Threat to the amenity of the community

Location

The trainwash is proposed to be immediately behind residents’ homes and in the middle of the Mill Road Conservation Area [Appraisal] [Map]. This will affect Romsey and Petersfield residents, and anyone crossing the Mill Road Bridge.

GTR claim that the “trainwash is unable to be sited elsewhere due to the infrastructure of the railway. This was analysed in depth:”

  • “The wash had to be sited as part of the Cambridge Depot facility therefore ruling out locating it north of the city”
  • “The wash needs to allow for the safe, unobstructed, straight movement of a 240m long 12 carriage train between the north sidings and south sidings,
    factoring in depot signalling and the location of points.”

 

Visual impact

GTR have been unclear about the precise dimensions and siting of the facility. It seems that it will extend from about mid 40s to about 70 GES. It will be a large grey metal shed 33m long, 9m tall, and 7m wide. The trainwash will be approximately 25m from our back fences but a pump shed will be between our back fences and the trainwash.

Before and after mock-up of the proposed trainwash behind Great Eastern Street gardens.
Before and after mock-up of the proposed trainwash behind Great Eastern Street gardens. This image was produced by a resident.

On February 22 GTR released mock-up images of the proposed trainwash as it might look to the BBC, to accompany a news story about our protest about the size of the trainwash. The three images below show two large grey sheds (the facilty itself and the smaller plant/pump room). These sheds are not in character with the look of the surrounding conservation area and show no visual mitigation. The images have been chosen to minimise the apparent visual size of the facility, but there are no sizes provided and there is no claim that they are to scale.

Image one shows the trainwash from the perspective of residents’ backyards looking broadly south-west. The light direction chosen for this image does not show the shadow that the trainwash would cast onto residents’ backyards. The shadow could cover the entirety of many residents’ backyards, denying them the amenity of light.

GTR mockup of the proposed trainwash shown from resident's backyards
GTR mockup of the proposed trainwash shown from residents’ backyards

Image two shows the trainwash from the perspective of residents’ backyards looking broadly west. Again, the light direction chosen for this image does not show the shadow that the trainwash would cast onto residents’ backyards. It also shows that he grey sheds would be huge barriers behind the backyards.

GTR mock-up 2 of the proposed trainwash shown from resident's backyards
GTR mock-up 2 of the proposed trainwash shown from resident’s backyards

Image three shows a view of the planned facility from the Mill Road Bridge. The facility is depicted as very small. No claim is made that the image is to scale. The image also depicts a carpark.

GTR mockup of the proposed trainwash shown from the Mill Road Bridge
GTR mockup of the proposed trainwash shown from the Mill Road Bridge

GTR claim that they “are looking at, and taking very seriously, the aesthetic look of the train wash facility. There are several options which are being investigated:”

  • “Growing a living ‘green’ wall over the structure”
  • “Painting the structure to reflect the sky”
  • “Planting trees at the boundary/large trees in containers that can be moved to where they are needed”
  • “An acoustic fence to absorb sound”
  • “An acoustic barrier with use of recycled ground material from site.”

GTR have not made reference to the fact that the trainwash will be highly visible from the Mill Road bridge, the Ironworks development, and Great Eastern Street.

GTR have also not released any images or calculations of the shadow cast by the trainwash and its pump room. We used shadowcalculator.eu to find out. Read our Shadow of the trainwash blog post.

We measured out the footprint of 33m x 7m in our peaceful protest at the Cambridge train station on Feb 22. As you can see, it is an enormous area.

Noise impact

GTR claim that the “new train wash will be an enclosed structure and will be clad to minimise noise.” Their “modelling puts the highest volume as equal to that of a quiet conversation. This highest volume point is located at the back garden fence of the worse [sic] affected property.”

The noise of a similar facility in Scarborough has been reported as making residents’ lives a “misery” and “soul destroying”.

GTR have not provided residents with this modelling. There is no indication of the modelling assumptions, empirical basis, or what it covers. Noise within the facility would include a train moving through the facility at low speed, braking sounds, mechanical brushes, water and chemical spraying. Noise outside the facility would include pump engine sounds, idling and shunting trains lined up before and after the facility. It will be in use 24/7, primarily between the hours of 11pm and 6am, with approximately 4 trains per hour. Washing takes about 10 minutes per train. This could be up to 50 trains a day. Trains will also be parking around the area.

GTR claims that the “noise levels will be continuously monitored following full installation and, if further remedial works are needed, these will be done.”

Vibration impact

With up to 50 trains a day passing through and then parking, all houses in Great Eastern Street and several streets beyond will experience constant vibration. Given the shallow foundations and age of the houses, this could lead to serious foundation, wall, roof, and other damage. GTR have provided no indication that they have considered this issue.

Light impact

GTR is proposing lighting all the way along the facility.

Air, water, and ground impact

“Still awaiting specification from Greater Anglia, who will operate the sidings and wash once they are complete.”

Property values

This industrial facility may lead Great Eastern Street to be known as trainwash street, with a serious percentage drop in property values and/or stagnant or slower rise in property values given the visual, noise, vibration, and chemical pollution. This will have knock-on effects to all surrounding streets, and the Ironworks development across the tracks.

Timeline

  • “Enabling works approx. April/May ’20
  • Train wash facility in position late summer ’20
  • Fully commissioned and automatic operation Dec ’20″