New Cross Gate Depot - East London Line

Southdowns was commissioned by TfL (London Overground) to undertake an independent verification of the newly operational East London Line traincare facility at New Cross Gate depot with a view to assessing compliance against historical planning conditions imposed through the TWA process. Southdowns was selected due to its expertise in railway noise and vibration, its familiarity with the traincare processes and previous involvement on behalf of LB Lewisham the local planning authority. All parties involved agreed to this joint expert role on the basis that no conflicts existed.

The specialised technical work and competencies required for this project included:

  • - Understanding of railway depot environment and heightened provision of Health and Safety requirements;
  • - Detailed understanding of all noise sources associated with a complex traincare facility, including carriage wash, wheel lathe, light and heavy maintenance, stabling, audible warning systems ;
  • - Detailed knowledge of planning and other statutory regimes governing the operational of the facility;
  • - Advanced knowledge and interpretation of the projects noise commitments and associated source documentation including BS 4142, BS 8233 and the WHO guidelines;
  • - Advanced understanding and application of the noise propagation calculation methodologies (ISO 9613-2) for the modelling of noise from industrial premises;
  • - Advanced use of the SoundPLAN software suite for the calculation of noise levels from all sources under various operational configurations and scenarios;
  • - Robust assessment of noise levels, and identification of failures to comply with the planning condition requirements;
  • - Compliance with ISO 3095 procedures during field surveys within the traincare facility;
  • - Digital capture of sound signals for all operations and detailed post processing of signals to determine acoustic features and to verify source characteristics;
  • - Presentation of highly technical data in a format suitable for TfL and LB Lewisham representatives.

The project required high levels of technical expertise to execute the complex requirements set out in the clients' specification, which comprised meticulously planned field surveys required to gather sufficient source information from each noise source within the confines of the depot and highly complex noise modelling and assessment prior to reporting.

The project execution utilised the full range of Southdowns technical staff grades from Technician to Director level, based upon defined competency planning ensuring the best value to TfL throughout the project lifecycle. The project was subject to strict access permission to the facility along with sporadic use of noise generating equipment which resulted in only very short notice periods to Southdowns staff when attendance was required. We operated a duty rota system to ensure that resources were available and on-call should TfL confirm attendance.

We utilised the SoundPLAN model base prepared previously by TfL's design and build contractor to avoid duplication and the introduction of further uncertainties to the study. Example output from the study is shown in the drawing above right.

Client feedback solicited under our ISO 9001 certified quality management system was positive, and we have since been approached and commissioned by TfL to assist on other noise and vibration studies through existing framework holders who were unable to provide the required level of expertise and experience in-house.