Residents kick up a stink over idling trains

A group of residents have called on a train operator to take action after raising concerns about the impact of idling trains near Morpeth Railway Station.

By Andrew Coulson
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 2:47 pm
Coun Alison Byard and a Northern train.
Coun Alison Byard and a Northern train.

Since Northern took the decision to change the position of these trains during the Covid-19 lockdown period, some of the residents living in the Kingswell estate and on Green Lane have complained about pollution from the smell of diesel, as well as noise and vibration issues.

They believe the company should ensure that all trains in the sidings as they wait to go on another journey have their engines turned off. They are being supported by Morpeth town councillor Alison Byard.

Jackie Tonks, who lives on Green Lane, said: “It’s certainly noise pollution and the smell from the diesel is also causing concern.

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“As well as the environmental impact, leaving the engines on is costing Northern money – even more so at the moment with the rising price of fuel.”

Kingswell resident Glyn Trueman said there are times when his wife Hilary will not go into the garden because she has asthma.

He added: “The change was made without warning. The engines are left on for 20 to 30 minutes at a time and you can hear them over the noise of the TV.

“We’re also concerned that the pollutants in the atmosphere could cause long-term harm.”

Peter Smith, who also lives on Kingswell, said: “This goes on until 10 to 11 at night and we’re fed up to the hind teeth of it.

“How the additional travelling involved for each train to the new position and its location behind several properties, as opposed to behind a field when in its historic position, can be more environmentally friendly is puzzling to say the least.”

Coun Byard said: “These residents are disturbed by the trains trundling up and down, 10 to 12 times a day, with attendant noise and vibration.

“Controlling noise at source would make a huge difference to them.”

Kerry Peters, regional director at Northern said: “We understand the concerns of residents in relation to trains parked up in sidings near Morpeth.

“It is due to timetable requirements that has forced Northern to sometimes stable trains in the sidings so as to keep the mainline free for higher speed trains and environmental surveys show the impact of noise has been reduced by using the current position.

“We are working to minimise noise by asking our drivers to switch off engines where possible. However, due to a longer start-up and shut down processes on our Class 158 trains, they are not always able to do so.”