Noise measurements of railway transport

Possible noise sources per sector:

  • passenger trains
  • freight trains

According to reports from the Member States compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA), around 12 million EU citizens are affected by rail noise during daytime (noise level above 55 dB(A)) and about 9 million EU citizens during night time (noise level above 50 dB(A)). The actual figures are probably higher, as the EEA's European Noise Mapping Initiative concentrates on agglomerations with over 250,000 inhabitants and main railway lines with over 60,000 trains per year. The biggest problem of noise generated by rail transport is in Central Europe, where most of the population exposed to noise lives. This region also has the largest share of rail vehicles.

Railway noise is mainly caused by freight trains and trainsets of older wagons or trains with old model engines. Higher rolling stock noise is caused by poorly maintained rail vehicles and trains running on poorly maintained infrastructure. Aerodynamic noise is particularly relevant on high-speed train lines. In most cases, they are fitted with noise reduction devices, such as noise barriers. Such barriers reduce the impact of rolling stock noise but are usually too low to dampen the pantograph's noise. Engine noise is most relevant at speeds below 30 km/h. The rolling stock's noise is more evident when at speeds above 30 km/h. The aerodynamic noise, at speeds above 200 km/h. Rolling stock noise is the most important source of noise; a particularity common to all types of trains.

Passive measures at the noise point and active measures at the noise source may reduce railway noise. The most commonly used passive measures to reduce the impact of railways' noise are noise barriers and noise-insulating windows. 

According to LST ISO 1996-1: 2017, LST ISO 1996-2: 2017 and LST EN ISO/IEC 17025

  • we prepare traffic flow analysis by categories
  • make the measurements
  • evaluate the measurement errors (uncertainty)
  • we select and present measurement results and errors (uncertainty)
  • provide the statements of compliance
  • provide the interpretations and opinions

We measure:

  • equivalent sound pressure levelLAeqT
  • residual sound pressure level LAresid
  • adjusted (recalculated) equivalent sound pressure levelLAeqTcorr
  • maximum sound pressure level LAFmax