Queensland Rail is committed to mitigating noise from its activities in a reasonable and practical manner.
Queensland Rail endeavours to reduce noise using a variety of techniques including:
- Installation and maintenance of noise mitigation systems such as track lubricators and water sprinklers to reduce wheel squeal
- Ongoing infrastructure maintenance and upgrades including the installation of continuously welded rail to reduce track generated noise
- Assessment and provision of noise barriers
- Specifying external noise performance standards for our passenger train fleet
- Early notification of neighbouring communities about any proposed night-time maintenance and/or construction works
Queensland Rail has a comprehensive maintenance program for its 7,000 kilometres of track throughout the State, including regular rail grinding.
Rails lose their shape because of wheel impact, abrupt acceleration and braking and situations such as extreme heat, vibration and movement. Removing irregularities from worn rails reduces noise, results in a smoother ride and extends track life.
Two machines are used to grind the track in Queensland. The largest is ‘the mainline’ rail grinder which is 180 metres long, has nine wagons and weighs approximately 650 tonnes. It looks a lot like a train but travels at between eight and 12 kms an hour, grinding the rail as it travels and making significant noise.
A slightly smaller ‘turn out grinder’ is used to grind small sections of rail, such as crossings and rail deviations. This machine is 55 metres, has five wagons and weighs 160 tonnes.
These track vehicles can only operate safely when there are no trains running on the same line. To minimise inconvenience to the thousands of people who travel by train in Queensland each day, the necessary track closures are generally scheduled between the last evening service and the first morning service.
People living close to the rail corridor will hear the rail grinder for a few minutes late at night as it approaches and moves past their properties. In most cases the noise will last only a few minutes.
Queensland Rail apologises to its neighbours for any inconvenience caused by this after hours noise. Approximate times are advertised in local papers, on our website and will be alerted via social media.