Managing the noise from railways is becoming an increasing issue along major rail corridors in Australia – particularly those within close proximity of housing and offices. Often, industrial solutions involve unsightly concrete walls to manage noise, but there are more appealing alternatives.

Communities don’t want to see large graffiti-covered concrete walls to manage noise, but finding alternate ways to mitigate noise is just as important as other sustainability efforts in the infrastructure sector.

The more people benefit from noise attenuation, the more funding that can be found to assist railway authorities to reduce noise. For example, TfNSW Freight Division has a budget to double glaze buildings and insulate them in critical areas of the network. The next step is to reduce the noise at its source.

STRAILastic offers a “noise attenuation tool box” for dealing with sound and vibration from railways for acoustic engineers and asset managers to choose from, in new and existing transport systems.

Inside the “noise attenuation tool box”

Acoustic engineers first determine the level of noise at the boundaries using noise maps. STRAILastic products are designed to trap and reduce the noise where it is generated inside the railway corridor and, more importantly, as close as possible to the source.

It then works with the acoustic engineers to establish which combination of mini sound walls and web dampers will most cost-effectively reduce noise where it is generated – typically achieving approximately a 50 per cent noise reduction.

They can be retrofitted into existing sleepered tracks with steel extensions to the sleepers, to support the walls outside the tamping area.

Alternatively, the walls can be bolted to their own foundations such as mini piles or concrete foundation using fully integrated steel frame moulded into the product.

An aesthetic solution

Although it isn’t always possible to substitute high noise barriers everywhere, in many locations such as high embankments, viaducts and bridges, mini sound walls can replace the need for these highly-engineered structures.

Mini sound walls have a very low visual impact which can be further reduced by attaching screen printed local scenes on the obverse side. These walls don’t need planning approval to be installed, which can be another major challenge with panel concrete walls.

The new mSW 730 high noise absorbing panels can substantially reduce noise from the wheel rail interface and corrugation vibration from the top of rail before it reaches the boundary of the rail corridor.

STRAILastic typically suggests a combination of rail web dampers using its INOX 2.0 dampers with the various mini sound walls as appropriate.

STRAILastic offers its panels in three forms:

♦ The mSW 390 mini sound wall, which attaches to the sleeper ends that can be built with gates
♦ A vertical IP panel which can be attached to a bridge railing or stacked, or a flexible flat ribbed sheet to attach to the face of a parapet
♦ A modified Strail level crossing unit to deck a transom top bridge, further improved by replacing the timbertransom with polymer rubber sleepers to absorb the passing of trains

This Sponsored Editorial, is brought to you by STRAILastic Australia Pty Ltd. For more information, visit

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