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Noisy trains upset villagers

Suffering Yapton residents say their lives are being ruined by tooting train drivers.

 

Villagers who live in Maypole Lane complain the sound of the horns for 18 hours a day is extremely irritating.

 

Chris Carter has lived for two years in Longacre Park, in Maypole Lane, just along the road from the foot level crossing which links it with Lake Lane.

 

He said: “This is a piercing sound. It sounds like the trains are outside my home. I can’t sleep with my bedroom window open.

 

“It really does affect our quality of life. There are times when I want to bang my head against the wall because of this.

 

“Some drivers lean on their horns for two or three seconds.”

 

Jim Payne, who lives next to the level crossing, said: “It’s a real pain knowing the horns will start at 6am and they will not finish until midnight.

 

“This is not a sound you can get used to. The number of trains is not an issue. It’s the volume of them that is the issue.”

 

Angela Bradbury, another static home-owner for 15 years, said: “The horns are so loud and so long. My brother lives in the village and he can hear them.

 

“I don’t bother to go to sleep any more until midnight. The trains have always been fast along here. I don’t know why they have to whistle now.”

 

The situation has arisen after Network Rail finished safety works at the nearby North End Road level crossing. This involved replacing the half barriers with full barriers to stop motorists dodging the warning lights when trains were approaching.

 

The work was completed last January. In the years immediately before the £4m scheme, the trains were slowed to 20mph for safety reasons.

 

Since it finished, the speed restriction has been lifted to see them travel along that stretch of track at 60mph.

 

Some 12 eastbound trains pass the crossing in weekday peak-times.

 

Network Rail installed a whistle board on the westbound track between the two crossings to improve safety at the Maypole Lane site. But residents say one was never in place before the trains were slowed down.

 

The problem has seen them complain to Network Rail, the rail network owner, and train operator Southern Railway.

 

Southern has asked its drivers to be considerate when they use their trains’ horns. But Network Rail has yet to reply. Attempts to involve Arun District Council’s environmental health officers failed because rail matters are outside their powers.

 

Mr Cook said: “There does not seem to be any oversight at all on Network Rail. They can do what they want and no-one can do anything about it.”

 

He has called on them to cut back some shrubs to the east of the crossing to enable pedestrians to clearly see approaching trains to Barnham and end the need for horns to be sounded.

 

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We need to provide safety warnings to people who are on or near the tracks and they’re a vital safety feature.

 

“The whistle board at Yapton was re-instated when the line speed returned to 60mph following the upgrade to a full barrier crossing.

 

“However, we understand concerns regarding sound levels and are currently monitoring the current footfall at Maypole Lane crossing to determine the future of the crossing.

 

“Although we’re trying to reduce the number of whistle boards, we can’t remove them where they help to keep pedestrians safe.”

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