Tube Noise [1]

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 8th January 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour

Residents in Fitzrovia are receiving contradictory responses from TfL regarding corrugation on the rails on the Victoria Line around Warren Street. They wrote to me just a few weeks ago to say that they would not be carrying out grinding in the area in the October / November grinding round, because there was no significant corrugation. Now they have just sent an email to a resident stating that: “The engineers have checked the ATMS, and believe that the increase [in noise] is caused by short patches of corrugation which are developing again as a result of the effects of the previous grinding wearing off. My understanding is that the next round of grinding on the Victoria line is Spring 2021. I’ve asked if this could be brought forward, but sadly this isn’t feasible due to the limited capacity within the grinding programme.”

What was the wisdom of the decision not to grind the rails here recently, and how does this fit with commitments previously made to tackle to problem? Will you ensure this area is prioritised for grinding, should slots become available?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Before deploying a rail grinding machine on a particular line, TfL reviews rail corrugation levels across the line to determine the areas in which rail grinding will have the greatest benefit. This includes an assessment of where rail grinding is required for operational reasons, and separately in terms of noise and vibration. Rail grinding reduces rail roughness, and is expected to have greater benefit in areas where rail roughness levels are relatively high.

Although there are some small sections of rail corrugation starting to develop, overall rail roughness in the Fitzrovia area is still relatively low, and rail grinding would likely result in only a minimal reduction in noise and vibration at this stage. TfL will continue to keep this area under review for future interventions, with further rail grinding planned on the Victoria line from spring 2021.

It is important that residents get in touch with the TfL Contact Centre if there are any issues, as this allows TfL to determine any noise ‘hotspots’. Key sites are reviewed on a monthly basis by senior responsible managers.