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Macdonaldtown train horn noise project

Feb 24, 2011Update

Work is continuing on the project to develop an audible warning system for use in depots across the RailCorp network that meets safety requirements while not breaching NSW noise pollution laws.

There is a proposal to now utilise a new type of yard horn to meet new environmental sanctions that were first imposed on the new facility at Macdonaldtown.

RTBU representatives continually queried the possibility that a significant engineering control like the whistle/horn could be modified to a lower level of protection due to noise complaints. These concerns were again brushed aside as trivial. Procedures were put in place in November 2007 at Macdonaldtown, as an interim measure until an engineering control was found that was to better than the original solution, ie replacing the Shunter/Yardmaster.

No consultation into the design of the proposed engineering control occurred until August 2010. It was here that at this advisory meeting that the yard horn was presented and the process of which was explained where two risk assessments and a workshop were already carried out without any input into the design or requirements from the elected representatives.

Representatives were advised that:

• Tangaras to be fitted with ‘Electronic Quaker’ type beeper
• The Ditchlights will flash when initiated
• ‘K’ set will be installed with LEDs (Ditchlights)
• All other DDSC will not be fitted out
• Cab layouts, whistle/horn button locations are to be determined.

A trial of the new engineering device was organised at Maintrain, where the scope was to gain timing sequences for both Quaker and Ditchlights. No mention of being fit for purpose was on the agenda.

However, the representatives utilised the remaining time due to the technical hitches encountered to verify the volume of noise that was emitted by this device. The result that was attained on site is the ‘Quaker’ did not deliver the same safety enhancements as the train horn that is required before the movement of any rolling stock.

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