Ten years of rail roughness control in the Netherlands Lessons learned

Invited paper

Wout Schwanen


Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 17:00 - 17:20

0.1 London (90)

Reducing the rail roughness is a well-known and accepted noise mitigation measure for railways. When the rail roughness is reduced, the excitation of rolling noise is effectively reduced at the source. Rail roughness is not constant over time: after reducing the rail roughness by grinding, the roughness and consequently the rolling noise emission will increase again. This means that the time aspect has to be taken into account both in noise impact studies and in the maintenance regime. In practice, the time development is taken into account by using the time- averaged roughness level maintenance in noise impact studies and by monitoring of the rail roughness. Monitoring is an essential part of the noise mitigation measure, because it is needed to demonstrate to the authorities that a certain average noise reduction is achieved and to know when it is needed to grind the rail again to assure that a desired average roughness level is obtained. The combination of rail grinding and monitoring the rail roughness is used on the high speed line in the Netherlands. Infraspeed Maintenance bv has incorporated rail roughness control in their asset management strategy now. They have to demonstrate to the authorities that the track stays within certain noise emission limits and they do that by monitoring the rail roughness on a regular base and grinding the rail when needed. Thus a certain average noise emission reduction is guaranteed. This paper gives an overview of the lessons learned in ten years rail roughness control on the high speed line. It explains which challenges, technically as well as procedurally, were overcome to bring the idea from the drawing board into practice.

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