Whilst construction work was ongoing (building new bridge for electrification, EGIP prog), train speeds in certain areas was lower than normal. Now the lengthy construction work is done, we’d like to know if:
a) train speeds are back to normal
b) what difference if any the lower speeds made to noise and vibration levels.
The rail companies argued at the Scottish Parliament that they couldn’t impose speed restrictions on rail traffic to reduce noise and vibration for residents yet when it became important for the operators, ie when they were engaged in engineering works, they had no difficulty imposing speed restrictions for the best part of a year.
Best Practical Means
This is important. Rail companies can defend themselves from legal action resulting from environmental pollution by claiming that they employ ‘best practicable means’, BPM, to limit emissions or the level of exposure for residents. Do they? The rail operators might argue that they use BPM for maintaining and running the lines, but can they say the same for protecting residents? We don’t think they can. There are many practical methods for limiting rail noise and vibration levels (BPM), methods that are already considered standard and are used in other countries, methods that could be implemented by rail operators in the UK. We see little sign of these being applied here except, perhaps, in a few high-profile situations.
Did the slower speeds help? Are speeds back to pre-construction works level? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org about changes in noise and vibration levels in your area.
A McI, NVAG Chair.