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TfL sorry for keeping residents in dark over trial to stop deafening tube noise

Track overhaul being carried out on Jubilee Line to dampen din

25 October, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

TfL has received a deluge of complaints about tube track screeching 

TRANSPORT for London has apologised for not telling all residents it was replacing technology from the Jubilee line which has quietened tube noise in their homes.

Kevin Lee, who co- founded the Tube Noise Action Group three years ago, said those living above the tracks between Baker Street and St John’s Wood weren’t told the section was being used as a pilot for a new product.

It comes after a tube drivers’ union declared a “massive victory” in a row over tube noise in the tunnels. Part of that agreement was for a track-fastening system to be removed in the long term, as it was thought to be causing louder noise under ground.

TfL is now trialling a new rail baseplate on the Westminster stretch.

Mr Lee, who lives near Baker Street, said: “TfL did not communicate this to the residents. I am a bit relieved that they have something to replace it with. I hope it is better but I have some nervousness as [the first system] worked quite well.”

TfL has said the track-fastenings in some locations led to an increase in noise experienced by those on the trains. The company has received a deluge of complaints from passengers.

Drivers in the RMT union were due to take industrial action by travelling slower on noisy parts of the track this month in protest. But in a last-minute deal, the “go- slow” was suspended after tube bosses agreed to their demands.

An Extra investigation earlier this year found that passengers on stretches of the Northern line are exposed to noise levels as loud as a rock concert. But TfL insist that Health and Safety Executive guidance suggests the noise is unlikely to cause any long-term damage to hearing.

Mr Lee said both sides – residents and those on tubes – want a reduction in noise, not by pushing the issue onto each other.

He was one of the founding members of the campaign group after noticing “overnight” an increase in noise three years ago. Residents across London have complained about the rumble and vibrations suddenly keeping them awake at night.

TfL need a “systematic solution” to preventing the noise across the network, he said.

It is hoped the new baseplates will replicate the benefits of lowering noise in homes, as well as addressing in-carriage noise, and could be used elsewhere if successful, said TfL.

A TfL spokeswoman said they “apologise for not making all residents aware beforehand that we would be removing” the track fastening system.

She added: “We have been working quickly to address the noise issues and are trialling a new product that we hope will replicate the same noise and vibration reduction for local residents, while also addressing in- carriage noise as well. We understand the importance of this issue and are determined to mitigate and reduce it as much as we can for everyone.”

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