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Families in Walthamstow say they are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of freight trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.
Residents are concerned about the impact of the vibrations from the track. Left to right: Lara Pawson, Rachel, Sophia and Lawrence Wedderburn and Farida Ibrahim.
FAMILIES living near a railway line used to transport heavy freight at night have demanded action to help stop their homes “shaking like an earthquake”.
Households next to the Gospel Oak to Barking line in Walthamstow are getting increasingly concerned following an apparent rise in the frequency, length and weight of the goods trains which thunder along the track.
They claim that Network Rail, which is responsible for maintaining the route, admitted last autumn that the track needs repairing, and they are also calling for official monitoring of the vibrations.
Rachel Wedderburn, 46, of Melford Road, said: “I've lived here 10 years. Before it was a very quiet road and there was only one freight train which went past at 9.30pm every Tuesday.
“But a few years ago it all started to change, and now we've got trains going past at times like 4am waking us up.
“I started to notice cracks appearing in the house coinciding with the increased vibration, and I can't even open my back door properly now without forcing it. When I've spoken to other neighbours they've also experienced the same problems.”
Lara Pawson, 44, of nearby Woodville Road, said: “I support the use of railways to transport stuff, however since they increased the length of the trains it has become a serious problem.
“Particularly at night they seem to go past for a very long time and we can feel the house shaking. The first time it happened we wondered if it was a small earthquake.
“One structural engineer said there were things that Network Rail could potentially do with the track to alleviate the problem, so they need to make sure it's actually able to cope with the extra loads.
“We also need real monitoring and testing to see if the cracks in people's homes are related to the vibrations and if it is dangerous.”
Campaigners are urging residents to attend a public meeting with representatives from Network Rail to discuss the problem. It will be held this Friday (July 13) at 5.30pm in Room 2B at Waltham Forest Town Hall in Walthamstow.
The Guardian is awaiting a comment from Network Rail.