Did the Earth move for you last night? Well, for some Pimlico locals the Earth moves night and day, and they’re getting frustrated. TfL are aware of the complaints of increased noise from the Victoria Line and have agreed to enhance their rail grinding maintenance schedule and to install rubber track fixings for parts of the Victoria Line under Pimlico. A Rail Grinding Unit is generally used to regrind the running rails to give a smoother profile, reducing vibration and friction. Although the rails on the Victoria to Pimlico section were re-ground in 2015, the complaints have continued, so TfL has re-re-ground to try to reduce noise disturbance to acceptable levels.
The Night Tube started on August 19th 2016 and while TfL has sometimes been reluctant to embrace the noise problem, a recent meeting chaired by Tony Devenish at Westminster City Hall brought London Underground and TfL together with local residents and Councillors to tackle the issue.
TFL are installing rubber bedding under some sections of track which can, apparently, show a reduction in noise level of about 10 decibels (dB). With current measured levels at a very approximate average of 35 dB, a possible reduction of 10 dB seems encouraging.
The rubber bedding is planned to be installed by about the end of October on the section of the track from the rear of the SE side of Eccleston Square to the end of Moreton Place, close to the junction with Moreton Street. If this proves successful then TLF will need to be lobbied to extend the installation to both the North and South, so it’s important that they are fully aware of the scale and depth of any disturbance in Pimlico.
TFL suggested that as the night service has a reduced number of trains they might be able to run the trains slower in affected areas to reduce noise. No noise reduction figures are yet available as this suggestion does not seem to have been considered before and while running trains slower is an obvious way to reduce noise, it is a currently a little academic as the present frequency of trains is as high as every 2 minutes and slowing the trains is not possible.
(Thanks to John Tyrrell and Ilan Feder for much of the info on this)
Victoria Line Noise Survey
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Direct link: Tube Noise in Pimlico – April 2016.
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- Evening Standard: Boris Johnson ‘must tackle Tube noise before rushing in 24-hour service’
- Get West London: Calls to postpone Night Tube amid fears over noise and vibration disturbance
- TfL info page: The Night Tube
Meanwhile, some are concerned of the effects of the Night Tube on Underground rodents. Professor Bill Wisden from Imperial College explains “Tube mice are amongst the toughest of their species. They forage for food on the tracks, survive the deafening noise of the tube trains, and evade TfL’s efforts to eradicate them. Soon they will also be sleep deprived. 24-hour tube operation will mean that the mice will evolve to be more stress resistant,” says Bill. “Tube mice will have an even shorter and more brutal life.” via Londonist.
How They Made The Victoria Line