With the increased addition of transportation hubs and rail stations across the country, the need for sound walls is vital for protecting the environment and keeping the peace in rural communities. Many cities have noise regulations that railroad companies and switchyards must adhere to at all times.
With cities growing and expanding year after year, noise mitigation is a topic of significant conversation between city leaders and engineers. Visitors and residents of places like the Big Apple know that railways are a necessary, yet noisy part of city living. Noise mitigation is required to be good stewards of the community and the Earth.
When you are in the middle of a sound night’s sleep, there is nothing quite as annoying as being woken by the rumbling of a train, punctuated by the blaring of the horn.
The horn may seem unnecessary, but it serves a public safety function. When trains sound their horns in populated areas, they warn people of their approach and help save lives. But horns aren’t the only noisy aspect of trains, and communities across the country have been fighting train noise since the steel behemoths were invented.
Residents are likely to have concerns about noise mitigation and whether the rail company can keep the noise under control, and using sound absorbing panels is one of the best ways to get rid of unwanted sounds emanating from trains and tracks.
Federal Regulations and Train Horns
Trains must make their presence known before any interaction with a regular flow of traffic, according to the federal “train horn rule.”
You may wonder why such a requirement is necessary when trains are usually easy to spot, but in cases of distracted driving, or late at night, some people might overlook a train and end up in a terrible accident.
The exact regulation for train horns is that they must sound their horn at each intersection between 15 and 20 feet before crossing the intersection. This tactic was created to give advance warning for pedestrians and motor vehicles, therefore protecting public safety.
The benefits to safety of honking train horns are great, but that doesn’t mean that some people aren’t still annoyed. This annoyance has sometimes led to drastic measures on a community level to avoid the noise.
Establishing Quiet Zones
Solution: Communities have often turned to is quite zones. These are zones in which trains are no longer required to sound their horns at crossings except in emergencies.
Issue: While this solution can certainly reduce annoyance, it presents a safety issue that is frowned upon by the national railroad.
Solution: Close intersections between train and car traffic. This solution is useful especially when crossings are redundant. By removing these intersections, train horn use is automatically decreased, as there are fewer points where blaring horns are required.
Issue: A downside to this solution, however, is that the removal of intersections makes fewer ways to get across town, which can lead to increased traffic.
RailRoad Sound Barrier Solution
Horns aren’t the only noisy things about trains. The wheel and engine noise generated by trains can generate quite a disturbance for people living near them. One effective way to improve harmony between trains and communities is the use of sound barriers.
While a sound barrier won’t do much to lower the blare of a train’s horn (which need to be heard for safety reasons), it can definitely help general train noise reduction to more acceptable levels.
With advanced LSE Absorptive Sound Barriers from Sound Fighter, much of the offending sound will be absorbed by the patented panel design. Contact us today for more information on how a noise barrier could decrease noise from trains, and make your community more peaceful.
Our noise barriers provide a lasting solution that is:
We cover the highlights of a recent rail project for a client in New Jersey.
In this application, we chose an 18-foot acoustic wall with stunning brick accents to give the client a product that significantly reduced sound levels without detracting from the natural beauty of the area.
The wall fits into the local architecture with a neutral tone that will remain bright thanks to our UV coating.
With no rust to worry about, the client is happy that there is little maintenance to take care of in the future.
Our products also last two to three times as long as wood walls and concrete noise barriers.
We collaborated with the acoustic engineer for the railway to identify the problem and create a custom solution that offered the most benefits.
We can tailor solutions to virtually any industry, size, and scope project because we add ventilation systems, doors, entrances, and equipment while maintaining the proper train noise reduction.
Why Addressing Train Noise Control Is So Important
Besides the clear need to stay compliant with local laws on noise, railroad companies have an ethical duty to protect the nearby residents and the environment. According to the National Institute of Health, unwanted noise is the primary complaint related to railroads, switching stations, and rail hubs.
Stakeholders understand the impact of noise on the environment and people, so many opt to pre-empt complaints with a mitigation solution like our noise barrier walls. By being proactive, a rail company can protect themselves from problems and be a good steward of the community.
Railway Noise Barriers Protect Residents and Businesses
The Centers for Disease Control says that any noise over 85 decibels for eight hours a day is hazardous to hearing. That means residents exposed to that noise level reach the maximum recommended allowance for the day by NIOSH.
People living and working near the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are exposed to trains that put out 88 decibels of sound at 50 m.p.h. at 50-feet. Noise absorption is vital to protecting people from permanent hearing loss.
Types of Rail Systems That Require Quieter Surroundings
- Commuter rail for average-sized cities
- Freight cars for manufacturing and industrial use
- Rail yards and depots
- Mass transit railways
- Magnetic rails
Two Primary Objectives For Our Railway Sound Wall Project
There were two significant needs to address with our railroad barrier design. The primary focus was to reduce or eliminate the offensive noise. The secondary goal was to offer an appealing design that blends in with the local surroundings and architecture.
Because our walls noise absorbing material, they have to be tall enough to capture the sound waves. Our goal was to create an aesthetic design that significantly reduced switchyard noises.
How Sound Absorbing Panels Work
Our walls are made with a variety of products to create a maze of acoustic dampeners that take the energy out of sound waves. In effect, they trap and diffuse incoming sound waves inside the panels.
Traditional barriers that are of concrete or block were considered a top solution for decades, but recent studies show how much more effective high sound absorbing panels is in contrast to those outdated sound-reflective materials.
How Noise Levels Harm The Environment
The Australian Academy of Science found that animals migrate away from loud noises causing all sorts of problems from shortages of natural food sources to death. They also noted that these effects are far-reaching and can cause problems for entire ecosystems.
Birds have trouble communicating during feeding and migration, causing many to get lost or leave native habitats in search of quieter nesting areas.
Benefits Of Our Sound Walls
- Customizable for vents, fans, entrance doors, or generators
- Resistant to animal damage
- Effective for any noise reduction application including residential apartments, large warehouse sectors, and loud noise polluters like railways and train stations
- Multiple color options
- Fits in with the area in appealing ways
- Quick delivery
- Rot proof
Noise Absorption Is The Better Option
Since noise barrier systems with concrete, metal, and other reflective materials did not work as hoped, We built an absorptive line of sound barriers to mitigate the sound levels of rail systems, landing platforms, and busy rail yards.
Using lightweight, customizable, and durable materials, Sound Fighter Systems filled the cores of non-corrosive sound panels with sound dampening items and fibers to create walls that absorb unwanted noise.
How Freight Train Noise Control Can Be Beautiful and Functional
Whether a client needs a large wall with long spans as used for natural gas compressors, or smaller sections with ornate details like the brick columns we used to beautify the rail yard in New Jersey, we can create solutions tailored to the industry, size, location, and geography near the noise source.
Our sound walls help transportation companies design noise-friendly railways, switchyards, and terminals in populated areas while protecting the environment and residents from the harmful noises associated with daily operations.
Noise-Absorbing Treatment Versus Concrete Walls
Traditional masonry and concrete sound walls were once thought to be the best solution to noise mitigation. Science has shown that noise absorption is a better method of dealing with pollution because solid walls reflect the sound back into the environment.
Our sound barrier walls get rid of the sound by diminishing the power of the sound wave. By eliminating the noise, the client does not have to worry about regular noise testing to ensure that the company maintains an acceptable decibel level. Our products do not fade, rust, or take well to graffiti.
When a person sees a barrier we installed twenty years ago; it often looks like a recent project because of the durability and longevity of our quality noise abatement systems.
How Absorptive Noise Walls Work
Sound waves travel through the perforated face of the barrier where they encounter a maze of fibrous materials where the sound waves are diffused and minimized. The leftover noise reaches the back wall where it is blocked.
A well-designed sound-absorptive barrier can reduce overall sound energy by as much as 15 to 25 decibels depending on the application and environmental factors.
The sound walls minimize the nuisance wheel and mechanical noises, reducing hazardous noise-related health conditions for workers and nearby residents.
At Sound Fighter, we are dedicated to offering effective and efficient solutions to loud sounds caused by railways and trains along with other noise polluters. Our products eliminate sound in a beneficial wall system that is fully-customizable for any application. Give us a call or check out our blog.