Bank Station Too Loud To Stay Open

By Hazel Last edited 110 months ago
Bank Station Too Loud To Stay Open

Special.jpg Tube trains are noisy: there are heavy metal trains that run on metal rails in underground, completely enclosed tunnel systems. They're loud, it shouldn't surprise people that sometimes one can hear screeches, clunks and bass thumps while travelling. Complaints loud enough to close a busy station during rush hour is a more extraordinary noise that we should hope not to hear ever again. We'll say it just once, and quietly: it's health and safety gone mad.

Fuming passengers were made to wait outside Bank station for 90 minutes last night while a 'technical difficulty' was dealt with - this being the hasty application of lubricant to some squeaky tracks that were apparently breaching acceptable levels of noise. The unacceptable levels of noise may have been noticed earlier in the day, when it was perhaps quieter in the station and less mobbed by chattering City workers trying to get from A to B... but action was not taken until the place was overflowing with commuters, who then faced station closure, trains not stopping there and massive disruption while the screeching noise was investigated.

Squeaky wheels did indeed get the grease yesterday evening - they also got the blood pressure up of everyone trying to use the Central Line at key commuting time. We suspect the complaints came from a small number of disgruntled City workers suddenly being thrust into the world of ambient sound on the death of their iPods, stunned and appalled at the sound of the Underground in motion, unfiltered by the 1,000th replay of something booty-ful by Beyonce. It's loud down there - if you can't cope, then walk. With your fingers in your ears if necessary.

Last Updated 11 March 2009


I got on the central line at Bank yesterday at about 5PM (after sloping off work early). The noise of the trains was unbearable - it was actually painful to stand on the platform. I'm not a sensitive-eared person - I used to live under the Heathrow flight path and like ear-ringingly loud music - but this was awful.

I'm no doctor but I reckon there was probably a risk of your head exploding if you were wearing a hearing aid.

Seriously, I think London Underground did the right thing. And come on, it's not far to walk to Liverpool Street to get the tube.


I remember when I used to use the Central Line a lot (about 10 years ago), there were occasions when the screeching from the trains at Bank was absolutely *EAR-SHREDDINGLY LOUD*. We're talking industrial levels of noise here - the sort of noise that is physically painful and leaves you in no doubt that delicate parts of your inner ear are being destroyed. I would sometimes have a slight ringing in my ears for hours afterwards.

I wasn't using the Central Line yesterday (nor was I at Bank), so obviously I can't testify to the noise on the platforms then, but based on my previous experiences I am quite ready to believe that that section of track has the potential to cause dangerous noise-levels - levels far in excess of the noisiest parts of the rest of the tube network. The word 'loud' does not do justice to these noise-levels.

Sure, 'health and safety' type nonsense is an easy (and popular) target, but until you've actually been assaulted by the intolerable deafening noise that can be generated on this section of track, you really shouldn't assume that the staff were being over-zealous!

Mr Thant

I'd take a guess that the closure was due to the potential damage the lack of lubrication could be doing to the trains and track.

The Central Line fleet already has poor daily availablility (ie fewer trains in working order than are required by the timetable, which means lower frequency, more crowding, etc) due to being unreliable crap held together by sticky tape (have a close look at the red roof area of the cabs).

Train wheels aren't cheap or easy to repair, so any widespread damage would have meant the service was knackered for days or even weeks.

Caspar Aremi

I've seen a few bloggers and tweeters make light of this but as xland says, it was very loud, people were covering their ears with hands. I can't remember exactly when I was there but I usually pass through around 6pm (I think I left a bit earlier that night). I'm pretty sure it happened on both platforms too, I thought I heard a westbound one leave as I came up the stairs from the northern line and heard the noise and thought it was just a dodgy train but then an eastbound one came in and the same noise appeared.