The Silence of the Tubes

One of the biggest complaints about travelling on the London Underground is the noise in the carriages when the train goes over certain areas of the tracks. Exactly what can be done today and the associated costs and logistics I will leave to Transport for London or TFL. What I would like to highlight here, is that not only is there a solution to this problem, but it was cured around the year 1900. And what’s more, it still works.

    So, what was the driving force behind this solution? This is not going to come as a big surprise, for it was demanded by Members of Parliament and the barristers at the Inns of Court; Middle Temple and Inner Temple. At around this time, the District Line was close to opening and its route would take it close to both of these institutions. They got together and told the rail companies that if the noise and vibration from the trains was not countered, then they would be banned from tunnelling under Parliament Square and the Inns of Court.

District Line Today

    Unsurprisingly, they got their way. This was in complete contrast to all the other objections laid before the rail companies. In each of those cases, the application for a diversion was rejected. The rail companies needed to dig under both Parliament Square and the Inns of Court. So, what was the solution to the problem of noise and vibration?

    It came in the form of trees or to be more precise, finely chopped up tree bark. This was laid underneath the tracks and it then provided a layer which cut both the noise and vibration down. The bad news for the rest of us mortals was that it only covered Westminster to Temple. So, does it still work? It does and if you take the District Line today, you should notice a reduction in noise and vibration between the two areas. After that, then it is likely to get noisy again.

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