Noisy trains cause residents distress

Locals seek answers from TfL

By Luchia Robinson

Seven Sisters Train Station               Credit: Stephen Furner

Local residents have raised concerns about the excessive noise and vibrations made from passing underground trains.

Alfred Jahn; a marketing manager, Martin Coles; a personal trainer, Jami Cresser-Brown; an architect, and their neighbours, can feel and hear constant tremors rumbling through their homes, in the Moreton Road area, N15.

The residents live near Seven Sisters Road, beneath which, the Victoria Line runs a frequent service. They claim the strong vibrations began in September/October 2018, and have been continuous ever since.

“I’m bothered by noise quite a lot so it’s something I would have noticed, and it’s the Victoria Line, so it’s [about] every 90 seconds– not something that happens every half hour,” said Alfred.

“It was really interesting speaking to some of my neighbours– some of them have lived here for about 50 years, and they say that [in that time] nothing like this has happened before.”

The reverberations happen throughout the day and also on Friday and Saturday nights, as the Victoria Line is part of the night tube network.

Residents Alfred Jahn, Martin Coles and Jami Cresser-Brown have been affected by the passing underground trains       Credit Luchia Robinson

Alfred said: “The way I noticed it was when the grid on top of the radiator in my bedroom, literally started vibrating. It made this noise, and I didn’t know where it was coming from, so I was actually quite concerned about the whole building.

It’s not on for them to say, ‘we can’t do anything about it’– that’s not good enough”

“I contacted Homes for Haringey, who manages our building and they sent a structural engineer round to have a look.”

The neighbours were told that the vibrations were not likely to cause any structural damage, but the noise has had an impact on some of the residents’ health.

Martin said: “I generally have poor energy levels or I feel fatigued throughout the week. I get up early, so it means I’m getting to bed late and I’m not getting my recommended seven/eight hours of sleep a night.”

Alfred suspects the vibrations have been the cause of his high blood pressure and damaged blood vessels, which he is now taking medication for.

He said: “It affects your life, you just can’t sleep properly anymore, and that’s really, really dangerous.

“Usually you wake up [in the morning] and you’re fresh, but when you get woken up at 5.30am, and you can’t fall asleep again– and the same at night, it makes you feel very anxious, because it’s a noise, that there is nothing you can do about.”

The residents logged complaints with Transport for London (TfL) upon first hearing the bass-like noise last November. A Noise and Vibration Engineer from TfL conducted an initial report, just a few weeks later.

The investigation found that the northbound trains were the source of the noise levels, which peak at 42 decibels, with each tremor lasting approximately 20 seconds.

The World Health Organisation recommends that for a night of good quality sleep, and in order to prevent adverse health effects, noise outside of bedrooms should not exceed 40 decibels.

Video images of the train track show that patches of both the left and right, northern rails are corrugated.

The noise occurs when trains pass over the ridged part of the track, (between Seven Sisters and Finsbury Park), close to the residents’ homes.

Jami said: “TfL sending an engineer round and actually getting a report done– I was quite impressed about that, but they just haven’t done anything about it.”

Martin added: “The engineer said that usually the solution to this problem is grinding the track, basically smoothing it out again or replacing it.

“I thought when we got that report, that they have identified the problem, but they have done nothing with it since. When we ask them what exactly they have tried to do, they never answer our question– they don’t respond to us.”

The residents have been told that TfL is prioritising noise issues across the network, but the neighbours do not know whether or when the Seven Sisters to Finsbury Park stretch of the track, will be fixed.

“It’s not on for them to say, ‘we can’t do anything about it’– that’s not good enough,” said Alfred.

Peter McNaught, London Underground’s Director of Asset Operations, said: “We do our utmost to be good neighbours and remain committed to do all we can to keep noise levels to a minimum.

“We fully understand the effect that noise from the Tube can have on local residents, which is why we have undertaken maintenance and improvement work across the Tube network to try to minimise noise, and have met with residents across London to try and address their concerns.”