Hielke Zandberg, Specialist Noise and Vibrations – ProRail

Process of assessing nuisance due to railway vibrations

In the Netherlands there is no legislation concerning nuisance due to railway vibrations. Therefore throughout the years it has become common practice to use the Dutch SBR­guidelines concerning nuisance caused by vibrations. These Dutch guidelines are derived from the German standard DIN 41 50 ”Erschuetterungen im Bauwesen”.

Vibration levels

The Dutch guideline uses similar parameters as the German standard to measure and describe vibration levels in dwellings. Due to this fact the practice of assessing the impact of railway expansion projects concerning the topic of vibrations, has evolved through a process of jurisprudence. Since 2012 the Dutch government has designed new policy guidelines concerning assessment of railways vibration.

However dilemmas still remain. Limits of the guideline cannot easily be met by good engineering or a proper quality in building practice alone. Through experience ProRail has built up a practice in judging the impact of railway vibrations and in the process of assessing vibration reducing measurements. The presentation will show some recent examples in the Netherlands and will explain the process of assessing the topic of nuisance due to railway vibrations.

The process of assessing railway vibrations

In recent years some vibration reducing measurements has been realized. The presentation will show the results of the assessing process in a project in Arnhem and by a recently build railway tunnel in the city of Delft. Both projects have used the results of extensive measurement programs and prediction models. The effect of vibration reducing measurements will be illustrated.

The Dutch policy guidelines has made a start in defining how to compute the costs and public benefits of vibration reducing measurements. For each dwelling (or group of dwellings) costs and benefits can be illustrated. As a result the process of decision making can be made clear and more transparent. This will also be illustrated with examples of a railway extension project near Utrecht and the railway corridor between Zevenaar and the Dutch German border. One has decided to implement a wave impeding trench in the Utrecht project and to apply under sleeper pads in the Zevenaar project. These projects have been designed but not yet realized.


The process of decision making has made it clear that there is a need for good data to judge properties of vibration reducing measurements. Recently the first draft of a digital catalogue of measurements have been completed. The catalogue contains a summary of practices. The results of many studies have been categorized, especially the results of the European research programs RIVAS and CargoVibes. This catalogue can be used in the process of assessing vibration reducing measurements in railway projects. The presentation will show some results of the catalogue.

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