BELGIUM: Infrastructure manager Infrabel is to install a new design of resilient rail pad during track renewals from 2018, aiming to equip 120 km a year. Developed in-house over a period of three years, the pads inserted between the rail and concrete sleepers have been proven to reduce operational noise by 50% or 3 dB, according to two independent assessments.

Installation of the new pads began in February this year, and 30 km of track has now been equipped, including a section of the main line between Brussels and Oostende.

Infrabel says that using the new rail pads to reduce noise costs €1/m. This compares with €3/m for rail grinding, €600/m for specialist rail fastenings incorporating vibration attenuation and €2 500/m for permanent noise barriers, the latter two options having much higher maintenance as well as installation costs.