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Stabilisation Of Embankment - Amersham Railway


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#1 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

A meeting has been called to discuss the removal of trees in connection with stabilisation the railway embankment in Amersham

See

http://www.amersham....?showtopic=2954


Work like this I believe has happened elsewhere along the line.
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#2 Eaton

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

It's springtime and I'm fairly certain it's illegal to disturb the nesting sites of birds during the spring and summer, unless you have proper authorisation, which they may have but it might be another side to the argument if needed.
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#3 roob_the_doob

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 04:35 PM

The removal of so many trees and their roots sounds more likely to badly destabilise the embankment.

Removing so many trees is going to be very unwelcome. The trees are a major factor in dampening the sound from the trains, not only for those houses backing onto the railway but also for many others nearby. Shrubs are no replacement.

#4 Bengley

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:35 PM

Oops, I posted in the other thread by accident:

Unfortunately they've been doing this on the Chesham branch too. It's because of the risk of landslides which can obviously cause considerable damage and delay to journeys.

#5 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:36 PM

The removal of so many trees and their roots sounds more likely to badly destabilise the embankment.

Removing so many trees is going to be very unwelcome. The trees are a major factor in dampening the sound from the trains, not only for those houses backing onto the railway but also for many others nearby. Shrubs are no replacement.


The people holding the meeting have asked for any railway experts to make themslves known so they can understand the issue.

I believe when the embankments were made, there were no trees. Certainly the growth in vegatation along side railway lines have grown over recent years as cut backs in keeping it clear have been made. In the past I think vegatation was kept back to reduce the risk of fires from steam engines. However, with more vegatation perhaps the routes have actually started to cause instability. Also, they can casue leaves on the line which creates problems for trains braking. So eprhaps they think by removing the trees, this will stabalise the embacnkment and get reduce the leaves on the track.
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#6 Eaton

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:38 PM

Oops, I posted in the other thread by accident:

I've deleted it.
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#7 hyposmurf

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:59 PM

I've deleted it.

Does seem odd, as I thought trees roots helped stabilise the soil embankments, during heavy rainfall.Maybe they want to add man-made stabilisation, that they can rely on, thats consistant along the line. I thinkI'd be gutted if my garden backed onto a railway lines and the trees that acted as some visual/sound barrier are removed. I've also thought that it was nice to have the vegetation they do along the embankments, better than having to look at buildings or concete embankment.Eaton is right above the bird nests, in the past weve had to actually stop work on the construction of a building due to bird nests.
This is from RSPB:

Is it legal to move or destroy active birds' nests?
Unless you can be absolutely sure that they are not being used by nesting birds then work of this nature is always best left until the autumn. Gardens are important habitat for a wide variety of species and many will nest in shrubs, hedging and undergrowth.

Can I cut down some shrubs during spring and summer?
The breeding period coincides with the busiest time of the year for gardeners but it is vital that great care is also taken to protect birds and their nests.



#8 roob_the_doob

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:19 PM

Unfortunately they've been doing this on the Chesham branch too. It's because of the risk of landslides which can obviously cause considerable damage and delay to journeys.

Doesn't apply in this case, as the railway is on top of the embankment, not below it.

I've found this interesting article. Seems that the wrong sort of trees can cause problems - and that replacement with different types of trees is an alternative to removing trees altogether.

http://www.railwayst...?contentid=5571

#9 hyposmurf

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:34 PM

Doesn't apply in this case, as the railway is on top of the embankment, not below it.

I've found this interesting article. Seems that the wrong sort of trees can cause problems - and that replacement with different types of trees is an alternative to removing trees altogether.

http://www.railwayst...?contentid=5571


Sounds like the wrong type of leaves or wrong type of weather I've heard in the past. :)

#10 David P

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 08:53 PM

If there are delays on the line, everyone complains.
If they try to do something to prevent the delays, everyone complains.
If they employ experts to devise the best solution, everyone else knows better.
These threads about the railways are just becoming boring and predictable.
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#11 hyposmurf

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 09:34 PM

Looking on google map thats all the trees along half of the line from Amersham to Chalfont and Latimer.

#12 roob_the_doob

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

What I find remarkable is that if the railway were being built today, all manner of noise abatement measures would be required. Yet it is OK to remove the only existing means of noise reduction.

#13 147

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:39 PM

If the residents of Moor Park in their £3m plus houses couldn't stop TFL then Angry of Amersham stands little chance.

#14 Adrian

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:50 PM

I'd rather they removed the trains than the trees.

#15 Eaton

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 03:04 PM

I'd rather they removed the trains than the trees.

That's a ridiculous and provocative statement. Thousands of people use the trains to get into/out of London each and every day and for a lot of people, including myself, that is why they moved to the area because of the public transport.

Whilst I do feel for the people who will suffer additional noise when the trees are removed, they would have moved to the property while the railway lines were in use and could have made additional sound improvements within their own gardens.
Mel and Co

#16 Bengley

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 03:11 PM

I'd rather they removed the trains than the trees.


lol

#17 roob_the_doob

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 04:12 PM

Whilst I do feel for the people who will suffer additional noise when the trees are removed, they would have moved to the property while the railway lines were in use and could have made additional sound improvements within their own gardens.

Trees along the embankment are the easily the most effective and most reasonable way to limit the impact of the railway on nearby houses. One household growing a few trees at the foot of what may be quiet a small garden won't help very much since much of the noise echoes around a neighbourhood. The only effective "sound improvements" would be to grow a wall of leylandii around the entire garden, plunging it into permanent near darkness.

In any case, it's reasonable to suppose that trees that have been there for decades will continue to be there in the future.

I'd rather they removed the trains than the trees.

Troll. Do not feed.

#18 Adrian

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 06:56 PM

That's a ridiculous and provocative statement. Thousands of people use the trains to get into/out of London each and every day and for a lot of people, including myself, that is why they moved to the area because of the public transport.

Whilst I do feel for the people who will suffer additional noise when the trees are removed, they would have moved to the property while the railway lines were in use and could have made additional sound improvements within their own gardens.


Sense of humour failure, perhaps? I use the drain once or twice a week myself, but I could easily travel from C+L if it would save Amersham's trees...

You know, I used to live in Crouch End in N London, one of the main attractions of which is that it doesn't have a tube/train station.

Trees along the embankment are the easily the most effective and most reasonable way to limit the impact of the railway on nearby houses.


Trees are very much undesired by Network Rail. In the HS2 thread there's mention made of the tree felling requirement either side of an at grade railway, and it's substantial. Have a fly along the HS1 route on Google Earth, as I have, and look how far back from the track woodland has been felled, you may be surprised.

#19 hyposmurf

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 07:02 PM

could have made additional sound improvements within their own gardens.

Whilst trees dont count for much when it comes to a noise barrier they are better than nothing.It makes me wonder surely the residents could plant their own trees at the end of their gardens.Something that is broad leafed and evergreen.Then again that would probably give TFL another headache with the roots. :)

#20 Adrian

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 07:10 PM

Looking on google map thats all the trees along half of the line from Amersham to Chalfont and Latimer.


It's a pretty shocking scenario, isn't it? Who'd want to live in formerly desirable neighbourhoods like Highland Road once all the trees are gone? Does anyone know why this has to be done with such absurdly short notice?

#21 roob_the_doob

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 09:02 PM

It's a pretty shocking scenario, isn't it? Who'd want to live in formerly desirable neighbourhoods like Highland Road once all the trees are gone? Does anyone know why this has to be done with such absurdly short notice?

Because that makes it harder for people to mount opposition?

Whilst trees dont count for much when it comes to a noise barrier they are better than nothing.It makes me wonder surely the residents could plant their own trees at the end of their gardens.Something that is broad leafed and evergreen.Then again that would probably give TFL another headache with the roots. :)

You'd be surprised. There is a very significant difference in sound from the station in winter and in summer - foliage has a strong effect.

#22 hyposmurf

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:19 PM

If its also to reduce leaves falling on the track, would they then adjust their timetable to account for the large reduction in leaves? :)

#23 hyposmurf

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:25 PM

Because that makes it harder for people to mount opposition?


You'd be surprised. There is a very significant difference in sound from the station in winter and in summer - foliage has a strong effect.

I was looking online regarding noise reduction at the side of roads and what effect vegetation had on this.The main problem is that it wasnt a continious barrier,so didnt have much effect.I've planted broad leaf vegetation to reduce some of the roAd noise near my property, but its had a tiny effect, if any.I'd have to take your word for that on the effect it has as I dont live near a train line.It could be possible to that the trees dampen down some of the vibration to.

#24 Eaton

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:37 AM

I was looking online regarding noise reduction at the side of roads and what effect vegetation had on this.The main problem is that it wasnt a continious barrier,so didnt have much effect.I've planted broad leaf vegetation to reduce some of the roAd noise near my property, but its had a tiny effect, if any.

Previous owners of our property planted a double leylandii hedge along the entire length of the front boundary. The hedge is 8 foot high, around 2 foot thick and around 150 foot long. It makes a tremendous difference to the amount of noise that we can hear from the road in our garden. At either end of the hedge the road noise is, at times, highly intrusive but once you are away from the ends you can hardly hear the road at all.

We have the hedge cut every October so that it's tidy for 10 months of the year, it only really starts sprouting and looking untidy in August.

In the front garden it's about 15-20 feet from the front of our property and we have no problems with light levels but we do gain from the amount of birds that nest successfully in it each year.

I think the key to the reduction of noise is that any hedge/trees that are planted need to be evergreen and thickly planted to provide a continuous year round barrier.
Mel and Co

#25 roob_the_doob

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 08:43 AM

I was looking online regarding noise reduction at the side of roads and what effect vegetation had on this.The main problem is that it wasnt a continious barrier,so didnt have much effect.I've planted broad leaf vegetation to reduce some of the roAd noise near my property, but its had a tiny effect, if any.I'd have to take your word for that on the effect it has as I dont live near a train line.It could be possible to that the trees dampen down some of the vibration to.

Yes, the problem is if it's not a continuous barrier - which is where the problem lies in relying on individuals planting trees at the bottom of the garden. On the whole, embankment trees are a continuous barrier. Far from perfect, but they do make a difference.

Another issue is that, to have any chance of blocking the sound, a row of leylandii at the foot of our garden would have to be about 40ft high. Irrespective of any other considerations (e.g. aesthetic - they would completely overpower the garden), I doubt we would be allowed to let them grow to such a size.

#26 hyposmurf

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:41 AM

Another broad leaf evergreen that would probably work well as a barrier would be laurel,however it grows at quite a fast rate so its hard to manage.

#27 roob_the_doob

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 09:43 AM

Another broad leaf evergreen that would probably work well as a barrier would be laurel,however it grows at quite a fast rate so its hard to manage.

Not sure how this would help. A 6-8ft laurel hedge at the foot of a 20-30ft embankment won't have any appreciable effect.

#28 hyposmurf

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:39 AM

Not sure how this would help. A 6-8ft laurel hedge at the foot of a 20-30ft embankment won't have any appreciable effect.

I havent seen the gardens invloved so wasnt sure how high they were in relation the embankment,or how it the embankment is.So that leaves with evergreen trees that are fast growing.But it would still leave quite a period where they trees have no reached sufficient height.Bit of a pain if you want to move soon.As the lack of trees wont help much.

#29 hyposmurf

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 12:11 PM

Rail-side trees are for the chop

WORK to cut down trees lining the Metropolitan line in Amersham and Little Chalfont will go ahead this summer despite public anger, transport bosses have said.

That was a pretty quick consultation!

#30 Rayhoop

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:40 AM

Hi All,

I've not really been on the forum much in the past couple of weeks as have been busier than usual.
I visited yesterday just before 5pm, and was surprised there was no comment regarding the meeting that had been arranged with Amersham Residents, Amersham Council and TFL.

The meeting was held yesterday at 1730hrs at the Council Office, where TFL displayed their plans of what they will be doing in 'this stage' of the re-stabilisation works. Work on the fence will start in August 2010, heavy work will start in September 2010… for completion in September 2011… after (during?) which, they will be starting to do the same thing on the northern side of the embankment… so anyone on Woodside who backs onto the railway line – be warned! The same for those on Raans road, although I believe it is mainly industrial buildings on that side of the railway line?

I should have logged 2 weeks ago when we had a leaflet through the post from a local resident (Gene? - sorry, I'm really bad with remembering names), and posted the details up then.

I was unable to attend the meeting in April, but left work early to make sure I attended this one. Turn out was not that great – two dozen people? Of which only several people spoke up. The presence of everybody who made the effort to turn up, and the questions/grilling from the residents and councillors was enough to shake them a little, they did visibly sweat… but they also categorically said they will not be changing their plans regardless what we did.

Just to clarify a few points regarding the work.

The work is taking place on the south embankment on a stretch of approx 800m, of which the centre is roughly the Black Horse Bridge (the two mini round a bouts the junction of Stanley Hill/White Lion Rd & Woodside/Raans). This is due to the embankment being given an 'E' rating (as per http://www.railwayst...?contentid=5571).

In summary
The issue is the embankment is too steep to is not as effective as it should be at holding it all together. The slope will be shallowed and drawn towards the pavement a little more. Some retaining concrete walls put in place and a new green powder coated steel fence put up (lattice effect). The trees come into the scene when you start looking at the TFL engineering 'guidelines'.

No tress allowed within 3m of a structure
No trees allowed on a slope
No trees allowed within 1m of a boundary
Trees to be cut down where the space is required for machinery to be manoeuvred/operated.

The plans displayed were quite shocking to be honest. Whilst TFL identified a few trees they will 'try' not to cut down, they made NO promise that they would definitely not be removed. However an effort will be made to mark up trees that will be staying so we have visibility of them.

TFL said they will work with our Local Council Tree Officer – Keith – to identify where trees can be kept and to ensure TFL dont get too carried away with the chainsaws. However, Keith is our only tree officer, so will probably not always be able to commit his time to attending all of the site visits TFL might invite him to... and more importantly, TFL do not have to listen to our Tree Officer. The reason being - this is 'operational land' and TFL have the right to remove what ever they need to. So its almost an empty promise.

There will be a 'replanting strategy' that will be worked on later this year/early 2011, however this will most probably be limited to grass and wild flower seed (like Moore Park). The ground TFL will leave us with will be made up of hardcore and crushed concrete, covered with 100mm of top soil. Which I guess is not too bad when you want a solid embankment, but fat chance much will grow there.

We pointed out that the replanting will be restricted by the plan/engineering work that is carried out, so the strategy needs to be looked at before work starts to identify where small improvements can be made to the embankment work that will allow for a better quality of screening. However, again there was no commitment.

Another resident questioned TFL about Governance was in place to protect the local communities from TFL making decisions that ultimately affect us. To which the answer (translated) was "the local communities will never agree with what we want to do, so there is no point wasting time with governance".



One of my neighbours pointed out that even in their existing plans, there are areas where new trees could be planted on level ground, within 1m of the boundary to replace trees removed from the top of the embankment. There was no real commitment, but they mentioned they will look into it, but cannot promise and they are not obliged to replace the trees.



The contractor working on behalf of TFL made the comment "you chose to buy a house near a railway line", which is true… but the houses we bought are also in the Chilterns, in Amersham… green, fairly peaceful area where we do try to preserve our surroundings. My response was – London Transport built a railway line into the Chilterns, they should respect the environment they built into. The fear being that the 'London Underground Scenery' of concrete, brick walls, graffiti, weedy greenery/shrubs, unkept tall grass etc will be dragged from London into our small town in the Chilterns. I've lived in London and made heavy use of the concreted 'over-ground' Underground etc… it's a sight I don't want to see in Amersham.



The issue is screening. Whilst I appreciate the work needs to be done, TFL should make an effort to retain some level of natural green screening to avoid leaving us staring at an industrial site. The noise will always be there, no matter how much you screen… but visually an effort could be made to mask it.



My wife questioned TFL as to whether the plans are in the public domain, and whether they can provide us with a document detailing the work they will be doing, the parameters that will be employed when deciding if a tree is to stay/go etc. To which TFL stated they will look into making the plans public. Our councillors even offered to host the plans online for them. However, whether this happens before the work begins is another story. With respect to documenting the plans – TFL refused to do this, as they are not obliged to present plans, and can do what they like on the 'operational land' under their statutory undertakings etc.



The work is going to require lots of heavy machinery being transported up to the site along Stanley Hill… entering the site at the top of Stanley Hill where the chevrons exist on the wire fence. Work will be carried out Mon-Fri 0800-1800hrs, Sat 0800-1300hrs, and during 'some' nights. I'll put up with this, even though it is literally on my door step, as it needs to be done. But… again, it comes down to providing some screening from the sight of a railway line that was previously hidden by some mature trees.



So basically – we can only hope for the best, and carry on putting more pressure on them to see if they do give in and make an effort to provide a plan to implement some new trees (which I accept will take decades to mature) to provide some screening.



My wife and I intend to put TFL under some pressure to ensure an element of screening (using trees, not grass) is retained.

It will be a joint effort with the councillors and local residents who have already put in a huge effort into raising the issue, organising the meeting, getting the press involved etc…

If you want to help – reply here or PM me.