Following a meeting with constituents at his surgery on Saturday (29th
January), Michael Fabricant has today contacted the Department of
Transport, Network Rail, and Central Trains regarding the continued
disturbance caused by train horns when approaching the pedestrian level
crossing at Burton Old Road in Lichfield.
"There is no question in my mind of the crossing being closed" says
Michael Fabricant. "But I believe that continual use of horns which
abruptly break the silence at 125 decibels, similar to the noise of a
jet taking off, must be addressed. It is very hard indeed for
pedestrians not to notice a train approaching from either direction on
this crossing and I believe the horn should be used only if someone is
on the track and clearly not noticed that the train is approaching.
"I have asked Network Rail and Central Trains whether the use of the
horn can be moderated in built-up areas. It is just not acceptable that
the horn is being used on such a regular basis. I note that Virgin
Voyager trains using this track do not constantly use their horns and it
is a shame that Central can’t use similar discretion.
"I have also asked whether, if the use of horns on this crossing cannot
be reduced, the crossing can be automated so that the pedestrian gates
will lock automatically if a train is approaching. This, combined with
a warning light, really ought to prevent train drivers from having to
use their horns except in an emergency.
"And finally, I have asked Central Trains whether they would fit forward
facing horns so that the noise footprint is not in all directions."
Michael adds: "While I think it is unreasonable for a resident to
complain about the noise of passing trains if they choose to move next
to a railway line, there is one hell of a difference between the slowly
rising sound of a train passing by and the immediate and abrupt sound
of a horn going off – especially when it is used in non-emergency
situations. Car horns are banned at night and are discouraged at all
times in built-up areas except in an emergency situation when someone
hasn’t noticed the presence of the vehicle. The same rule should apply
to much louder train horns."