Nick Herbert welcomes train horn recommendations

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed the recommendations of a rail industry Steering Group to help solve the problem of excessive noise from train horns.


Following concerted pressure from Mr Herbert, and other MPs from across the South East whose constituents are affected by the sounding of train horns, the Steering Group was established by Network Rail, the Train Operating Companies and the Rail Standards and Safety Board earlier in the year to look into the problem.

The Steering Group has today (19 December) published its recommendations for alleviating the problem of excessive train horn noise. 

The recommendations, which are now out for a 28-day consultation period and many of which could be implemented as early as April 2007, include:

  • introduction of a night time ban from 11pm to 7am on the use of train horns at whistle boards

  • where possible, the use of only the "low" tone horn at whistle boards
  • for all new trains capable of speeds up to 160 kph, or when changing train horns, establish a lower minimum sound pressure level of 101 decibels, and a maximum of 106 decibels
  • over time, further reduce the number of whistle boards through crossing closures, local review, challenging some of the current criteria, and adopting a new level crossing risk model
  • review and eradicate all other routine requirement to sound train horns
  • continue to examine possible alternative technologies

The problem of noise from train horns affects many people in the Arundel & South Downs constituency, especially those living along the Arun Valley in and around Pulborough and North Heath and those further down the Arundel line at Warningcamp and Peppering.

Nick Herbert and local councillors have already been successful in having one whistle board at Warningcamp removed.

An initial risk assessment on the stretch of line between Coldwaltham and North Heath has also concluded that with significant improvement to sightlines it might be possible to remove three of the six whistle boards along this stretch of line.

Mr Herbert has also recently 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 excessive noise from train horns is having on many people's lives.

MPs hope that the Group's recommendations will be fully implemented and will help to alleviate the problem of train horn noise, especially where, for safety reasons, it is not deemed possible to remove whistle boards.

Commenting, Mr Herbert said: "I welcome the Steering Group's recommendations and I am glad that they have recognised the unbearable disruption and discomfort that many people experience as a result of excessive train horn noise.

"I hope that these recommendations will be accepted by the industry and that, alongside the continuing assessment and removal of whistle boards, they will help make a real difference to people's lives.

"If, however, the problem continues to persist, I will, as I have already informed the Chief Executive, be pressing Southern to consider further work on the volume of their horns."



Notes for Editors

1. The Steering Group's full recommendations can be found at:

Alexander Black