ALL ABOARD THE SCREAM TRAIN!: Transport agency to fix screeching track problem in east London


London, United Kingdom



Commuters using the London Underground’s Central metro (Tube) line between Wanstead and Leytonstone stations may be familiar with the ear-splitting screeching noise rising up from the tracks as they pass through, and the noise has long been a source of contention between the transport agency responsible for the Tube, Transport for London (TfL) , and passengers’ groups. The banshee/scraping yaw has also antagonised local residents living near the tracks for several years, prompting a series of complaints to the agency that oversees London’s transport network, including its famous underground tube train system. The good news, TfL has now proposed a solution to the problem, the Ilford Recorder reports.

The organisation has announced that it will replace the offending track between Wanstead and Leytonstone via a special upgrade, much to the delight of commuters, who already have to also contend with the sauna-like conditions of Central Line trains, especially during the summer.

photo of train track subway
Photo by anna-m. w. on


The Wanstead-Leytonstone stretch in east London is considered the noisiest part of the Underground today, and the problem was reported on for several years as complaints reached TfL from local residents driven mad by the constant screeching of passing trains. TfL tried to tackle the problem by placing insulation in the tunnels, but this failed.

Now the body will order new track and will use the materials to overhaul the line between the two eastern stations for trains travelling both west- and eastbound. The works will take place within four to six weeks after the track is delivered into TfL’s custody and occur on weekday evenings. TfL confirmed that passengers will not face any disruption or train cancellations to their journeys while track replacement is going on.

The body’s head of line operations, Dan Smith, told the Recorder: “We did noise testing and this section is the noisiest part of the underground,’

‘We will take all the old track out and put new track in.’

‘We will be installing noise-absorbing padding which will help buffer sound.”

Local councillor Khayer Chowdhury, who is working with TfL on their overhaul plans for the screeching trains of east London, told the paper: “Noise issues in the tunnel between Wanstead and Leytonstone have been a priority… for many years now.

“I am glad we have been able to work with our TfL partners to bring this new technology to use in our borough.

“Following a successful pilot at Bethnal Green, I am confident passengers underground and residents overground will have a quieter experience of the Central line.

“I ask people to bear with us while these works are carried out over the coming months and hopefully by the end of this year, the works will be finished.”

TfL previously said in relation to earlier complaints: “We try and be a good neighbour to people living by the tube and we were getting complaints about vibrations.

‘You can’t stop energy you can just transfer it and we have been working really hard to find a solution.”



Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc.

“TfL will replace Central line track between Wanstead and Leytonstone to combat screeching noise” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (2 August 2019)


anna-m. w./Pexels.

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