Noise at work means that employees/workers are constantly exposed to a source of noise, which could damage their hearing. Employers take preventive measures to reduce the noise or makes personal protective equipment available to the employees/workers. Ambient noise is the noise that we are exposed to within our surroundings, such as traffic noise, road noise, aircraft noise and also railway noise. Railway noise is created by the wheels turning on the railway track, braking or the noise of the ventilation unit for the air conditioning or other engines, like with diesel engines.
Ambient noise is perceived subjectively, meaning that each person perceives it differently. The psyche also plays a part in this. People who like taking the train perceive railway noise as less of a burden than other people for instance. However a permanent exposure to noise pollution can lead to chronic cardio-vascular diseases and/or sleeplessness. Around 30% of the people in Europe are exposed at night to traffic noise exceeding the maximum limit.
On a national level, the ministry for the environment has set up an action plan for the reduction of traffic noise.
But CFL too has been working towards a reduction of rail transport noise for years in order to provide noticeable relief to people living along railway lines.
By renewing the fleet of carriages in 2009, CFL has considerably reduced railway noise. The new material has got new "quiet braking systems". Thus CFL has got not only one of the most modern railway carriage fleets, but also one of the most quiet in Europe.
In order to reduce the friction between track and wheel to a minimum, the tracks are polished, which also leads to a reduction of the noise pollution.
In the case of freight wagons, the noise created by the turning of the wheel on the track is louder than in the case of the railway carriages and the brakes also produce higher noise levels. Therefore CFL Cargo invested in new freight wagons, which have got composite braking systems and thus contribute to a reduction of the noise. However CFL has little influence on other wagons from the European pool that cross Luxembourg.
For this reason, soundproof barriers were installed in many parts of the railway network, in particular at designated hot spots. Soundproof barriers are the best way to reduce ambient noise (by -20 to -30 dB(A)).
Further measures to those mentioned above include soundproof barriers on some parts of the railway lines.
The above-mentioned action plan identified sites in Luxembourg where more than 60,000 trains drive past per year and which are considered a priority when it comes to the installation of soundproof barriers.
In the context of the doubling of the Luxembourg – Pétange line, soundproof barriers were installed in Bascharage, Dippach and Cessingen over a length of 1.2 km.
The national action plan had also designated the train station in Noertzange for noise protection measures, which were implemented in the context of the renovation of the station. In terms of noise reduction, this project was considered to be a pilot project. "Z"-shaped soundproof barriers, which are supposed to absorb the noise even better and which CFL itself developed, were installed here. In addition to the barriers, rail dampers were installed alongside a part of the line to dampen the track noise (by -4 to -5 dB(A)).
The railway bridge in Esch-sur-Alzette, which was designated as a hot spot in the action plan, was covered in coloured soundproof barriers, as part of a common project with the municipality.
The installation of soundproof barriers in Schifflange is planned for the end of 2016 in the context of the renovation of the train stop.
Noise protection measures are now a fixed part of all of CFL's future projects, because the future belongs to a quiet railway!