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20 April 2011, 10:29
People living near the proposed high speed rail line, that will pass through part of the Thames Valley as it travels from London to Birmingham, will be able to test how noisy the trains will be.
Noise experts have used sound recordings of the noise from existing high-speed trains and then have scaled the noise to reflect the 225mph speed and the 400-metre length of the HS2 trains.
The tour is part of the consultation on HS2 which could cost more than £30 billion should a decision be taken to extend the project north of Birmingham.
A number of residents groups and local councils are against HS2, while there is also opposition from some Tory MPs.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said that the noise levels from HS2 would be "quite different from what some people have been led to believe'. Unless if you are listening for it, you can hardly hear the noise of the train against the background noises. The noise of the trains going through the Chilterns is not going to be like a (Boeing) 747 landing at Heathrow airport. Some of the concerns that have been expressed are completely unfounded.''
Mr Hammond said he recognised that "a lot of people have concerns about their own local environment''.
He said he hoped the information being provided during the consultation period would dispel "some of the mythology'' about the project.