Australia’s federal rail infrastructure pipeline demands the deployment of a range of technically complex products – but vibration and noise sources add complexity to design that require a range of noise mitigation products to address. Employing foresight and a systematic approach to address noise radiation should be considered to ensure a future-proof urban solution.   

Understanding and resolving noise discomfort in modern-day rail transport has had much attention over the past decade, but none so much in Australia in recent times, with enormous metro projects underway in several major cities. 

There is no secret behind the facts. The environmental impact of rail noise pollution is a consideration which requires strategic solutions – not only for the journey itself, but to essentially avoid negative sentiment and protect against lowering the surrounding property values. 

Quieter rail travel for passengers is an inherent side benefit, with more recently constructed systems – new carriages and new rails are providing ever higher levels of acoustic comfort.

The challenges of closer proximity, tighter areas and more complex and dense multi-purpose buildings in metropolitan rail projects means project managers are under intense scrutiny to keep the decibels down.

New tracks and systems may be initially smooth, but that’s because there hasn’t been time for maintenance issues to rear their heads. The risk is that in time, undue maintenance costs and headaches will arise – especially if systems are not well-maintained. Simple measures ahead of time and proper consideration can make a real difference later on.

Developing a new rail track damper

After rigorous testing, manufacturer and distributor of noise mitigation technology, Pyrotek, has brought new rail damping technology to the market.

Decidamp Rail Track Damper (RTD) is a recent locally-developed technology that aims to overcome undue noise spread and ensure long-term acoustic comfort. 

Often, there is not simply one solution to mitigate noise on a project; it is a suite of complementary materials used effectively to tackle a range of noise sources.

Benjamin Dowdell, Senior Research and Development Scientist at Pyrotek, said the idea for the product arose from the company’s prior work on Sydney Metro.

“Tunnels are the ideal environment where reverberation can lead to increased noise levels if not suitably addressed with highly durable, effective material,” Mr Dowdell said.

“We saw that we could create a solution to complement the work we’d completed previously for the Norwest rail tunnel for the Sydney Metro.”

The journey to developing Decidamp was made all the more challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic transforming workplaces, demanding tasks be fast-tracked whilst also causing delays.

Pyrotek’s teams worked diligently on testing and development for Decidamp RTD during the past few months, adjusting as necessary to challenging new working conditions – with very positive results. 

The suppliers to the rail sector are vast in number, so Pyrotek had to be sure it was producing a high-quality offering.

“Many others in the market already provide some degree of an ‘option’ for this,” Mr Dowdell explained.

“However, we knew that with our history and experienced R&D team backing us, we could develop something for our client to fulfill all the criteria, and it would go on to be tested and proven to perform.”

Local manufacturing simplifies supply chain, tailors solution

What makes Decidamp RTD truly beneficial is the supply chain advantages and the ability to adapt the design to fit other configurations of rail worldwide.

With restrictions on travel still in place and freight routes still impacted, the need to manage supply risk is essential for project managers. 

Importing goods from overseas can be logistically difficult even in non-pandemic conditions, so having a local supplier with capability to manufacture nearby is a huge advantage. 

Locally sourcing equipment enables face-to-face communication and avoiding the logistical headaches that construction companies often face down the track. 

With Melbourne and Sydney-based teams, Pyrotek is able to meet the needs of suppliers. As with the company’s other solutions, Decidamp RTD can be manufactured to individually defined parameters. 

Moreover, there are 2-3 different track designs that are present in Australia which are different to other parts of the world. Because Decidamp RTD is tailor-made, Pyrotek can accommodate different sizes, shapes and installation methods – a flexibility not offered by many companies. 

Pyrotek’s engineering team designs highly specialised solutions to every specification and performance requirement. 

Tailor-made noise reduction at the source

With ISO 9001 quality system certification, Decidamp RTD is a targeted, noise reducing tuned mass rail damper.

Isometric view of Decidamp RTD

The point of the track damper is to reduce undue noise spreading to the surrounding area by reducing vibration at frequencies most relevant to track vibration.  Its design has also been targeted to be physically lighter, making it quicker to install units and allowing easier maintenance access. 

Decidamp RTD works to mitigate noise pollution by effective vibration damping at the source. Once installed, it can reduce rail-radiated noise by up to 7.9 dBA.

A high performance polymeric damper greatly reduces structure-borne noise generated during contact between the track and rolling stock wheels at critical frequencies between 630 and 2500Hz. 

Designed to fit perfectly to the track design, it is also flexible for adaptation to various track dimensions around the world, delivering maximum effectiveness on any track configuration. 

Quick, easy installation using specially-designed brackets ensures a very cost effective damping system.

Decidamp RTD is particularly useful for tunnel applications – as it is non toxic and safe to handle. 

Made and adapted in Australia and recently introduced to the market. Decidamp can be designed or tuned to meet customer noise requirements, including to various track profiles. No maintenance is required after installation, and it has a long life once fitted. 

This partner content is brought to you by Pyrotek. View more information on the Decidamp RTD here.

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