Train Noise

“Line speeds are determined by a number of factors” - apparently not including the effect on neighbours.

“Network Rail own and maintain the UK railway infrastructure, set the permissable speeds and govern it’s usage” - looks like Network Rail is business owner, and writes the regulations for its own industry, and is judiciary on its own regulations.

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Agreed. Sunday 19th May there is a line closure south of New Cross Gate, that’s the date that the Insulated Block Joint should be fixed. Also the maximum permissable speed will increase from 20mph to 40mph from Sydenham to Crystal Palace that day, after works are completed on the signalling at Sydenham, so those that have houses backing on to the line up to Sydenham will have something to worry about too!


As far as I’m aware the only type of trains that use the Sydenham to Crystal Palace spur are Southern 377/455 and London Overground Class 378, which are considerably quieter than the Thameslink 700s which are the cause of the problem on the mainline.

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The fast non-stopping Southern trains also produce considerable noise/vibration.

Passenger trains running through the night … are Gatwick trains on diversion through Forest Hill, or is this a new 24 hour schedule?

There are engineering works today and tomorrow between East Croydon and Victoria closing most lines so a lot of the services that normally run to Victoria are going into London Bridge instead which presumably means more trains running through the night.

The non-stopping trains are running slowly through today. It makes a huge difference to the noise/vibration levels, which are consequently much lower.

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Just wondering if anyone had any update on the broken insulating block joint issue on the slow southbound line that has been discussed on here. This has been broken for over a year, I’ve complained at least half a dozen times to Network Rail as it makes a repetitive banging sound every single time a train passes over it (so about 100+ times a day including early morning and late into the night). I seem to recall the last suggestion was that it was supposed to be fixed in May, but here we are nearing the end of the month and it’s still banging away…

It wasn’t repaired on the last line closure on the 12th sadly.

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There is no penalty if Network Rail tells us lies. They have no responsibility to us - under the current legislative framework - for disturbance caused by a badly worn or broken insulating block joint.

As regards the speed of non-stopping trains (following the London Bridge refurbishment, and new scheduling) I have had written confirmation that all they need consider is whether their own infrastructure can tolerate the speed. Any noise or vibration caused to neighbouring people or structures is apparently not their concern.

This doesn’t mean that nothing can be done, but it does mean that it is a political issue.

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I was sat on platform at Forest Hill yesterday and I noticed quite the difference between the Thameslink trains and all others, there is a distinct difference in my opinion. It may be the the difference between the slow and fast lines, but even the Southern 171s I felt were quieter than the TL 700s. I still stand by my previous posts that it’s the open design under the floor that causes a greater issue.

TfL website is showing the next closure through Forest Hill as being on Sunday 22nd September. That would be the earliest it would be addressed, if it ever is addressed.

There was some incredibly noisy work on the track, just north of Forest Hill Station, from approx 03.20 on Thursday (6th June). Does anyone know what was happening? A line of brightly lit open steel-framed trucks with engine at both ends. Lots of guys dressed in fluorescent walking along the tracks with torches. The train went backwards and forwards over the same area a few times. I hoped they might be dealing with the noisy joint, since they were in that area, but it’s the same or worse following their visit.

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I had a new message from Network Rail, closing my enquiry.

Over two years, they have variously told me:

  1. There is no problem;
  2. There was a problem, but they fixed it;
  3. They have found a problem and it is scheduled to be fixed;
  4. They had to postpone the fixing of the problem, because necessary equipment was not available or was broken.

The latest reason for not dealing with it is “This area is jointed track which would naturally cause a banging noise”

The thing is, there was no banging until two years ago since when it has gradually got worse.

I also got an email about the same issue closing my enquiry which says “Works planned for next access in week 19”. So it’s obvious NR are just making it up as they go along. I don’t have any optimism they intend to fix the problem and I have no idea when “week 19” is since we’re already more than 19 weeks into 2019.

Presumably week 19 of the financial year? So starting from April that would be early August.

Asked the nephew, this coming Saturday 22nd to Friday 28th June will be Week 13 for Network Rail. He said he only get’s the next week’s operating notice that describes works coming up so can’t tell what is being done then. Looked at TfL for forthcoming engineering works and we have the following:

Sunday 11th August: New Cross Gate to Crystal Palace and West Croydon, no service until 08:15

That would work out as roughly Week 19 then, but 0130-0815 is incredibly short amount of time unless it’s purely just to redo that Insulated Block Joint.

I heard today from Network Rail: “work will take place to lift and pack the track on the week commencing the 4th November [2019].”

I am not sure what the banging nose is caused by; suggestions have included (1) broken rail, (2) uneven join, (3) worn insulating block joint, and I recently heard of something called an (4) expansion switch.

If this noise - which is as loud as a pile-driver on a major construction site - is fixed, we are still left with the overall increase in noise and vibration since the new schedule was introduced following the completed refurbishment of London Bridge.

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It is 100% an uneven, worn down insulated block joint, exacerbated by poorly bedded sleepers/ballast on the Down Sussex Slow. The next line closure south of New Cross Gate is not scheduled until the weekend of 23/24 November. Unless that week they are doing it during the usual closed hours 0100-0500, which is unlikely, then Network Rail are telling porkies.

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The 4th Nov is a Monday, but they only say “week commencing”, not specifying a day.

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