Reg and Helen Mildenhall are fed up with the daily noise and vibrations from ARTC’s $20 million third rail line project to increase coal freight in the Hunter.
The Mildenhall’s, who live alongside the railway line at the end of Winders Lane in Lochinvar, said the coal trains created a droning sound when stopped outside their house, causing cracks in the ceiling in several rooms.
Mr Mildenhall said residents were supposed to be relocated when the noise level exceeded acceptable levels, but on the seven occasions that had happened they were not moved.
“We always seem to be fighting all the time for everything that we need,” he said.
“They put up posts with tape, but the cattle took no notice and walked through it, now I’ve had to relocate them.”
Two-and-a-half acres of his property have been acquired for the upgrade and ARTC have agreed to build a sound barrier to combat the noise. Mr Mildenhall is worried it will not be enough.
An ARTC spokeswoman said the Hunter 8 Alliance had been working closely with the couple to acquire a strip of their property, as well as with the project generally.
“We did tape and peg the boundary, however at no time was this the only barrier between the property and the rail corridor; the existing boundary fence was always in place, and a new fence has since been erected,” she said.
The spokeswoman said the Hunter 8 Alliance does relocate residents when there are noisy works overnight, but there had not been any night work carried out near the property that had resulted in excessive noise.
“Our project approvals sets out requirements on how current and future noise levels are to be assessed and when noise attenuation is to be provided.”
The Mildenhall’s will voice their concerns to NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon when she visits their home on Monday.
Ms Rhiannon said ARTC’s multi-million dollar project has had negative effects on people and the environment.
“I am interested in discussing this with Mr and Mrs Mildenhall, as I hope to take up their problems with the government,” she said. “Pushing coal on rail freight through the beautiful Hunter Valley is damaging not just the environment but also the lives of affected residents.”