A RAIL firm whose noisy trains are making the lives of some residents “absolute hell” should be more neighbourly, a local councillor says.

Carl Quartermain said he had received more than 30 complaints from people living near railway sidings in Redcar used by TransPennine Express and “urgent action” was required.

Trains using the town’s central station use a ‘turnback’ facility and regularly wait in nearby sidings in order to allow other trains to pass before continuing to their destination.

Cllr Quartermain said that the noise and vibration caused by the trains was affecting the mental health of residents, while it is also alleged damage has been caused to the bathroom window of one property.

He said: “They enter Redcar on the hour daily from 6am to 10pm – sometimes arriving before 5.30am – and sit idling with engines revving.

“It is unfair on these residents that they have to put up with this – some have lived in this area for 50 or 60 years and have never complained about the railway.

“Nobody wants to lose this TransPennine service, but I am requesting the company find a different way of operating and take urgent action.

“They need to be more neighbourly.”

Cllr Quartermain said his understanding was that the trains travelled a short distance eastbound out of the station and waited on the opposite side of West Dyke Road, also necessitating the regular use of level crossings in the area and disrupting traffic.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has seen some of the complaints from residents received by Cllr Quartermain.

One resident referred to a “lack of sleep, rattling vibrations through the house, the thudding of the engine that makes my stomach churn”, adding: “It’s been hell, absolute hell”.

Another said: “This is turning into a nightmare. 

“I am woken up every morning when the train stops outside my bedroom with its engines throbbing for over half an hour, making sleep absolutely impossible.”

Meanwhile, one man claimed the noise was having a “bad effect on his sex life” since his girlfriend was refusing to stay over at his home due to the early morning disturbance.

A meeting has now been arranged with representatives of the train operator – which is owned by First Group – with Cllr Quartermain intending to provide evidence of the problem being caused.

He said: “Many residents are reporting being sleep deprived, some work long hours and shifts, have young children, or are elderly and feel vulnerable and anxious.

“They have suffered in silence long enough, having had their life made unbearable for them due to this daily practice.

“As yet First Group has not been able to mitigate against these issues or satisfy residents with a solution.”

The TransPennine service to and from Redcar only began in December 2019 and provides a link to York, Leeds and Manchester Airport, although it does not have its own dedicated platform.

Its arrival was welcomed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who said it was a “huge step forward in giving the people of the borough the transport links they deserve”.

Discussions have taken place over extending the service further to Saltburn – which would solve the problem being suffered by residents in Redcar – although it is thought a major sticking point is that significant funding for such plans would be required.

A spokesman for TransPennine Express said: “It is now just over a year since we began extending our services through to Redcar Central, something which we were delighted to as it has helped improve connectivity for those who live in the area.

“To enable us to operate this service, our trains need to use a turnback facility, as other freight and passenger trains also need to use the line, and without using these sidings we would be unable to run our services to Redcar.  

“However, to keep noise to a minimum, the trains use power from only one engine to complete the move from Redcar Central station to the sidings and back.”

Network Rail which is responsible for rail network infrastructure, said it had carried out work on damaged tracks which was believed to be causing “excessive noise”.

North East route director Matt Rice said: “The extended service between Manchester Airport and Redcar has improved travel connections and offered more choice for passengers, but it means that more trains now use the sidings near Redcar Central than have done so previously. 

“After being made aware of some potential track damage that was believed to be causing excessive noise, our maintenance team visited the sidings and replaced a damaged sleeper.

“The sidings will continue to be inspected on a regular basis.”