Nick Herbert demands action over train horn noise

26 August 2005

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has requested a meeting with the Managing Director of Southern Rail to discuss the use of loud train horns in the Arun valley.

Following complaints from residents in Amberley, Arundel, Burpham and Pulborough regarding the use of louder, two-tone horns on Southern's new Electrostar rolling stock on this stretch of line, Nick Herbert has written to Charles Horton, the Managing Director of Southern to ask for action.

Whilst recognising the need for horns as a safety feature, local residents feel that the older, quieter horns were quite sufficient for guaranteeing the safety of those on board the trains and those crossing the railway lines.  They believe that the horns are being used unnecessarily and at unsociable hours.  They also say that the crossings are well fenced and there have been no accidents involving pedestrians at these crossings in living memory.

Farmers and wildlife experts have also highlighted the possible effect of these horns on wildlife and farm animals within a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Burpham Village Committee and South Stoke & Offham Parish Meeting, together with Councillor Paul Dendle, have already written to Southern Rail, Network Rail and the Rail Safety and Standards Board but they do not yet feel that they have received a satisfactory response or seen a solution to the problem.

Despite changes governing the use and volume of train horns, introduced by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, noise is still a huge problem along the line.  Many residents are forced to sleep with their windows closed at night.  This is particularly unpleasant during hot weather.

Mr Herbert has asked for clarification from Southern about whether it is now operating within the guidelines recently passed by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) regarding the use of train horns at the crossings on the line.  He would like to know whether the reduction of volume of the horns, as recommended by the RSSB, has yet been implemented across the whole of this stretch of line. 

Nick Herbert said: "I am well aware of how incredibly noisy these horns are as I can hear them from my home in Bury.  I am concerned that residents' complaints have not been properly taken on board and I am therefore seeking a meeting so that I can raise the issue on their behalf."

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