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LE FEVRE Peninsula residents living next to the rail freight corridor are demanding noise buffers or a night curfew to shield them from screeching train wheels and blaring horns, as the line becomes the state’s busiest.
About 160 freight trains use the line adjacent Mersey Rd weekly, at all hours of the day and night, up from 40 movements, since the opening of Outer Harbor’s new $135 million grain terminal earlier this year.
The rail corridor has now overtaken the Adelaide to Perth route as the most frequently used freight line in SA, which sees an average of 130 trains a week.
Rattling windows, vibrations causing cracks to form in walls, squealing brakes and thumping wheels are among the complaints from residents, who say the increased traffic has made living near the line intolerable.
The aifPortside Messenger aif last week doorknocked the area, with many claiming the noise mitigation measures that were promised when the grain terminal was first approved in 2003 have never materialised.
Gail Moffatt said the train noise used to be bearable but was now much worse, “especially since they put the new tracks down making the trains screech”.
“When the upgrade was first raised, they said they would plant shrubs but they haven’t yet, but it’s now so bad I don’t think it would make any difference anyway,” Mrs Moffatt said.
Noise buffers including landscaping and soil mounds were also flagged as part of an upgrade of the corridor in 2005, when a second line was built to cater to increased traffic when the Outer Harbor channel was deepened.
Another resident, Briony, who did not want her surname published, agreed little had been done to protect residents from the noise.
“They said it wouldn’t be all night, that it would stop at 11pm it’s now got beyond a joke,” she said. “Some nights it comes at 11, at 2, at 3am, it would be quite reasonable if it was at 9am.”
Jim Brown questioned why a curfew could not be implemented, similar to that imposed on Adelaide Airport. “They gave us a big spiel about the trains being quieter, but it’s now 24 hours a day,” he said. “The airport has a curfew, yet trains get to do what they want and use their horns it’s just unreal.”
Paul Kennedy argued high fencing similar to what had been offered to some Victoria Rd residents should be made available to Mersey Rd residents to help them cope. “Along there they’ve built significant fences, yet we’ve 1km long freight trains travelling at reasonable speeds,” he said.
Port-Enfield councillor Bruce Johansen said the council had raised the issue with the Transport Department over the past 10 years, but authorities had refused to listen to the resident’s concerns.
“It’s unfair these people aren’t getting the same treatment that residents along Portrush Rd, in Mile End and Salisbury have got with solid brick walls being built in front of their homes.”
A spokesman for Transport Minister Pat Conlon said in an emailed statement the duplication of the railway line had removed the need for passing loops, which “significantly reduced the noise associated with train movements”.
“The duplication ensures noise levels along the corridor remain well within the standards required of the World Health Organisation and the EPA Rail Noise Criteria.”
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