Living Near the Railway

Moving next to a railway line?

Are you thinking about becoming ARTC’s newest neighbour?  There are a few things we would like you to consider before making the move.

The railway can be a noisy place.  Operation of trains (24 hours/7 days a week), level crossing bells and train horns can create annoyance for some residents.  ARTC also undertake track maintenance often during the night time to avoid disruption to passenger services.

We’re doing a lot to reduce noise but sometimes it is unavoidable.

We encourage you to visit any property you’re considering purchasing or renting at different times during the day to see how rail noise may impact you.  If you would like information on train movements please see ARTC’s Master Train Plan

Have a look at our website to find out more about the different noise sources and other environmental impacts associated with a railway

If you would like any further information, please visit our feedback page.

New developments next to a railway

As the population grows, and demand for housing close to public transport increases, land that was once occupied by commercial or industrial buildings can be converted to residential land. ARTC is concerned about the encroachment of residential dwellings and other sensitive land uses (e.g. child care centres) on our railway line.

It is important to ARTC that new developments near our railway are built in a way that protects the amenity of new residents.  New developments offer a unique opportunity to implement design and construction practices that protect residents from potential adverse impacts such as noise, dust, vibration and diesel emissions.

State government requirements

State governments have guidelines to manage encroachment of sensitive land uses on railways. These guidelines include internal and/or external noise requirements and in some cases construction standards, for new buildings developing next to operational railway lines. Relevant guidelines for each state are listed below:

State Guideline
South Australia Ministers Specification SA 78B
Guidelines for the assessment of noise from rail infrastructure
New South Wales State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) (2007) Clause 87
Development Near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads – Interim Guideline
Western Australia State Planning Policy 5.4 Road and Rail Transport Noise and Freight
Queensland Mandatory Part (MP) – 4.4 Queensland Development Code – Buildings in a Transport Noise Corridor
State Development Assessment Provisions Module 1: Community Amenity
Policy for Development on Land Affected by Environmental Emissions from Transport and Transport Infrastructure Version 2
Victoria Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise Policy

The documents listed above should serve as a starting point for consent/approval authorities such as local Councils and proponents.

ARTC recommend that the volume and type of rail traffic, proximity to passing loops, signals or level crossings are also considered in regard to new developments when determining if an acoustic assessment is appropriate.  Passing loops and signals will result in train idling and all trains are required to sound their horn at vehicle and pedestrian level crossings. The noise impacts associated with these elements can result in complaints.

Development Applications can be submitted to ARTC for review.

Hunter Valley Noise Maps

Development near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads – Interim Guideline (NSW Planning, 2008) states ‘where there are noise maps available based on actual rail movements the noise map information should be used in preference’[to the information in the guideline].

ARTC is able to provide noise maps for the Hunter Valley Coal Network (Islington Junction to Boggabri and Gulgong). These maps show predicted external day and night LAeq noise levels and can therefore not be directly compared to criteria in the Infrastructure SEPP (which is an internal LAeq).  It is also important to note that these maps are not a substitute for an acoustic assessment but may be used to determine if an acoustic assessment is warranted.

If you are a local Council or approval authority and would like a copy of the noise maps for a specific development please contact our development mailbox.

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