Our maintenance programme, including track improvements and continual rail grinding to remove defects on the rail surface, helps to reduce noise and vibration. We spend approximately £150m each year on track improvements - this includes a dedicated annual budget of £1m to develop rail noise technology.
Noise coming from our tracks can be from normal wear and tear, track faults or misaligned joints. We regularly inspect our track to ensure it is safe and reliable.
New building work across the city can change the way that ground-borne noise and vibration is heard within properties. The vibration caused when metal train wheels roll over metal tracks is carried through the tunnel and the ground around it to nearby buildings. The walls and floors of these buildings can amplify the noise.
We monitor reported noise levels across the Tube network. To reduce it we:
We are also:
There are no legal limits on the amount of noise or vibration from trains operating on existing railways, but we are committed to minimising disturbance and will treat each complaint individually.
TfL Rail and most London Overground services run on tracks managed by Network Rail.
Help us identify the areas most affected by noise or vibration issues:
If you report noise at your property, an engineer will contact you to about taking measurements. The noise level will be monitored over a period of time, usually no longer than an hour. The monitoring results tell us the level, character and source of the disturbing noise.
In areas where there are a cluster of complaints, we can identify the source by monitoring in just one or two properties. Based on the source of the noise, we'll decide if any practical steps we take can reduce it.
We operate and maintain a network of major roads - the red routes - in London. (Other roads are the responsibility of the Highways Agency, and the London boroughs.)
We try to reduce noise by:
Some sources of noise such as banging manhole covers are not our responsibility - report them instead to the appropriate utility provider.
We take care when designing facilities used in our network to ensure that noise is controlled. This includes rail depots, bus garages, sub-stations, ventilation systems, lifts and escalators and public address systems.
If a local authority thinks noise generated by our operations represent a statutory nuisance, it can serve a notice that requires us to reduce the noise.
We may need to do construction and maintenance work at night when there is less traffic and trains aren't running. This helps to keep our workers safe.
When we, or our contractors, need to work at night or on weekends, we typically agree with the local authority on the hours and best practices for controlling noise and vibration. The local authority can take action against us if we don't comply.
We try to minimise noise by:
Utility companies are responsible for co-ordinating and controlling noise or vibration from any of their works on our roads.
When new roads or railways are proposed, noise and vibration will be considered as part of the planning process. Controls on noise and vibration will be incorporated into the design.
New sections of road or above ground railway must also be assessed to see if residents living close by qualify for noise insulation under the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975, or the Noise Insulation (Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems) Regulations 1996.