugation was an issue, as it is not at a higher level here than elsewhere. They believed that the increase in noise is due to higher frequency of trains and the concrete track bed.

Residents requested grinding as a temporary measure. TfL say grinding is not a long term solution, is expensive, and can only be done a certain number of times on one rail before the rail needs replacing. Also, with only one rail grinding machine per line, the machine is in constant use, and may not be available for a considerable amount of time.

Residents questioned what action could be taken on the northbound track, which is one source of noise for residents. TfL said that PV could be installed as the northbound sleepers are concrete, but they would not do so because of the anticipated increase in noise inside the carriage, and that they wanted to find a solution to the southbound noise at the same time. Residents considered this approach irresponsible at best.

Residents asked about other solutions to the southbound tunnel, but TfL said they would only install PV if there was an adequate solution to their concerns regarding PV on timber sleepers. TfL stated that at £7000/m, it is too expensive to install concrete sleepers in the tunnel length affecting the residents. Nevertheless, the installation of flat-bottomed rail in November 2019 is a safety necessity.