First 'silent' railway track to be installed in UK
Innovative railway track that reduces train noise has been installed for the first time in the UK at Blackfriars station in London.
The special railway track, called SilentTrack®, was developed by British scientists and engineers at Tata Steel. It will reduce rail traffic noise in and around Blackfriars - one of the capital's busiest stations - by up to 50%.
The installation of 0.8 miles (1.3km) of SilentTrack is part of the Thameslink Programme - a major project that will lead to the deployment of more frequent, longer, brand new trains on the Thameslink line and bring about big improvements to three central London stations by 2018.
David Benton, one of the Tata Steel engineers who developed SilentTrack, said: "With increased traffic through Blackfriars as part of the Thameslink Programme it was important to consider measures to keep noise to a minimum for local residents and businesses.
"SilentTrack will reduce peak noise levels from moving trains by about a half. This means the enhanced railway, when it opens later this year, will have no greater noise impact than the existing railway."
SilentTrack, which is already in operation in 13 countries, uses patented dampers attached to the sides of railway track to absorb vibration in the track as trains move over it, which reduces their overall noise impact. The dampers are made in the UK from Scunthorpe-made steel encased in a rubber-like material, and are acoustically tuned to the track.
SilentTrack was developed when Tata Steel engineers teamed up with acoustic experts at the world-renowned lnstitute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton. In-depth research was undertaken into sources of railway noise and the team developed a system to reduce noise after focusing on the wheel/rail interface.
More than 90 miles (140km) of SilentTrack has already been installed worldwide in locations that include Sydney, Oslo and the Rhine Valley.
Mike Poulter, Tata Steel's rail marketing manager, said: "SilentTrack is an innovative and unique product designed to meet the need for quieter rail traffic in projects around the world.
"Our research engineers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, helped to develop the product after we identified growing public demand for noise reduction, particularly in urban areas. SilentTrack also provides a simple, cost-effective solution to address the requirements of new European noise legislation."
About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. Tata Steel is one of the world's top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.