Present loud stretches of rail

Philip

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One thing I miss about railways (both travelling on trains and living fairly close to a railway) is the 'roaring rail' noise which is a result of corrugation on the head of the rail, when the wheels pass over it at speed. It seemed to be fairly common place up until about 10-15 years ago, but I hardly ever hear it anywhere now, a shame because I didn't find it intrusive and it was a bit of a characteristic of railways in the 90s.

Does anyone have any good examples of locations where this is still present? I don't mean squealing around tight curves or bouncing over jointed track, just the roaring rail noise.

Also was this noise common in the 50s-60s when most of the stock was light coaches pulled by a loco on mainly jointed track?
 
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AM9

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One thing I miss about railways (both travelling on trains and living fairly close to a railway) is the 'roaring rail' noise which is a result of corrugation on the head of the rail, when the wheels pass over it at speed. It seemed to be fairly common place up until about 10-15 years ago, but I hardly ever hear it anywhere now, a shame because I didn't find it intrusive and it was a bit of a characteristic of railways in the 90s.

Does anyone have any good examples of locations where this is still present? I don't mean squealing around tight curves or bouncing over jointed track, just the roaring rail noise.

Also was this noise common in the 50s-60s when most of the stock was light coaches pulled by a loco on mainly jointed track?
I've never heard of somebody wanting rail roar, nor have I noticed less of it recently. Maybe you should find a section of recently ground track in a tunmnel, - it might cure this unusual desire. There's often sections of it on ther London Underground but as you are located in Manchester, maybe there are stretches of freshly ground rail over on the Merseyrail underground sections.
 

Mordac

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I've never heard of somebody wanting rail roar, nor have I noticed less of it recently. Maybe you should find a section of recently ground track in a tunmnel, - it might cure this unusual desire. There's often sections of it on ther London Underground but as you are located in Manchester, maybe there are stretches of freshly ground rail over on the Merseyrail underground sections.
A visit to the Glasgow Subway should work perfectly.
 

aleggatta

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going on that description, I think I would say that Cliftonville Tunnel is a good stretch, on the Down only, or at least it was last time I was on it, however that might be more due to coasting and rolling on flange around a bend than corrugation on the rail head, as this seems to be managed well with rail grinding to reduce stress fractures/cracks.
 

Ash Bridge

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I know exactly what you're referring to. I can't say I've heard this once common sound recently either, but two places that stick in mind locally where it used to be particularly bad were the Up Fast alongside the United Biscuits (McVities) bakery between Levenshulme and Heaton Chapel stations. The other being the Down Fast under Ash Bridge Heaton Norris on the Heaton Norris Junction-Guide Bridge line, my recollections are from the early 1970s to approximately 1980 period.
 

Sad Sprinter

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I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but the section between Wandsworth Common and Tooting Common on the Brighton Main Line through South London makes a 70mph EMU sound like it has a Diesel engine because of the rails.

The London Underground Rail roar makes a horrendous noise in some places.
 

richa2002

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Between Buckenham and Brundall heading towards Norwich still has this classic sound. Jolly loud it is too!
 

AM9

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I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but the section between Wandsworth Common and Tooting Common on the Brighton Main Line through South London makes a 70mph EMU sound like it has a Diesel engine because of the rails.

The London Underground Rail roar makes a horrendous noise in some places.
LU track roar in tube tunnels (i.e. not SSLs) probably breaks H&S limits for sound levels.
 

bramling

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LU track roar in tube tunnels (i.e. not SSLs) probably breaks H&S limits for sound levels.
I'm not convinced there's much "rail roar" on LU nowadays, in the traditionally understood sense at least.

On LU there a *lot* of rail grinding activity nowadays, the Victoria Line in particular almost sings to it. That line always was very bad for noisy rails (presumably due to the higher than average speeds), but the regular grinding seems to have reduced this, albeit replacing one set of noises with another!

Elsewhere, there's been a significant increase in noise on certain very specific sections of line, mainly curved sections. My understanding is this has been due to a change in the track form associated with the Night Tube, reducing vibration but at the cost of increasing noise. There's certainly a massive number of complaints coming in on a daily basis about this, and presumably solutions are being sought - clearly it's not a straightforward issue otherwise a solution would have happened by now, as this has been ongoing since the Night Tube came in.

Then there's the traditional rumble experienced on certain sections of line, mainly those with bull-head rail and a specific type of track form where the sleepers are concreted in with no ballast at all. There's still a few sections like this, albeit declining. Again, I think the noise comes from the track form as a whole rather than just the wheel interfacing with the rail.

Must admit of the sections I regularly traverse it's hard to readily think of *any* sections where there's roar of the traditional sort. The Terminal 4 loop (Hatton Cross to T123 via T4) used to have a very distinctive tune to it, been a little while since I last went round there so may have changed now. If it's still there then this is probably the best to be found on LU, especially if the driver goes round at full speed.

Thinking of the original question, on the mainline it certainly was the case that some of the sections of the slow lines between King's Cross and Peterborough were quite loud, generally those sections retaining wooden sleepers. There was a particularly loud stretch on the down slow around Welham Green. Nowadays virtually all my trips tend to be on the fast lines as I adjust my travels to use 365s as far as possible, so I can't readily say what the current situation is. I'd tentatively suggest Hitchin to Huntingdon on the slow lines might still be a good section, especially on a service which skips some of the intermediate stations (most of the evening peak KX-Peterborough GN fast services run on the down slow north of Woolmer Green).
 
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edwin_m

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Was the decline in rail roar from corrugation a consequence of extra rail grinding after Hatfield? I know that a newly-ground rail makes a somewhat similar sound, but it tends to disappear quite quickly as the grinding scars wear away.
 

AM9

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I'm not convinced there's much "rail roar" on LU nowadays, in the traditionally understood sense at least. ...
A few months ago I travelled on the Jubilee from North Greenwich to London Bridge and the roar was quite loud, - and that is on a relatively new and straight formation.
 

bramling

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A few months ago I travelled on the Jubilee from North Greenwich to London Bridge and the roar was quite loud, - and that is on a relatively new and straight formation.
Interesting, as just having a look at some diagrams I have this section has an identical track form to the T4 loop, and in terms of vintage it's only slightly more than a decade newer.

I do think a lot of the noise on LU is attributable to curves though. Even sections which may seem fairly straight in reality aren't, especially bearing in the mind the relatively high speeds trains run. Baker Street to Bond Street for example is pretty much curved throughout, taking an ostensibly bizarre route in order to minimise curvature to a certain radius allowing high-speed running, but in so doing still creating a setup which can't be wonderful for the track.
 

AM9

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Interesting, as just having a look at some diagrams I have this section has an identical track form to the T4 loop, and in terms of vintage it's only slightly more than a decade newer.

I do think a lot of the noise on LU is attributable to curves though. Even sections which may seem fairly straight in reality aren't, especially bearing in the mind the relatively high speeds trains run. Baker Street to Bond Street for example is pretty much curved throughout, taking an ostensibly bizarre route in order to minimise curvature to a certain radius allowing high-speed running, but in so doing still creating a setup which can't be wonderful for the track.
That may be so but the JLE is pretty straight for most of thw way east of London Bridge. The tightest bends are thoughtfully located near stations where speeds are expected to be slower, e.g. at Canada Water and North Greenwich. This was in April and the roar section was between stations and went on for at least a minute. The JLE was built to higher formation standards with nothing less than 20ch radius curves so given that, they would be at the two locations mentioned above, the rest of the route is straight or with gentle curves. There was even an article on BBC London News earlier this year that highlighted the problem (with the expected chorus of complainers) but I felt that that section was certainly amonst the loudest that I'd heard for a few years.
 

507 001

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Metrolink has some horrendous sections of roaring rails. Particularly on the Bury, Altrincham and Rochdale lines.
 

mjmason1996

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The Tyne and wear metro network can generate some impressively loud rail roar given the speed and weight of trains that run on it..
 

Dr_Paul

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Rail roar... That takes me back to my childhood in Richmond, as the North London Line / District Line alongside North Road to Kew Gardens station and on across Kew Bridge used to have a tremendously loud roar. The contrast between that line and the normal-sounding Southern Region at North Sheen was marked. The roar has been fixed now, and I have no idea why it was so loud.
 

Train Maniac

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Anywhere on the Underground section of the Central Line, particularly on the very tight corner between White City and Shepherds Bush.
 

AM9

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Anywhere on the Underground section of the Central Line, particularly on the very tight corner between White City and Shepherds Bush.
As Bramling implies, rail roar on tight curves is something different. There uneven wear accentuates the need to grind the railhead more frequently. When there has been grinding on sharp curves, not only is there the expected roar, but if sharp enough, there is also tread howl and sometimes flange squeal to add to the cacophony, none of them sounds that I am nostalgic about.
Open track roar is normally experienced at full linespeed and can be quite disturbing, particularly as it has powerful audio components at frequencies that the ear is most sensitive.
 

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