Rail traffic inevitably causes vibration. However, SBB is doing all it can to minimise this problem with the help of modern technology and cost-effective measures.
Metal wheels rolling on rails not only generate noise, but also vibrations that spread through the ground, building foundations and walls and are also transmitted into people's homes. Residents perceive these vibrations are tremors or hear an unpleasant dull humming noise. Measures previously put in place have resulted in a comprehensive refurbishment programme costing billions of Swiss francs.
As part of an internal project, SBB has been testing soft undersleeperpads for points. This undersleeperpad has led to a positive result for higher frequencies. The measure is to be tested for robustness in future projects.
SBB is a partner in an international project to improve points, where the key focus is on reducing low-frequency vibrations and noise. The project finishes in December 2021. In the long term, the entire network is to be upgraded in a cost-effective way.
A promising measure is the undersleeperpad that SBB has been tested on a busy route at the southern foot of the Jura Mountains since October 2011. However, this measure showed a significant increase in noise, not just here but also in other cases. The Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN, is pursuing various initiatives to reduce noise in the superstructure. It is hoped that a new solution will eliminate the significant increase in noise with undersleeperpads. Compared to the conventional sub-ballast mat, the undersleeperpad is much cheaper.