Freight trains causing house to shake?

sitchen

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2 Sep 2020
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London
A strange earthquake-type shaking has begun happening on seemingly unrelated nights during the last few months. I live close to the tracks just south of Shepherd's Bush overground station and suspect it may be loaded freight trains. However, it is rare enough that I am unsure whether this is the case. I also looked up the timetables for freight trains around that time and it seems there were none that passed. Can anyone suggest what this might be?

Extra information:
  • I live on the 3rd floor of an old victorian-ish type terraced house
  • I'v lived in the house for about a year before this started happening
  • My flatmate and I both notice each time it happens, so it is unlikely that we are noticing just some of the shakes
  • Occurences of the shakes:
    • 02/09/20 00:15
    • 07/08/20 00:22
    • 05/08/20 00:26
Thanks for any thoughts you guys might have!
 
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lxfe_mxtterz

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Unlikely to be the problem in your case, with the occurrences being rather far apart, but I remember the first time I moved into a house on a busy main road, passing lorries often caused the house to shake a bit. Got used to it pretty quickly though, and hardly noticed it after that.
 

Gems

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It's not unlikely you are noticing just some of the shakes. Let's call these happening earth tremors for clarity. Tremors move through the ground at various frequencies. Specific frequency's can cause vibrations which is what you are noticing. Slightly different speeds of a freight train plus weight difference can cause different vibration frequencies,
A freight train is a possibility. So is any nearby tunnelling, Heavy lorries is another.
 

GRALISTAIR

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It's not unlikely you are noticing just some of the shakes. Let's call these happening earth tremors for clarity. Tremors move through the ground at various frequencies. Specific frequency's can cause vibrations which is what you are noticing. Slightly different speeds of a freight train plus weight difference can cause different vibration frequencies,
A freight train is a possibility. So is any nearby tunnelling, Heavy lorries is another.

This is my thought on the subject too. We have a house in the UK still - it backs onto the WCML north of Preston! We get tremors
 

Tom Maddox

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I get tremors too from a 66 hauling a fully laden sand train going past the bottom of my garden each weekday morning. Was unsettling at first but used to it now.
 

Darandio

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Surely those of you replying above also hear these trains as well, so know what is causing it? I'd have expected the same from the OP considering they live close to the tracks. Unless there are hearing issues of course.
 

Kingsbury Jn.

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We get similar effects from the rail line at the bottom of my garden (B'ham-Derby). Network Rail are part way through track and ballast renewals in our immediate area and the recent replacement of the Derby-bound line had reduced the vibrations quite considerably. Being a former mining area does add to the issues somewhat.
 

55002

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Ldn
A strange earthquake-type shaking has begun happening on seemingly unrelated nights during the last few months. I live close to the tracks just south of Shepherd's Bush overground station and suspect it may be loaded freight trains. However, it is rare enough that I am unsure whether this is the case. I also looked up the timetables for freight trains around that time and it seems there were none that passed. Can anyone suggest what this might be?

Extra information:
  • I live on the 3rd floor of an old victorian-ish type terraced house
  • I'v lived in the house for about a year before this started happening
  • My flatmate and I both notice each time it happens, so it is unlikely that we are noticing just some of the shakes
  • Occurences of the shakes:
    • 02/09/20 00:15
    • 07/08/20 00:22
    • 05/08/20 00:26
Thanks for any thoughts you guys might have!
there was a freight train from Angerstein Wharf to Scunthorpe Roxby Gullet, which is a landfill site about that time this morning. I would have thought the heavier stone trains would,cause more vibrations though
 

Bedpan

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We used to live right next to a railway line which was on a curve with a 30 mph speed limit. The back wall of the house was six feet from the boundary wall between our property and the railway. The net result was that when the trains went past, which was every 30 minutes, the wheel on rail noise created a low rumbling noise, and the house used to vibrate such that any pieces of china on the dresser which happened to be touching each other would make a chinking sound. Many a visitor jumped put of their seat in terror, particularly if they had no idea that there was a railway line there, and we had made a point of making sure that as many glasses in the dresser as possible were touching to gain maximum effect.

Maybe your neighbour has a new girlfriend?
Absolute cracker!
 

Nottingham59

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just south of Shepherd's Bush overground station
If there was no obvious freight train on the overground line, my thought would be that the Underground Central line runs to the south of the Overground Station. Are you above the track there? Maybe there is some occasional overnight track maintenance or reconstruction works that are causing this.
 
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Yes, I would have thought that if you can feel vibrations but hear no obvious noise (living next to the line), one line of enquiry would be tunnels below. As well as the Central Line (obvious culprit from your description), there is also a new electrical 'ring main' being built under London at the moment so you could check the alignment of this. But, from the clues in the post, I would incline towards an Underground works train (hauled by a battery locomotive, which are quite heavy).
 

swt_passenger

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If there was no obvious freight train on the overground line, my thought would be that the Underground Central line runs to the south of the Overground Station. Are you above the track there? Maybe there is some occasional overnight track maintenance or reconstruction works that are causing this.
There was an obvious freight, post #9. Passed at the right time.
 

sitchen

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Thanks all for your suggestions. The overground tracks are 65m away, and the central line track perhaps 100-125m away. We never hear a sound but this is a noisy area. Interesting ideas on the frequency of the vibrations of specific freight trains and the possibility of it being an underground works train. More than anything it bothers me that I can't confirm the origin - the tremors themselves aren't too unsettling since they are so infrequent.
 

30907

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Thanks all for your suggestions. The overground tracks are 65m away, and the central line track perhaps 100-125m away. We never hear a sound but this is a noisy area. Interesting ideas on the frequency of the vibrations of specific freight trains and the possibility of it being an underground works train. More than anything it bothers me that I can't confirm the origin - the tremors themselves aren't too unsettling since they are so infrequent.
The freight referred to in #9 appears if you use Open Train Times and search using Kensington O (which is a timing point) but I can't get it to show on RealTimeTrains at all (and yes, I checked yesterday for 27 Aug) which is really strange. Wrong date,sorry! I think we have the reason for the earth moving :)
 
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DaveB10780

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Reminds me of a terraced cottage I bought in Buxworth some 35 years ago near the tracks. Of course you normally only look at houses during the day. So when I was woken up at 0600 on my first night with the whole house shaking and the windows rattling it was a little disturbing. It seemed to be the local stone train passing by early doors. After a little reflection I reckoned that the cottage had been standing over 100 years so was likely to carry on OK and so it has though I have moved elsewhere now.
 

P Binnersley

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there was a freight train from Angerstein Wharf to Scunthorpe Roxby Gullet, which is a landfill site about that time this morning. I would have thought the heavier stone trains would,cause more vibrations though
Real time trains shows it as 00:14 through Kensington Olympia on 02/09/20. Doesn't go back as far as August.
 

TBY-Paul

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In light of today's news about an 3.9 earthquake in Southern England, I wonder if it was some sort of pre-cursor.
 

PartyOperator

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In light of today's news about an 3.9 earthquake in Southern England, I wonder if it was some sort of pre-cursor.
From the BGS site, it seems to have been very close to the WCML too. 10km deep so clearly nothing to do with the railway, but I wonder if anyone on the railway noticed it. Highly unlikely to have had anything to do with something felt in London - the UK doesn't have the kind of long fault lines that other places do.

 

Bedpan

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Reminds me of a terraced cottage I bought in Buxworth some 35 years ago near the tracks. Of course you normally only look at houses during the day. So when I was woken up at 0600 on my first night with the whole house shaking and the windows rattling it was a little disturbing. It seemed to be the local stone train passing by early doors. After a little reflection I reckoned that the cottage had been standing over 100 years so was likely to carry on OK and so it has though I have moved elsewhere now.
DaveB10780 - Completely and utterly off topic, but if you live/lived in the Buxworth area, have you read the crime novel The Murder Road by Stephen Booth? Although there is some poetic licence, you should be able to identify with the various locations.

Thanks all for your suggestions. The overground tracks are 65m away, and the central line track perhaps 100-125m away. We never hear a sound but this is a noisy area. Interesting ideas on the frequency of the vibrations of specific freight trains and the possibility of it being an underground works train. More than anything it bothers me that I can't confirm the origin - the tremors themselves aren't too unsettling since they are so infrequent.
And back on topic, where I lives as described in post #11, we also had the LSWR main line on an embankment about 40 or 50 yards away, but I can't say that I can recall there having ever been any noticeable vibrations from passing trains on that line. Admittedly there was no freight traffic though apart from the odd engineers train.
 

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