We take measures to minimise the sound and vibration from our locomotives and wagons along the Carmichael Rail Network.
While much of the rail corridor spans sparsely populated areas, we want to make sure locals bear as few potential impacts as possible. Our measures to reduce and mitigate noise are aimed at protecting the health and biodiversity of local ecosystems, and ensuring an environment that is conducive to human health with appropriate sound levels for people to sleep, study or learn, and relax.
We have a history of ensuring noise controls are effective. In the first year of operation we received zero complaints relating to noise or vibration, following on from zero complaints during construction.
Why noise controls are important to us
Noise minimisation and mitigation is important to maintain responsible environmental management, not just for people but for animals, too.
Through our noise control plans we have committed to protecting or enhancing the acoustic environment in which we operate. We do this because noise can impact the birds and animals that live in our environment. Our plans are aimed at creating the right environmental conditions so that we protect the nesting habits of species like the Black-throated finch and squatter pigeon, and avoid nest abandonment due to noise or vibration.
Likewise, we minimise noise and vibration in the surrounding habitat of ground-dwelling animals, such as the common death adder. We also conduct daily monitoring around the habitat of the eastern great egret, to ensure conditions are suitable for their health and wellbeing.
Our measures to reduce and mitigate noise are aimed at protecting the health and biodiversity of local ecosystems,and ensuring an environment that is conducive to human health with appropriate sound levels for people to sleep, study or learn, and relax.
How we minimise noise
We try to minimise potential noise and vibration from its source to reduce any external impacts.
We’ve planted trees and shrubs along the corridor to reduce train noise carrying to our neighbours.
Our freight trains are state-of-the-art and highly fuel efficient – making them less noisy than other models – and we also train our drivers in noise mitigation and the appropriate use of machinery.
We set operational noise limits in line with Queensland Environmental Protection laws and our own Noise and Vibration Management Plan. These are 65dB LAeq (24 hours) – an average equivalent continuous sound level over a day – or a level similar to a conversation or laughter, but less noisy than a hairdryer.
We reduce noise to protect the biodiversity of local ecosystems, and ensure an environment that is conducive to human health with appropriate sound levels for people to sleep, study or learn, and relax.
The maximum volume at any time is 87db, similar to the whir of a blender, milling machine or garbage disposal unit.
Why rail operations generate some noise
We seek to responsibly manage any noise associated with our operations, however, there are times when safety devices or occasional maintenance works do create noise.
Train horns are an important safety device and warn others in or around the network that a train is approaching. They are designed to be heard above car engines or stereos and drivers are required to sound the horn on approach to public level crossings.
Routine maintenance works can also create noise, such as through the use of machinery with reversing beepers or track conditioning or grinding machines. These works are important to maintain the condition of the rail line and ensure its ongoing safety and performance.
Soundtrack of Common Noises
Common Sources of Noise and Decibel Levels
Monitoring noise levels along the Carmichael Rail Network
Baseline monitoring before we constructed the railway revealed the areas we pass through have noise levels in keeping with their quiet rural settings.
With trains operating daily, our environmental team continues to monitor noise levels at several homesteads along the line.
If the monitoring finds an impact, we employ additional mitigation measures such as tree and shrub plantings and, potentially, noise barriers.
We also try to minimise noise through the regular servicing of vehicles and equipment and making sure alarms and warning devices are within operational health and safety limits.
Noise and the Environmental Protection Act
When we have to undertake activities that could cause noise emissions, we are required to act under an environmental authority, which lists approval conditions in relation to noise.
We have developed policies and plans to maintain the acoustic environment along the Carmichael Rail Network. These are in line with the Queensland Government's operational railway noise and vibration guideline.
We have a comprehensive policy for noise complaints and enquiries to ensure any issues are investigated and resolved. In the event of an issue, our policy stipulates we review work practices to consider the potential source of the noise issue such as train wheel squeak, horn use, engine noise, or track grinding.