Ground-Borne Vibration

Vibration caused by rail traffic

The passage of trains, trams and other kinds of rail traffic generates vibrations of many kinds. These mainly stem from contact between wheels and rails whose surfaces have a non-perfect geometry, and also to the passage of wheels and bogies over track joints and sleepers.

Such vibration is transmitted through the entire track structure – rails, sleepers, ballast and sublayers – and propagates through the subsoil as waves. People, who live and work close to such railway lines or above railway tunnels, experience these waves as vibration. Historical buildings and delicate machinery in nearby buildings are also adversely affected by vibration of this kind.

Attenuation of vibration using Rockdelta resilient mats to deal with trackvibration

It is possible to attenuate the effects of such vibration by decoupling the track from the ground, using a resilient support layer. The unique properties of Rockdelta anti-vibration mats provide a highly efficient, durable and environmentally friendly solution to most of the vibration problems encountered in the vicinity of rail and tram tracks. This solution results in a considerable improvement in the quality of life for those nearby.

Vibration propagation from rails
Vibration propagation from rails

Vibration propagation from rails

The process of the vibration propagation from a rail track and track formation to the surrounding structures has the following phases; generation, that is, force excitation caused by the passage of rolling stock with irregular wheel geometries over imperfect rail running surfaces; transmission, that is, the propagation of waves through the surrounding soils; reception, that is, the propagating waves received as vibrations by nearby buildings – possibly amplified by these because floors, walls and windows may resonate – by people and by machinery inside these buildings; and finally intervention, that is, the mitigation of vibrations using various isolation techniques.
The process of the vibration propagation from a rail track and track formation to the surrounding structures has the following phases; generation, that is, force excitation caused by the passage of rolling stock with irregular wheel geometries over imperfect rail running surfaces; transmission, that is, the propagation of waves through the surrounding soils; reception, that is, the propagating waves received as vibrations by nearby buildings – possibly amplified by these because floors, walls and windows may resonate – by people and by machinery inside these buildings; and finally intervention, that is, the mitigation of vibrations using various isolation techniques.

Influence on people and environment

Consequences of railways and tramways in densely populated areas

Offering significant advantages to individual users as well as to the community at large, the use of railways, not least high-speed railways and rapid mass transportation systems in urban and sub-urban networks, is increasing worldwide. Many cities have accordingly encountered the problem that important infrastructure projects – involving railways or tramways – come close to densely populated areas or vibration-sensitive areas.

In industrial areas, although vibrations caused by the passage of rolling stock on a railway or tramway track may not immediately result in damage to buildings and their foundations, they are known to cause delicate machinery located inside buildings to malfunction. Equally important, in residential areas, the passage of rolling stock on railways or tramways, and the resulting generation of noise and vibration, may greatly annoy the people living alongside the railways, causing everything from discomfort to an adverse impact on the quality of life often resulting in increased levels of stress during daytime and sleeping problems during nighttime.

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