SBB’s comprehensive noise reduction programme has made it a European pioneer in protecting local residents from railway noise for many years.
Alongside the numerous environmental benefits that railways have to offer, they are associated with some negative phenomena, one of which is noise. SBB is working hard to reduce noise from rail and shunting operations, stabled trains and construction works.
Reducing noise of the fleet.
Whenever possible, SBB tackles noise directly at its source. With the support of the Confederation, noise reduction work has been carried out on all passenger coaches and around 5,500 freight wagons, i.e. they have been equipped with K brake blocks made from composite materials. SBB Cargo has also procured 2,600 new low-noise freight wagons, meaning that almost the entire fleet is now quiet. However, on all important transit routes, around 20% of freight wagons are foreign-owned and run with old, loud braking systems. In conjunction with the International Union of Railways (UIC), SBB is therefore campaigning for the refurbishment of foreign-owned freight wagons. From 2020, no loud freight wagons will be allowed to run on the Swiss rail network.
Noise barriers on railway lines.
To provide additional protection for residents, SBB erects noise barriers in densely populated areas. A total of 372km of these barriers have now been installed. If noise pollution limits are exceeded despite these measures, sound-absorbing windows are installed in the houses affected. The Cantons ensure uniform implementation of the installation measures.
Further optimisation measures.
In conjunction with the Confederation and technical experts, SBB is drawing up a supplementary package of noise protection measures. The measures include technical optimisation of the track, shunting operations, stabled trains and construction noise.