The Anonymous Widower

Are You Annoyed By Noisy Trains At The Bottom Of Your Garden?

I have just found this document on the European Parliament web site, which is entitled Reducing Railway Noise Pollution.

It is a fascinating document and this is the abstract.

12 million EU inhabitants are affected by railway noise during the day and 9 million during the night. This study lists measures, funding and regulations to reduce it. The introduction of modern rolling stock will lower noise most significantly. In the short run, the replacement of cast iron by composite brake blocks on rail freight cars is most important. Developing a regulation scheme for a staged process towards low-noise rolling stock is the heart of a rail noise abatement strategy.

Many of us in the UK, would think that we suffer badly from the noise of trains, but it would appear that Germany and other Central European countries suffer badly from all freight trains passing through. The Rhine Valley which has over 400 freighs trains a day, suffers badly from noise.

So how can we reduce noise?

  • As the abstract says new rolling stock is the best way to reduce noise and many of our trains have been replaced with new or refurbished ones in the last few years.
  • The report says that most (approximately 75%) of UK freight wagons have disc brakes or composite brake blocks. So that is good.
  • In my view one of things that gets most complaints is noisy and smelly diesel locomotives, like the dreaded Class 66 locomotives. They may be liked by the freight companies, but they are not favourites of drivers and those living by the railway. More friendly types of diesel locomotives like the Class 68 are starting to appear and it can’t be too soon.
  • Surprisingly, with electric trains, pantograph noise is a problem. I’d hand that and any other aerodynamic problems over to the engineers in Formula One and aircraft design. I have read that Bombardier’s new Aventra will be very clean aeodynamically, which must make for a reduction in noise.

Let’s hope that these small improvements continue to reduce the noise by trains.

The report also says this about physical noise barriers.

Noise barriers are a visual intrusion, particularly since they are a target for graffiti; they have a high cost, and cause problems for track access. Their effectiveness depends on their absorption properties, their height, and the proximity of the barrier to the noise source and/or to the receiver.

I am not a fan, as they ruin my taking of photographs.




July 9, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. We are quite close to a railway line, probably less than 500 yards. it is very rare that we hear a train, partly because we installed very good quality double glazing a few years ago. But even before that, with only single glazing, we didnt hear much. I presume this is because the line is in a cutting, lined with trees and bushes, which would absorb the noise. At one time, for a few weeks, a huge freight train with lots of trucks was passing through at around 3.00 am, carrying very heavy freight for a building project – it might have been to do with the airport which is only 3 or 4 miles as the crow flies. Sometimes, we would hear the brakes squeal, but not every night.

    There is one housing estate in this part of Stockport which apparently overlooks some sort of bit of railway line which is fascinating and exciting to train spotters. There are 3 or 4 houses which overlook it directly. When the houses were built, a group of rail enthusiasts bought one of the houses to use to watch whatever it is that happens there, and someone told me that other house owners have been offered a lot of money for their houses because of their location – not sure if that last bit is true though.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | July 11, 2016 | Reply

  2. we live on top of thames link between st pancras and farringdon stations. We are used to the trains having lived here for nearly 30 years. But recently in the last 6 months 2017/2018 the noise and vibration from the trains has increased also the frequency. From before 6am until after 1am in the morning. These new trains make the house rattle and you can feel the vibration through the floor. You have to turn up the radio or TV and visitors always comment on how do you manage to live with it
    No one seems to know anything when I made enquiries to thameslink. Spoke to me as if i was completely mad
    This is railway blight 2018

    Comment by sue davis | April 3, 2018 | Reply

    • I am surprised about this and my engineering back ground, says that it’s not an obvious problem. In the last coupe of years, it”s not just the trains that have changed, but the track has been relaid and the overhead wires have been replaced. When both types of trains were running a couple of years ago, could you tell the difference between the trains?

      Comment by AnonW | April 4, 2018 | Reply

  3. […] Nearly, two years ago, I wrote a post entitled Are You Annoyed By Noisy Trains At The Bottom Of Your Garden?. […]

    Pingback by Noise From Trains Revisited « The Anonymous Widower | April 6, 2018 | Reply

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