Train noise is a nightmare for residents

HOOTING trains going over little-used footpath crossings are keeping residents alongside the Felixstowe-Ipswich line awake at night, it was claimed today.

HOOTING trains going over little-used footpath crossings are keeping residents alongside the Felixstowe-Ipswich line awake at night, it was claimed today.

The problem has been highlighted nationally following the introduction of stricter rules about when train drivers should give a warning.

They must sound their horn as they approach level crossings - and an aircraft-style “black box” inside the cabs now records all the drivers' actions.

But some residents of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin say the hooting is keeping them awake at night.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council is now seeking a dispensation from Network Rail for drivers not to have to sound the warnings between 11.30pm and 7am at some unmanned footpath level crossings in the villages.

Of particular concern are Gun Lane and Keeper's Lane, which are rarely used at night.

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The council has written to the rail safety board and Noise Abatement Society to seek their help.

Councillor Bryan Frost said the only way to solve the problem would be to close crossings.

He said: “If you apply for closure you have to bear in mind all the people who use it and they may not be entirely chuffed about it - the only other way is a dispensation to be brought into effect in the night hours when usage is low.

“As the use of the rail line increases with dualling and the port expands, there will be even more honking of horns at night.

“But crossings are dangerous things and there have been accidents recently, and so it may be felt that continuing to use the horns is the safest option.”

Ian Chadney, senior manager for port development at the Port of Felixstowe, said the problems of hooting trains was one reason why the port was looking to close some crossings as part of the dualling project.

There would still be access over the line as the port plans to build footbridges for pedestrians and horses.

One Trimley resident said: “I would be very concerned because there have been some tragic accidents on rail crossings.

“I also know a people who walk their dogs on those footpaths at night because of shiftwork or because they like the quiet and it could put them in danger.”

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