TRACKSIDE residents have raised £8,000 to obtain ‘crucial’ noise data to guard against what they call Network Rail’s ‘dirty tricks’ and fight for more protection ahead of the arrival of more trains next year.

The fundraising appeal will see an independent expert assess the impact to people’s homes in North Oxford and Wolvercote before the frequency of passenger trains with East West Rail phase 2 and freight trains constructing HS2 increases from next year.

Network Rail carried out a noise assessment in December but only monitored the effectiveness of the barriers and not the actual noise experienced by residents - after Oxford City Council dropped a condition requiring the latter.

It used its own predictions for how the barriers should work against their actual performance and in some cases it found further insulation could be required.

But the firm resolved that most people had ‘double glazing’ and the results weren’t relevant.

A second survey is set for the summer but residents said they had ‘no confidence or trust’ in Network Rail and have taken matter into their own hands.

Campaign organiser Patricia Grylls said the appeal had raised almost £8,000, which reflected the ‘strength of feeling’ among local residents.

Michael Drolet, who lives metres from the line in Wolvercote, said: “I’m about 10 metres from the track and I can both hear and feel the trains, particular the Oxford Flyer and freight trains that pass at 6am and 7am.

“We tried to engage with Network Rail from the outset, we understand the need for the services and the importance of getting freight traffic off the road.

“But we just want them to treat people with dignity and be reasonable - it’s not rocket science - people just don’t trust them anymore.”

He added: “It’s crucial we get our own baseline data before the number and speed of trains dramatically increases.”

Network Rail’s noise assessment revealed its own predictions were wrong enough - when monitoring noise as first floor level - to lead to extra protection.

But the assessment resolved that most people had double glazing at that level and further monitoring from the four metre height will be dropped from the next survey.

Another trackside resident, Keith Dancey, said: “Now that Network Rail have proved the effectiveness of the barriers is not as good as predicted - and/or their noise prediction model was rubbish, especially at first floor level - they have decided the measured figures can be ignored."

When planning permission was initially granted for the new track between Oxford and Oxford Parkway, a number of conditions, including for Network Rail to install Silent Track rail dampers were attached.

It had also promised to monitor noise and vibrations over an 18-month period to assess whether more protection was needed for homes in the future.

But both were dropped and the assessment in the summer will be the final monitoring undertaken along the line.

Network Rail said it had commissioned Southampton University to undertake an independent noise assessment following concerns about noise in William Lucy Way - opposite the Oxford sidings.

The firm said its findings will be used as the ‘next step’ in dealing with noise issues in the Oxford area.

Spokeswoman Emily Maiden said: “We have commissioned the University of Southampton to undertake an independent noise assessment in this area and are awaiting these results, which we will share with local residents and use to help inform any measures we may take."