Tube drivers’ go-slow policy in protest against Northern line noise could be music to passengers’ ears

Commuters pack on to a Tube train. Pictures: PA Images/Yui Mok

Commuters pack on to a Tube train. Pictures: PA Images/Yui Mok - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

If you’re one of the people who cover their ears when travelling on certain parts of the Northern line, then next week’s industrial action by the RMT union may be music to them.

Drivers will be operating a "go-slow" policy on sections of the Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines from 12.01am on Thursday next week until further notice.

95 per cent of the transport workers union's balloted members backed action after it said Transport for London (TfL) has failed to act on complaints about Tube noise.

Scores of passengers have complained about excessive noise between Euston and Camden Town, and Camden Town and Kentish Town stations on the Northern Lines. This is thought to be due to a particular type of track fastening, Pandrol Vanguard.

During an online "Ask Northern" Twitter Q&A session last month, numerous users complained about the racket, with some saying they "feared for [their] hearing."

The union balloted for a strike, saying its members' response was "superb" and indicated "anger and frustration" from drivers.

The union's General Secretary Mick Cash said: "It is appalling that RMT driver members have had to resort to a programme of industrial action in order to force London Underground to take the issue of excessive track noise seriously. It should never have come to this and the blame lies solely with the employer and their failure to protect the workforce.

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"This is an issue that impacts not only on our members but on the travelling public as well and the union is absolutely determined to ensure that the company don't drag their feet for a moment longer.

"We welcome the fact that union pressure has secured some progress but it has been too slow and our executive will be monitoring the situation and considering whatever further action may be required to ensure that the health of our members exposed to this barrage of noise night and day is given top priority."

TfL said it doesn't believe Tube noise is likely to cause long-term damage to its staff or customers' hearing.

A spokesperson said: "We have met with the RMT on a number of occasions on the plans we have to tackle Tube noise and look forward to continuing to work with them to find a resolution. The health and safety of our staff and customers is our first priority and we have already agreed to provide a broader range of ear protection to drivers who wish to use it alongside plans for longer-term solutions to this complex issue."