INNER-CITY residents are demanding a curfew on freight trains entering or leaving Fremantle port between 11pm and 7am.
A community meeting on the issue is planned for 2pm on April 2 at the park next to South Fremantle dog beach carpark.
A long-running maintenance issue has resulted in residents living near the line being awakened regularly at 4.30am by screeching wheels.
The problem is exacerbated by drivers being required to blare their horns to meet safety rules.
Marine Terrace’s Alison Batcheler says the number of trains rumbling past in the wee small hours has grown.
“As they approach, loud bells sound, horns blast on approach, then the passing of the train is thunderous,” she complains.
“Even if they agree to slow down, maintain tracks and withhold horns, it would only be a temporary solution and rely on compliance from drivers, which is not reliable.
“They are trying to sneak more trains through at night, disregarding any consideration for residents’ sleep.
“The past week they have come through at 4.30am which is unreasonable — planes are not allowed to fly over that early so why are freight trains permitted?”
Fremantle state Labor MP Simone McGurk wants the screeching fixed but doesn’t support a curfew. Opposed to the planned Perth Freight Link she has long advocated more freight to be shipped via rail instead, and the development of an outer harbour.
“I live around 1km from the line and I can hear the noise at night as well,” she tells the Herald.
“I have met with one of the main train operators, Aurizon, to discuss the issue and will continue work on behalf of residents to seek a solution.”
Aurizon spokesperson Elizabeth Keane says there’s a number of reasons for rail-related noise, with track condition just one of them.
“Aurizon’s operations are compliant with all regulatory conditions,” she insists.
“Aurizon continually works towards minimising the impacts of rail noise by working with our industry partners and customers.
“We train our locomotive drivers to be mindful of the impacts of their driving methodology, and have a regular program of rolling stock maintenance to ensure that our wagons and locomotives operate in a safe and efficient manner.”
Marine Terrace resident Paul McGovern says the curfew campaign enjoys widespread local support.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK