Goods train noise in the Adelaide Hills Douglas Bardsley Geography, Environment and Population The University of Adelaide
Yellow lines= interstate standard gauge track managed by ARTC (Australian Railtrack Corporation)
Freight in Australia is typically classified into two areas: Bulk freight • Predominantly mineral and agricultural products such as coal, ores, grain and sugar. • Bulk freight is most commonly intended for export and is transported intrastate, from the area of production to the closest port. Non-bulk freight • These include containerised freight supplied by forwarding agents and other general freight. • Non-bulk cargoes are generally shipped interstate and from rural areas to port. • Great environmental and social benefits of rail freight eg reduce CO2 emissions, reduce road accidents
Wheel squeal noise issues are growing throughout Australia (Anderson and Wheatley 2008 & rtsa.com.au/assets/2008/03/rtsa-sa-nl-may-2006.pdf) • “Piercing high pitched frequency and extremely loud volume” • Occurs when disk wheels vibrate laterally when wheels don’t run parallel to rails • Heightened community awareness and expectation. • Growth in rail transport and residential populations near rail operations. • Changes in the design, maintenance and operation of rolling stock and track • More people living adjacent to train lines:
From Charles et al. (2008) “The lack of planning regulations for developments adjacent to the rail corridor in the Adelaide Hills has led to a proliferation of development alongside the rail lines, with new dwellings constructed only metres away from the corridor boundary. … An increase in noise complaints overall is attributed to the increasing development along the rail corridor and the number of residents moving into the area… In the case of the Adelaide Hills, the South Australian EPA aims to reduce the frequency and severity of wheel squeal noise, rather than setting specific dB targets… ARTC is keen to see some level of standardization of planning regulations for Local government across South Australia to ensure that that noise abatement strategies are arrived at through planning avenues, e.g., buffer zones could be established for development applications and soundproofing standards for houses affected by rail noise could be included in the Building Code of Australia (Source: ARTC).”
SA network map: Adelaide sectionhttp://www.artc.com.au/Content.aspx?p=57 Many 200 m radius curves on relatively steep grades = lots of squeal
Track grades: Adelaide to Serviceton(http://extranet.artc.com.au/engineering_cd_diagrams.html#cd) Blackwood Stn crossing Gradient Radii of curves
Track grades: Adelaide to Serviceton(http://extranet.artc.com.au/engineering_cd_diagrams.html#cd) Heathfield
Curve squeal due to two different effects (Anderson and Wheatley 2008) • Curve squeal controlled by prevailing friction conditions • Treatment of these sites with friction modification can be very effective. • Where poor curving performance of certain bogies (train undercarriage) is the controlling factor • Friction modification is ineffective and maintenance of individual items of rolling stock is the only cost effective option. Most curves show a combination of both of these effects.
EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) • …is South Australia's primary environmental regulator, responsible for the protection of air and water quality, and the control of pollution, waste, noise and radiation. • Key legislation: the Environment Protection Act1993
Legislation regarding noise: http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/environmental_info/noise • Section 25 of the Environment Protection Act 1993, requires all South Australians to prevent or minimise environmental harm that may be caused by excessive noise • More specified information such as times of the day or night and noise levels are defined under the Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007 (the Noise Policy) which came into effect on 31 March 2008. • The Noise Policy 2007 revoked the Environment Protection (Machine Noise) Policy 1994 and Environment Protection (Industrial Noise) Policy 1994, as amended. • The EPA, Local Government (Councils) and the Police administer the policy. • The Noise Policy affects everyone including businesses licensed under the Environment Protection Act 1993, non-licensed and domestic premises. • …but it specifically excludes aircraft and rail noise
Rail noise regulated by licence restrictions • Companies apply to operate as a business and have restrictions placed on their licences Key players: • Track manager: ARTC: Australian Railtrack Corporation • Rail Freight operators: Pacific National, FreightLink, SCT Logistics
ARTC • The Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) was created after the Commonwealth and State Governments agreed in 1997 to the formation of a 'one stop' shop for all operators seeking access to the National interstate rail network. • Is a company under the Corporations Act but the shares are owned by the Commonwealth • Manages the national “standard” gauge track – all colonies established their own gauge after European settlement • Owns some corridors and leases others
Why ARTC? At the time of Federation each state decided on a rail gauge (track width) for their State. As a result of this, there are 3 different track gauges in Australia .Standard - 1,435mm; Narrow - 1,067mm; Broad - 1,600mm
Australian Government: Department of Infrastructure and Transport • assists the Government to manage its AusLink rail investments • assists the Government to work collaboratively with states and territories on an agreed national model for rail safety legislation and associated regulations. • Oversees ARTC
ARTC is responsible for: • Selling access to goods train operators, eg. Pacific National in SA • The development of new business • Capital investment in the corridors • Management of the Network • The management of infrastructure maintenance
ARTC holds a specific EPA Licence for its rail operations businesses in SA. http://www.artc.com.au/Content.aspx?p=185 • The Licensee must: “Prepare to the satisfaction of the Authority an Environment Improvement Programme which sets out a course of action for a noise reduction programme which will take all reasonable and practicable measures to reduce the level and incidence of rail wheel squeal in order to minimise environmental harm”
Are the licence regulations being met?http://www.railbam.com.au/services/railsquad_index.htm “The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in Australia runs a section of track that winds it’s way 50 kilometres through the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, negotiating many tight curves and steep grades through densely populated suburban locations. Trains travelling on this track can produce extremely loud wheel squeal and flanging noise. Not only does this upset the residents, but also these friction-induced noises are indicative of increased and irregular wear on both the wheels and the track itself. A large percentage of rolling stock with this problem have been found to have an irregular angle of attack or inter-axle misalignment (referred to as "bad actors").”
RailBAM websitehttp://www.railbam.com.au/services/railsquad_index.htm • RailSQAD® - Railway Squeal Acoustic Detection System • Commissioned in October 2005 • “installed at Heathfield in the Adelaide Hills to detect, follow, record and trend a range of train and wheel/rail noise sources” • “it reports exceedances, and other valuable information to the various stakeholders”
RailBAM websitehttp://www.railbam.com.au/services/railsquad_index.htm “Wheelset noise emissions are first classified as Squealing or Flanging, and then ranked according to noise level, against user agreed criteria. This processed data is imported into the RailSQAD® Trending Acoustic Database. The database then produces statistical information for analysis against varying train operating parameters, rollingstock condition and environmental conditions. Stakeholders simply access the database via an ARTC portal.”
RailBAM websitehttp://www.railbam.com.au/services/railsquad_index.htm “The RailSQAD® database also enables the rail operators to identify those freight cars that produce the highest wheel/rail noise emissions: "repeat offenders" are identified and efficient maintenance regimes implemented. Several causal relationships have also been successfully identified and tested, which will assist ARTC in the future management of all their lines.”
EPA noise criteria • Since 2008, the South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) uses Interim Noise criteria which are adopted by New South Wales EPA, but it does not have specific legislation to manage rail noise. • The EPA applies interim criteria to assess compliance with the general environmental duty (Clause 25 of Environment Protection Act 1993). “The SA EPA generally follows the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing permissible noise limits and relevant policy. Some acoustical practitioners find the WHO noise limits too conservative, however the EPA considers the WHO noise levels to be reasonable goals where they are practical and achievable.”
Airborne noise trigger levels for heavy railhttp://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/noise/railnoise.htm The noise trigger levels address: • An increase in rail noise due to rail infrastructure projects • Absolute levels of rail noise: For residential receivers the noise trigger levels for absolute levels of rail noise have two components, LAeq and LAmax. This combination addresses both the average level of noise (LAeq) over the day or night period and the maximum noise level (LAmax) from pass-by events. The application of the LAmax descriptor for residential land uses recognises that rail events are not adequately described solely by the LAeq descriptor when preservation of residential amenity and wellbeing are considered. • An increase in both rail noise and the absolute level of rail noise at the trigger values (see next slide) must be met to initiate an assessment of rail noise impacts.
Comparison of airborne noise criteria: in SA & NSW there are no mandatory noise targets
EPA external noise criteria “To ensure that the future residents in the proposed residential development enjoy the amenity of the area outside the residential building at ground level but within the boundary of the property, the proponent should comply with the South Australian EPA rail noise criteria (measured at the building façade) for the development near the rail corridor which are as follows: • There should be no residential development with 20m of the rail line, and • A 24 hour equivalent (LAeq,24hr) noise level of 60 dB(A), and • A maximum pass-by level (LAmax) of 85 dB(A).”
“ARTC (2009) Environmental Improvement Program: Quarterly Progress Report October 2008 to December 2008. ARTC Mile End, SA“ 1. Purpose and Compliance • This report has been prepared in accordance with Regulatory Monitoring and Testing Reporting Requirements (August 2007). • This report satisfies the reporting requirements set by the Environment Protection Authority as agreed under ARTC’s Environmental Improvement Program (EIP).”
5.1.1 Long Term Maximum Daily Noise “The long term trend (graph 4.1.1) shows a drop of about 1-2 dB over the last 3 years, but as the scatter of results is around 10 dB; advice from Trackside Intelligence is that this does not represent a significant drop in LAmax over the life of RailSQAD”
Thresholds appear to be constantly exceeded: but they are only “non-mandatory targets” • Criteria are generally set for new or planned developments but may also be applied to existing operations, as well as to guide when action is required to reduce noise levels. • Alarm/priority criteria shown in the table are typically the legislated noise levels that require ameliorative action by government agencies, such as noise barriers or building treatments. • The levels used overseas are mostly legislated levels, whereas NSW & SA noise trigger levels are non-mandatory targets that can be used to initiate an assessment of noise impacts and consideration of feasible and reasonable mitigation measures.
From Charles et al. (2008): Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation • “is clearly no point in re-inventing the wheel. Rather, a range of measured improvements have the potential to be achieved at a number of levels. These include firm and industry self-regulation, industry and government co-regulatory approaches, and inter-governmental cooperation and harmonization of one or more regulated areas. • It is the intention of the project team to expand on these possibilities in forthcoming research outputs. Many benefits can be achieved with regulators and railways working together, rather than in an adversarial context, to achieve consistent practice within existing frameworks” • BUT major criticism of environmental research over last decade: research too close to industry and government
Eg. Management of trains • Treatments of trains and rails: • Gauge face lubrication • Top of rail friction modification • The maintenance and modification of track and rolling stock (trains, bogies): repairs and adjustments made to constant-contact side-bearers, brake rigging, mismatched side frames, worn wedge blocks and broken bogie springs. • Speed restrictions are placed on some sections of track
Quoting “WHO Guidelines for Community Noise” http://www.who.int/docstore/peh/noise/guidelines2.html • “Measurable effects on sleep start at background noise levels of about 30 dB LAeq… If the noise is not continuous… effects have been observed at individual LAmax exposures of 45 dB or less.” • “At night, sound pressure levels at the outside façades of the living spaces should not exceed 45 dB LAeq and 60 dB LAmax, so that people may sleep with bedroom windows open.” • “Epidemiological studies show that cardiovascular effects occur after long-term exposure to noise (aircraft and road traffic) with LAeq,24h values of 65–70 dB.” • “At very high instantaneous sound pressure levels mechanical damage to the ear may occur … In the case of children… peak sound pressure levels should never exceed 120 dBA.”
Closest comparison: Adelaide Airport Airplane noise regulation • Detailed information on “Noise and Flight Path Monitoring System – Adelaide” available at http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/publications/reports-and-statistics/noise-reports/...in comparison to FOI restrictions • Five permanently installed Noise Monitoring Terminals… in comparison to one at Heathfield • Loudest airplane (Boeing 747-400) at Mean Maximum Sound Level (Std Dev)= 99.3dB(1.2)… in comparison to ~120dB for goods trains at Heathfield • Studies of health effects of plane noise (Black et al. 2007) • Night operations are restricted between the hours of 2300 and 0600 by the Adelaide Airport Curfew Act 2000…goods trains run at all times.
References • Anderson D. and Wheatley N. (2008) Mitigation of wheel squeal and flanging noise on the Australian rail network. In, B. Schulte-Werning et al. (Eds.): Noise and Vibration Mitigation for Rail Transportation Systems. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 399–405. • Anderson D. Wheatley N., Fogarty B., Jiang J., Howie A. and Potter W. (2008) Mitigation of Curve Squeal Noise in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. Conference On Railway Engineering Perth 7-10 September 2008. Available at http://www.mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/CORE2008_paper_on_curve_noise_FINAL-1.pdf • Black, D.A., Black. J.A., Issarayangyun, T., Samuels, S.E. 2007. Aircraft noise exposure and residents stress and hypertension: a public health perspective for airport environmental management. Journal of Air Transportation Management 13: 264-276. • Charles M.B., von derHeidtT.,Ryan R., Zito R., Collier C., Hughes B. (2008) Environmental Regulations Pertaining to Rail:Developing Best Practice. 2nd Annual Environmental Management in Rail Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne, 14-15 October 2008. http://epubs.scu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1046&context=comm_pubs