Sample complaints – Idling Transpennine trains continue to make life unbearable for Redcar residents

Following resident complaints regarding the Transpennine train service, idling with engines revving outside of a residential area in Coatham, I am requesting urgent action to be taken by the operator First Group.

Hourly Transpennine trains stand outside the station idling in a heavily residential area of Coatham Redcar from 5:30am

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I have received and collated multiple complaints, many from residents who have never registered a complaint before and who have lived next to these train tracks harmoniously for years.

The Transpennine trains enter Redcar on the hour, every hour daily from 6am to 10pm (sometimes arriving before 5:30am). I have been saddened to learn how this service has been affecting health and well-being for a year now without resolve.

Many residents have reported they are sleep deprived, work long hours and shifts, are elderly, have young children and many feel vulnerable and anxious. Others report they were not consulted with and have had their complaints continually dismissed which include operation times, the lengthy loud bass noise of the engines revving, vibration, privacy, damage to property, the environmental impact and residue to gardens and property. This service also sees the level crossing lowered across a main route into Redcar town centre closed around 30 times extra per day causing long delays and idling traffic.

I have set up a meeting this week for residents to discuss these issues further with me. I want to hear first hand how this service is affecting them and their families. I want to give them the opportunity to speak out, recognise they are not alone and to have the reassurance that their complaints will be represented and acted on.

Following this, I will be meeting with First Group, who operate the Transpennine trains and provide them with the evidence of how extremely unsettling this has been and how it continues to damage health, property and the environment.

I am aware that First Group who operate these trains, have received multiple complaints already and as yet have not been able to mitigate against the known issues or satisfy residents with a solution. I have requested a meeting with a representative from First Group and also a further meeting with Network Rail, who also receive complaints being responsible for the track.

I have registered the testimonies below as official complaints to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council who I am aware have also received many complaints. I have yet to learn what consultative measures were taken, to advise residents that this service would mean stock parked outside their homes.

Finally, I will be reporting back any outcomes publicly. Residents have suffered in silence long enough. The residents of this town need to appreciate how this daily practice has made life unbearable for many in this community and to stand together with them.

References:

For more information and images also refer to the article on my blog:

https://diaryofacouncillor.com/2020/08/25/transpennine-trains-noise-nuisance-in-redcar/

Sample Complaints (idents edited)

“I have to tell you that on receiving your letter my eyes filled with tears. I live nearby and have many emails begging them to do something about the train stopping literally yards from my bedroom for an entire year. I have even sent them a video showing how close it is and the noise.

I broke my heart to them telling them what it’s doing to my mental and physical health being kept awake until late at night and then at 5.30 each morning while the train sits at my house with the engine running and the contents of the house vibrating. The 5.30am one sits there for 30 mins, that’s a long time to be feeling sick with the thudding and vibration every morning.

It’s so wrong that they have been allowed to do this to us for all this time, all day every single day. It’s been such an awful year for everyone due to covid but then add on the lack of sleep, the rattling vibrations through the house, the thudding of the engine that makes my stomach churn like really bad bass.

It doesn’t matter how often i emailed, how desperately I tried to explain what it’s doing to us they really weren’t interested. They constructed a pathway a little bit further along which I assume is for the driver to get out and walk to the other end of the train. This is rarely used, we weren’t able to use our little garden this past summer, the only bit of outdoor space for us given we had to isolate due to being on the vulnerable register. I told them this bit they didn’t care.

I asked if they could simply just stop the engine, give us a break from all the noise but that didn’t happen. Please find a way to resolve this, help us sleep and be able to relax in our own homes again. It’s been hell, absolute hell and they simply don’t care. A whole year, 365 very long miserable days of that awful noise and lack of sleep.

Thank you so much for whatever you are able to do for us. You have no idea how much it would mean to have our lives back, to be able to recover from what this has done to us.”

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“I live nearby and for several months now the Transpennine Express train sits right at the bottom of my garden with the engine running for approximately 10 minutes every hour waiting for its line to clear. It starts at 0550hrs every morning.

I know that you have been asked about this before but is it to continue? I’m sure that there are alternatives which could be used given the nuisance that this is creating.”

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“I meant to contact you sometime ago about the train that now waits outside the station at Redcar central every hour on the hour from 5.55 am to 10.55pm

The train stops directly opposite my kitchen window and through the summer the drivers cabin has been hidden by trees but I fear as the season changes my kitchen will be visible to the train and any one on it.

I appreciate that trains do go past my house but I find it very intrusive when one stops outside revving its engine and idling for up to 10 minutes each hour and can see directly into my house

Is there anything being done about the situation? I am now working from home and its very distracting to have this noise interrupting my team meetings etc I am unable to have the window open ?

I wouldn’t normally complain and sometimes depending on the driver they turn the engine off but that’s far and few between but it does help a little. Surely the train could stop in a rural area or before Redcar near warrenby”

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“The noise from the train has become a nuisance throughout the day, as early as 5:30pm, it sits directly opposite my home. Partner and I work 12 hr day and night shifts and have our sleep disturbed before going back to work on another 12hr shift. We cant have the windows open with the increase road traffic, which is a nightmare already now we its trains sitting idle for hours in a 24 hr period. Please can you ask the National Rail, to keep the trains idle away from residential areas, or not come through at all because there are no one getting on the trains anyway.”

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“Hiya Carl, whats the best route for providing feedback about noise pollution? I’m quite sure it’s known about the train regularly situated stationery at the bottom of our estate but the revving of the engine makes the low vibrating hum that we can all hear above the general noise of it even worse. I’m not sure why the engines do that, I’ve no idea if they have to and I understand there is apparently a requirement for the train to be there and for it to be continuously running to some extent…but it’s starting to get tiresome.

I haven’t complained or anything before, I don’t mind a bit of general noise pollution but the tone/hum and pulsing coming from the engine is starting to chase problems with work and also giving both me and my partner headaches….which we don’t need an excuse to suffer from at the best of times.

Is there anything that you can suggest? The train may not be there 100% of the time but it only has to appear once or twice and pulse/rev the engines like it does for the affects to be felt for the rest of the day.”

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“I have lived in nearby for some 63 years. The sound of trains going along the line at the end of the street is something which residents become familiar with over time.

I recall a couple of decades ago becoming aware of the trains when the Potash industry started up, but over time, everyone got used to them.

The new service from Redcar Central to Manchester was very much a welcomed boost for our town. Originally it had been planned that the service would start from Saltburn, but because the bridge at Marske wouldn’t take the weight of said Transpennine Train, Redcar Central became its start/end point – great!

Not so great is the fact that the train waits for around 20 minutes each hour at the bottom of our street, I dread to think how the poor folks living on Birdsall Row which faces the railway line, feel about this. The fact that the trains were reduced to around two or three a day when the lockdown commenced, did help, but they are now more or less back to their original timetable and the noise / pollution has returned and neither is welcome to be honest.”

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“A problem has arisen with what appear to be Trans Pennine trains travelling East but parking at the bottom of Lord street just before the Level crossing on Redcar Lane. They are stationary but still have their engines running. This is not only noisy but, more importantly, it is detrimental to the environment.”

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“Trains need to move out of platform 2 at Redcar to allow northern services to pass through on time. An ideal solution would be a dedicated platform for T P trains to terminate and wait for return journey…or go through to Saltburn as originally planned! In which case Everyone’s a winner.”

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“We live nearby and the noise is annoying. It’s a constant low bass noise that rumbles through the house. It’s worse in the morning and later in the evening but we have to sometimes turn the TV up a bit to drown it out.

I honestly don’t know know why they have to sit there. I don’t think any local services pass when it’s stopped. “

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“I’ve been trying to complain about it since it started but the council said it had nothing to do with them when I called and I didn’t know where else to go.

It’s an absolute nuisance, we live nearby, close to the train line. It wakes me up each morning at ten to 6, then ten to seven. I can’t have the windows open in my bedroom anymore. It’s constant ‘reving’ while it’s stationary is incredibly loud. “

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“I’m a resident and daily from possibly 7am-10pm the Manchester train sits from 10 to the hour until on the hour revving.

Its ridiculously irritating and i can hear it over the tv, no matter where i am in the house i can hear it.

I’m just emailing to register my complaint as surely the train can wait elsewhere if theyre unable to turn it off? There must be another part of track they can wait on?

Its annoying as i only get 3 days off a week and instead of being able to relax every hour without fail im getting agitated at the constant revving. “

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“I have been trying to find the best way to raise this issue so I was glad to see your post about this.

I’m reluctant to complain after Redcar managing time secure the trains coming here, but I am constantly woken at 530am by the trains. They park up for 10-15 minutes with the engines running.

My alarm is set for 630, ready for a day at work, so it means an unsettled morning, and an early start most days when I can’t get back to sleep.

On a weekend, it seems to be every hour so no chance of a lie-in. I’m not sure what the solution is as I’m sure they would disturb somebody no matter where they parked up.”

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“I am a resident in Redcar. I am unsure which of you would cover the issue of the Redcar Central train station.

I am wanting to raise concerns over noise and vibrations caused by the Manchester Airport Train. I’ve lived in Sandringham Road for 16 years and whilst the noise of local and freight trains has always been there, it has never bothered me or other residents. However, since the introduction of the new service to Manchester airport this has changed.

This service arrives at the station sometimes up to 45 minutes before departure. This morning it arrived at 5:21am for a departure time of 6:06am. The train then proceeded to sit at the platform for the full 45 minutes with its engine running, making a pulsing noise and vibrating through into local properties. Myself and other residents have suffered this for some time and feel now it has got to the point where it requires addressing.

I understand that this service is a welcome boost to Redcar (albeit under normal non-Coronavirus circumstances) and fully support it. However, I fail to see any benefit in the complete and utter waste of fuel and associated noise and environmental pollution caused by sitting at the platform with the engine running for such a long time.

I hope you can bring this to the attention of the local railway authorities and request that consideration for local residents and the environment can bring about changes to this situation.”

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“Am not sure how much longer our household can cope with this train. It’s been months now of being woke up at 5.30am!! Then hearing it again a hr later. The noise is over 80 decibels. I get they hav to. But there has been no standing train there all the years we moved here. Not even when they started the train service.

Its effecting our boy and my mental health. I feel like crying every morning and today we maybe looking to sell!! But who will buy a house that has a train that stops from 5.30am every hour!!! We wont get the money for the house as no one will buy it or we will have to lower the price…”

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“I am sending you an email as I am at my wits end with the noise we get from the Manchester train. I live nearby in Redcar.

We have lived here since 2013. We knew when we brought the place that we was living next to a train track and has asked the neighbours how noisy it was etc. We have lived here and never bothered us with the noise from the trains or the fright train. The noise from them doesn’t last long. Even when on the few occasions trains have has to stop at the sidings never hear that much noise.

When there was talk of there being a train going from Redcar to Manchester Airport we never heard it. I didn’t even know it was running. That is until Lockdown in March and the trains stopped. When they started again the Manchester train stops at the sidings. Starting from 5.30AM staying there for nearly 30 mins. This happened each hour up to 10pm! Everyday. Now after complaining and talking to the train company and others doing so, it was agreed that they would leave one engine on. I am not sure this happening. The noise is over 80 decibels with can lead to mental health issues and insomnia.

I understand the reason for having to run the engine due to risk of not starting BUT why is there a issue now and not before lockdown?? Why run so early??

As residents we was not informed by the council that there would be a train stopping for nearly 30 mins each hour with its engines on from 5.30am till 10pm. We have not been given the chance to appose this or even move. I can’t sell my home for the value it would of gone for before this as who would want to buy a home that has a train that is so noisy that you can hear it even when have the TV on, washing machine and doesn’t make a difference which room your in.

I do not know how much longer our family can deal with this. Our health is being affected. My child’s life is being effected. He is 5 years old and it wakes him each morning. There needs answers to this and to why know is doing anything. Our lives matter!!”

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“Months ago when the trans Pennine express started I contacted Northern rail and trans Pennine and the both fobbed me off, both were saying nothing to do with us, so I give up I am glad now to here someone is trying to do something about this.

I’m sick of being woken up at 05:30 with the house vibrating then the noise of the train, luckily sometimes the driver parks down at Muriel Street and I here a little noise in the back ground but just to share the discomfort he’s back up to my street by 05:45.

I would love to who the driver is because sometimes he sits there for 20 minutes revving the engine why? How would he like me outside his house at 05:30 revving my car? What was wrong with getting the trans Pennine express at Middlesbrough like we used to do.

I would also love to know how many people use this train that early in the morning, especially during a pandemic? This is having a bad effect on my life and my girlfriend will no longer sleep over at my house due to the early trains”

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“I live in a small block of flats in Redcar. I have lived here since 1992 and the back of the property backs on to the railway line, so obviously, after all these years I am very used to the trains passing regularly throughout every day, that is until the transpennine train started stopping here every hour of every day bar Sunday.

This is now turning into a nightmare. I am woken up every morning at around 5.30 a.m where the train stops outside my bedroom with it’s engines throbbing for over half an hour making sleep absolutely impossible.

Exactly why does it have to stop outside a high residential area with no thought to the people that live here, nobody was consulted about it, is it a permanent thing? I am sure it does not stop at any of the stations between Middlesbrough and Redcar so why can it not stop at Middlesbrough train station – that’s what a station is for and outside my back garden is not a train station.

I know that none of this is any fault of yours and I do apologise for sounding off but I am now just so fed up with it all. Can you please, please pass this complaint to whom it may concern. How can you possibly contribute to a good days work when you are suffering from sleep deprivation.”

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“I am so glad that somebody has raised this concern. Unfortunately I am unable to attend this meeting but please include my frustration and anger at this continual noise pollution.

When I am working from home I can feel the vibration of the train and hear the engine most days as well as having to tolerate it from the first train in the early morning!!

The first train arrives at approximately 5.20am and the engine vibrates or occasionally revs it’s engine until departure at 5.56am!

Often you feel the vibration of the engine too. Even if the train doesn’t start at Saltburn surely to goodness they could at least turn the engine off??”

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“I would like you to add our complaint to the many about the trans penine trains . The smell is disgusting the constant noise of the engine when they are idling and the early morning train about 5 am waking us up and this is constant as I’m sure you know also the dirt that is in the air coming into our property now because of them”

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“I am a resident close to Redcar Central Station, my garden backing onto the tracks. Since moving to my current property ten years ago I have always enjoyed the proximity of the trains passing by. We have always had trains running by during the night as the line is used by the pot ash trains which are very loud and have many carriages. Although these trains are very loud, they pass by and are gone quickly. I have never had a problem with this issue, feeling it is to be expected living beside the tracks.

The new transpennne train which is running every hour from Redcar Central from the early hours of the morning is completely different to anything previously experienced here living close to the tracks. The train arrives ahead of time, ready to set off on the hour. Whereas other trains pass, this one parks and stays directly behind my house. The lights are on and the engines are running.

I cannot begin to explain how much this is affecting sleep in my household as well as an unsettling overall sense of intrusion from this new phenomenon. I can tell when the train is present from the rooms at the front of my home purely by the constant, unsettling murmur that can be felt throughout the house.

Clearly sitting in the garden has also been completely spoiled by this invasive noise as well as the train windows overlooking our garden in this overpowering way.

I do not know if this is the correct place to write to to voice my concerns and issues concerning this train service. I am completely aware that this service is good progress in connectivity for my area to Manchester and welcome it in principle. I would like to know if any consideration was given to the residents who are being negatively affected by this train ‘idling’ so close to people’s homes and if any consultation was sought. “

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“The train often idles right outside My house. It has been an issue from the day it started and no thought has been given to local properties it impacts.

I work shifts taking me out of the house for 11 ½ hours or so. I’m very active at work so fatigue can be an issue with my driving or management. After shifts I often “should” be sleeping morning or afternoon… and this train interrupts my sleep as it sits long enough for the noise and vibrations to be sure to wake me.

I have written to both Northern Rail. ( Its their Track) and Transpennine and basically been fobbed off with “ There’s nothing can be done”. Both myself and my wife find our sleep disturbed on a regular basis and I worry about the amount of pollution getting pushed out right by my Garden.

Any pressure you can bring to get them to simply stay in Redcar or go to Saltburn and back for the sake of effected residents would be very welcome.”

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“I am messaging you with my experience with the train. The train is not only a noise pollutant but causes the alleyway to be dirty. The house shakes because of this train. It’s every single hour and even hours that I should not be woken up.

It can wake me up as early as half past five in the morning and keeps me awake until six maybe even later. It wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t out the back of my house but it is. I’ve logged multiple complaints to transpennine but they have disregarded them and even stated that it’s not their problem. If you need anymore information from me I’ll happily send more.”

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“I would like to register a complaint. I live nearby the footbridge at the bottom of Charles street. Trains stop with their engines running before moving on towards Middlesbrough. This leads to noise and vibrates my flat. Could this be damaging the foundations? It would be useful if engines could be switched off until it is time to move on.”

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“We spoke earlier today about my window break caused by the vibrations of a transpennine train. It was on Saturday 7 November and it was the 6.07 from Redcar to Manchester. It arrived about 5.20 , and was causing massive vibrations. It parked up outside my flat with engines revving. Laid in bed I heard a loud crack. It was the inside pane of glass in my double glazing in the bathroom.

I took a number of photos at about 5.45 but the light wasn’t great so the best shot I got was this one later in the morning. I’ve had extensive correspondence with transpennine trains, so far with no effect.”

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“Our main objection is that this train was suppose to be running from Saltburn by now.It stops in the siding which is directly opposite the rear of our properties. This train runs every hour from 5.30 AM until 10.00PM everyday, while it is stood the engines are revving and there’s a terrible smell of diesel which is impacting on our daily lives.We would like to know when the train will eventually travel onto Saltburn.”

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“The noise from the train wakes me up most mornings from as early as 5.20am this has a massive affect on my life and means I’m shattered at work. I end up going to bed at 9pm to try and catch up on my sleep and often get woken up at 9.50pm by the last train. Thanks and I hope you have some joy solving this noise problem as I can imagine it is impacting 1000s of people in the surrounding area.”

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“Good day. I would like to add my concerns and complaints. Even though I am not right next to the rail line, the noise and vibration often wakes me. I’m in my 80s and have even tried changing the room I sleep in to no avail.

I’ve lived here for years and the normal trains passing by have never been an issue, it’s the fact sitting there that’s making it so invasive. Thank you”

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“Hi Carl
Thank you again for what you are achieving for us. Whilst every 2 hours during the day helps can you see the issue with that early train? That’s right outside my bungalow and we’ve had 13 months of being woken up to that awful noise, the vibrations and the fact that they control my sleep.

Why oh why can’t they just turn their engines off for those 2 early trains, especially that first one that sits there for so long? It seems to me that for the benefit of the few using that service that we have to endure all this all day every day. The service shouldn’t have begun until they had the station sorted at Saltburn.

Why can’t the first and last train terminate at Middlesbrough until they have Saltburn resolved? It’s so wrong on every level that we have had to endure this for so long, have to continue to do so with no end date.”

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“Dear Councillor,

” Using my invitation, I am making the strongest of complaint and reservation against First Trust, operators of the above. From 5.30 in the morning to the late hours of the evening we are being bombarded each hour for at least ten minutes with the reverberation, vibration, noise and fumes that comes from these idling diesel engines.


“As I write this email, there is an engine right now doing exactly just that. I can hear the noise over the television and feel the constant vibration through my home. This is now a daily, hourly distraction that is having an impact on my quality of home life. Further, having my sleep interrupted every morning does not make for a good day. There must me dozens of families in the vicinity affected by this, let alone any health implications that may come about.

“Importantly how does this impact on children I wonder? I am not sure how the law may work in this instance but surely there is a moral implication against this, any health issues go with out saying. First Line now need to make alternative arrangements to idle their engines away from peoples homes.”

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“Hi Carl it was great to meet you last week at the end of The Avenue regarding the disruption caused by the Transpennine train. It is heartening that you are taking the concerns of a great number of residents seriously. It does seem that with the seasonal darker mornings the noise pollution is greatly enhanced especially from 5.30 am. This particular train stands ticking over for 30 minutes which has the effect of waking most people up, even myself as quite a heavy sleeper it’s almost impossible to escape the noise intrusion from this excessive sound.

“As I explained to your goodself I have a background in not only commercial vehicles but also motor sport and as such I have vast experience in noise testing and have arranged the use of a Motorsport Association portable noise testing machine as I am convinced that the sound emitted is far in excess of most road vehicles. The pollution aspect is also a prime concern as I understand that there are up to six large diesel motors left running with the smoke drifting over the surrounding houses.

“I understand that we live next to a railway track and as such accept that there is always going to be an element of both noise and pollution but as this is usually only a brief intrusion as the trains pass. This is a completely different scenario as the train is parked here every hour during the day which was never ever mentioned beforehand. Please let me know if there is anything I can assist you with on this issue.”

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Further reading:

https://diaryofacouncillor.com/2021/01/14/transpennine-train-concern-meetings-and-correspondence-timeline/

https://diaryofacouncillor.com/2020/08/25/transpennine-trains-noise-nuisance-in-redcar/

21st January 2021 https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/train-services-could-halved-because-19668411

https://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/19065628.saltburn-rail-extension-still-way-line/

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/nightmare-train-set-change-tackle-19798174

4 comments

  1. I canot swallow the TPE assesrtion that the “bridgeat Marske would be unable to take the weight of their units”. That bridge (I assume the one at the eastern end of Marske station) already takes full loaded heavy rail freight movements from Boulby Potash and Sknningrove Rollng Mills, all far heavier than the modern in general lightweight TPE units, as well as the normal NR services. Frankly, extending the service non-stop to Saltburn – which has two platform faces – would both better extend the service and give a facility for waiting before a turnaround.

    Liked by 1 person

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