Parents fear train line will cause havoc during lessons

Leanne McClements, pictured with 11-month-old son Rowan, is concerned that noise and vibrations from trains will affect children at Wolvercote Primary School

Leanne McClements, pictured with 11-month-old son Rowan, is concerned that noise and vibrations from trains will affect children at Wolvercote Primary School

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

VIBRATIONS and noise from a nearby railway line will disturb school lessons, parents fear.

Wolvercote Primary School hopes to build new classrooms, but they could end up near to a train line that is being upgraded.

Chiltern Railways and Network Rail are working to double track the line between Oxford and Bicester, which passes through the area.

Meanwhile, the school is hoping to replace its reception class buildings to take on more pupils – which would place it right next to the upgraded line.

Mother-of-two Leanne McClements has claimed that nothing has been proposed to dampen noise and vibrations coming from the nearby line when it is finished.

The 39-year-old, who lives in a neighbouring complex of flats, said: “I am very concerned about the affect of noise and vibrations on our children and our properties.

“We could end up with children trying to learn with a lot of noise every 15 minutes, throughout the school day. I do not think that is acceptable.

“It seems to me that the two schemes (the school extension and the rail works) should be taken into account together, but that does not seem to have happened.”

After a public consultation in 2013, Oxfordshire County Council decided to expand Wolvercote Primary School so it could cater for more pupils.

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It will demolish its existing nursery building and build new classrooms next to the neighbouring railway line on the east side of the school grounds.

In its planning application, the school said it had consulted on the plans with Network Rail.

It also commissioned a noise assessment, done by consultancy firm Cole Jarman.

The assessment said: “(The building) will be in close proximity to the eastern boundary of the site and the rail lines in cutting beyond.”

The firm added that trains could also run “much faster”, possibly at 100mph, than current services which go past the school, but that some protection from noise was given by greenery.

It recommended the expansion go ahead, but warned: “Current noise levels are at the threshold of where single-sided natural ventilation via open windows would be acceptable... With changes to the train line, the noise climate will increase.”

The city council will decide whether noise and vibration mitigation measures are required later this year.

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Comments (6)

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7:01am Tue 1 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Railway noise isn't anything like road noise for distraction, in early course the line will be electrified too*. The best option for the classrooms is probably triple glazing and air-conditioning if it is felt truly necessary.

The biggest worry for most parents will be the council's stance on the current pedestrian level crossing which is being kept open as the council's bargaining tool.


*Electrification will no doubt be subject to the traditional vexatious activism in Oxford. Just wait for the photographs in this paper of misery and upturned noses as "Activists" point to the industrial catenary alongside Port Meadow.
Railway noise isn't anything like road noise for distraction, in early course the line will be electrified too*. The best option for the classrooms is probably triple glazing and air-conditioning if it is felt truly necessary. The biggest worry for most parents will be the council's stance on the current pedestrian level crossing which is being kept open as the council's bargaining tool. *Electrification will no doubt be subject to the traditional vexatious activism in Oxford. Just wait for the photographs in this paper of misery and upturned noses as "Activists" point to the industrial catenary alongside Port Meadow. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

8:40am Tue 1 Jul 14

thomashenry says...

I bought a house right by the rail station. Before I moved in I was a bit worried about train noise. Within a week, I had stopped even noticing the trains at all.

It's not an issue. Parents need not worry, and would be advised not to expend energy complaining about it.
I bought a house right by the rail station. Before I moved in I was a bit worried about train noise. Within a week, I had stopped even noticing the trains at all. It's not an issue. Parents need not worry, and would be advised not to expend energy complaining about it. thomashenry
  • Score: 6

10:55am Tue 1 Jul 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

What a load of tosh, a train going past ever 15 minutes isn't going to cause any problems what-so-ever........
What a load of tosh, a train going past ever 15 minutes isn't going to cause any problems what-so-ever........ Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 2

1:11pm Tue 1 Jul 14

ElderP says...

Perhaps Wolvercote Primary should have a chat with Phil and Jim's Primary, which was built new, next to the main line a few miles south, and see how they cope with train noise.
Like thomashenry, I too lived adjacent to the railway line near the station. The units that will be running on this line will not be much noisier than a bus going by.
Perhaps Wolvercote Primary should have a chat with Phil and Jim's Primary, which was built new, next to the main line a few miles south, and see how they cope with train noise. Like thomashenry, I too lived adjacent to the railway line near the station. The units that will be running on this line will not be much noisier than a bus going by. ElderP
  • Score: 3

1:12pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Neonlights says...

"the school is hoping to replace its reception class buildings to take on more pupils – which would place it right next to the upgraded line. "

Well build the reception class buildings somewhere else away from the upgraded line then.
"the school is hoping to replace its reception class buildings to take on more pupils – which would place it right next to the upgraded line. " Well build the reception class buildings somewhere else away from the upgraded line then. Neonlights
  • Score: 2

6:36pm Tue 1 Jul 14

King Joke says...

Trust me, when you hear a noise every fifteen minutes, all day, every day, you will soon filter it out. I grew up with the East Coast Main Line behind my house, in the Deltic days. You got used to even these howling past. Modern trains are much quieter.
Trust me, when you hear a noise every fifteen minutes, all day, every day, you will soon filter it out. I grew up with the East Coast Main Line behind my house, in the Deltic days. You got used to even these howling past. Modern trains are much quieter. King Joke
  • Score: 2

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