“Train horn working group” established to limit noise in West Melbourne

“Train horn working group” established to limit noise in West Melbourne
Sean Car

The Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) has established a group whose purpose is to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of train horn noise on communities such as those living in West Melbourne.

While life alongside the railyards naturally comes with its expected share of sounds, it’s the often “long and sustained” train horn noise in the early hours which has long caused more than a few disrupted sleeping patterns among locals.

According to West Melbourne resident Gemma Gooding, much of this noise comes from the Alstom depot on Dudley St, where she said it wasn’t uncommon for train horns to be blared between 2am and 4am.

Ms Gooding recently wrote to the rail infrastructure company to question whether anything could be done to limit this type of noise and received a response from DTP assuring locals that efforts were being made to help. She also asked whether the DTP would consider installing noise dampening panels at the corner of Dudley and Adderley streets where trains were parked closest to residential homes.

A DTP representative said that train horns were used at the West Melbourne maintenance facility when train workers were undertaking work on the track, or near trains or rail maintenance vehicles that were moving around the site.

“Train horns are a critical safety device, and drivers must sound the horn in several instances, in line with railway operating regulations, to ensure safe railway operations for passengers and the local community,” the DTP representative said. “Drivers also need to test the horn before taking the train into service, for the safety of the general public.”

“Some maintenance activities are part of start-up or shutdown procedures which may involve the use of train horns and prolonged use of lighting to maintain the safety of workers.”

However, the DTP also confirmed that it had started a “train horn working group with rail operators to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of train horn noise on the community.”


“The working group is reviewing areas of heavy train horn usage and where recent infrastructure upgrades have improved the safety of the rail network,” the DTP representative said.


“In addition, DTP is working to ensure train fleets are compliant with Australian standards, that operational practices are consistent, and that train horn use is reduced where possible.”

North West City News asked the DTP whether the new working group had held any meetings since it was established, and whether it had made any recommendations or introduced any changes to limit train horn noise to date. It is yet to receive a response.

Ms Gooding said while she hadn’t received any further information on the matter, train horn noise had subsided since her original enquiry in April; perhaps evidence that the working group is having the desired effect! •

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