Legal threat over train whistles

RAILWAY company Network Rail has been told to stop trains sounding their horns day and night or face court action.Tendring District Council yesterday served a noise abatement order on Network Rail following an investigation into whistle boards at Ardleigh instructing train drivers to sound their horns at set locations.

RAILWAY company Network Rail has been told to stop trains sounding their horns day and night or face court action.

Tendring District Council yesterday served a noise abatement order on Network Rail following an investigation into whistle boards at Ardleigh instructing train drivers to sound their horns at set locations.

The whistle boards were installed last summer and since then Ardleigh villagers have complained that they are being driven mad by loud blasts from train horns.

The boards are placed at parts of the track where pedestrians and traffic are allowed to cross.

Network Rail now has 12 weeks to stop the noise nuisance from the train horns or face legal action.

Yesterday Guy Lawrence, former chairman of Ardleigh Train Action Committee, said: “It's about time that Network Rail were stopped from breaking the law, they're in breach of the Environmental Protection Act.

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“It's about time big organisations were made to adhere to the same rules that you and I do.”

North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, who has been trying to help villagers with their campaign against the train horns, said: “I'm delighted at this news. This will force Network Rail to reach a balanced judgement about the safety issues involved, instead of their absurd 'safety at any cost' approach.

“Until recently trains did not 'honk' their way through the village of Ardleigh and there have been no deaths or injuries on this stretch of track in living memory.”

He added: “Obviously this is a hugely significant development and may be repeated across the country.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Whistleboards at crossings are designed to save lives by warning pedestrians that a train is approaching where there is limited sighting time. Safety is of paramount importance on the railway and whistleboards enable safety at crossings to be achieved. We have received the council's notice and are currently considering our position.”

Tendring District Council environmental protection officer Chris Kitcher confirmed the council has served a noise abatement order on Network Rail in relation to the Ardleigh whistle boards.

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