Nick Herbert welcomes action on train horns

3 April 2007

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed new rail industry guidelines on the use of train horns at footpath crossings.

The new rules of operation mean that trains will no longer routinely sound their horns at whistle boards during the night time hours of 11pm to 7am.  Outside of these hours those trains with two tone horns should only use the quieter lower tone when passing whistle boards.

The guidelines, which are to come into force on Saturday (7 April), follow concerted pressure from Mr Herbert and other MPs from across the South East, and a year long cross-industry review. 

It is hoped that the Rail Safety and Standards Board's guidelines will bring respite to those people living along the Arun Valley in and around Pulborough and North Heath and further down the Arundel line at Warningcamp and Peppering who have been adversely affected by the excessive sounding of train horns.

Mr Herbert has had meetings with the Chief Executive of Network Rail, John Armitt, the Managing Director of Southern, Chris Burchell, and the Minister for Transport, Tom Harris, to discuss this matter and to highlight the serious impact that it is having on many people's lives, particularly during the summer months when many people wish to sleep with their windows open.

The guidelines are part of a broader package of industry recommendations which include the establishment of a new lower minimum sound pressure level of 101 decibels and a maximum of 106 decibels for all new trains capable of speeds up to 160 kph, or when changing train horns, a continuing review of whistle boards and the examination of possible alternative technologies for train horns, such as broadband.

Commenting, Mr Herbert said: "I welcome the implementation of the new guidelines and believe that they are a step in the right direction.

"While the night time ban will not affect that many train services in our part of the world, I hope that these measures will make some difference to those people who, for too long, have had to endure the invasive noise of train horns.

"If it does not, I will take this issue up with the train operators themselves.

"I will also continue to press for more progress on the review and, where safety permits, the removal of whistle boards."

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