Feb 4 2009 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Wednesday
COMPLAINTS about noise and vibrations caused by freight on the Stirling to Alloa rail line are to be the subject of a public meeting.
Since it opened in April last year the link has exceeded all expectations for passenger numbers.
However, its other function – to provide a route for freight travelling to Kincardine – has proven more controversial, with many householders living nearby complaining about the disruption it is causing.
Residents in Causewayhead have complained about trains running through the night, while others have suggested they are causing unacceptable shaking of their properties as they pass.
SNP councillor Jim Thomson has arranged a meeting to bring residents together with representatives of Clackmannanshire Council, Transport Scotland, Network Rail and Scottish Power, which transports coal on the line for use at Longannet Power Station.
This will be held in Logie Kirk Hall in Causewayhead at 7.30pm on Monday, February 16.
“Residents will be notified in advance, including those affected in Cambuskenneth by the failure of the barrier on Ladysneuk Road,” said Councillor Thomson, who added that Ochil MSP Keith Brown would also be there.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Richard Simpson said he had contacted Network Rail over the issue. He said: “I was involved with the original proposals for the Alloa rail link and I know that residents at that time had sought assurances that noise levels would be kept to a minimum during the night.”
Mac West, roads and transportation manager at Clackmannanshire Council, said they would monitor noise from the line at representative locations between Stirling and Longannet.
He said: “We won’t know the exact noise levels until after the noise measurements are carried out so at this stage I am unable to confirm whether or not noise insulation will be provided at any particular location.”
He said the line “has been constructed using best practice” to minimise vibration.
“When there are any complaints of excessive vibration Network Rail carry out surveys to ensure there are no defects contributing to the vibration,” he said.
“If there are they are resolved. If there are no defects, as is generally the case, then there is often very little that can be done to further reduce the impact of vibration.”
A spokesperson for Network Rail said they were aware of the residents complaints. They said: “We took possession of the line in April from project managers Transport Scotland and the local authority and they were really the ones who organised the timetable for freight and passenger traffic.
“Essentially at the moment we’re still compiling lists of issues, complaints and claims for compensation and will continue to do so for the next few months”.