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Mitigation measures

What noise levels can we expect from REM traffic, and what mitigation measures are planned? 

Video capsule: Noise mitigation measures

In this second capsule of a series of three videos, Denis Andlauer, director of operations, presents the different mitigation measures found on the REM network, depending on the types of noise emitted.

Noise in railway environments 

Railway noise is made up of different types of noise. It is linked, among other things, to track condition and configuration, and to the type and speed of trains (passenger, freight).

In general, the following types of noise can be encountered: 

Noise types 1, 2 and 3
Noise type 4
Noise type 5
Noise type 6
  1. Rolling noise, produced by contact between wheel and rail.
  2. Traction noise, produced by the engine and transmission systems.
  3. Impact noise, produced by the impact of wheels on the rail junction.  
  4. Squealing noise, which can be produced by passing cars on curves.  
  5. Rumbling noise, which can be produced by the spread of vibrations through a structure.  
  6. Auxiliary noise, produced by air conditioning and heating in particular. 


The REM’s case 

However, according to analyses carried out by SYSTRA (the expert assigned to the REM project), three main types of noise stand out: 

  • Rolling noise: This is generated by irregularities in the rail and wheels. These micrometre-sized irregularities, which are needed for trains to stick to tracks, cause the rails, wheels and sleepers (or concrete platform) to vibrate. These elements accumulate noise by vibrating, leading to rolling noise.
  • Rumbling noise: This is characterized by low frequencies (deep sound). It is the radiation of a heavy structure, such as an overpass deck, caused by the vibrations spread through it by the passage of a car.
  • Station noise: The main sources of fixed infrastructure noise are station systems, such as ventilation, heating, and those connected to the REM power supply.

As explained above, the impact of these types of noise varies according to the environment in which they occur. Nevertheless, there are a number of actions and measures in place to deal with these sources of noise.


Mitigation measures

From the outset of REM’s design phase, particular attention was paid to preventing noise pollution from its components whether rolling stock, stations or tracks.


At-source measures

Image of at-source measures
REM cars 

REM cars have features that help reduce the noise caused by their circulation: 

1. A 100% electric motor to reduce auxiliary and traction noise. 

2. Specially treated metal and wheel flange lubricators to prevent curve squeal. 


The tracks

The tracks themselves have also been designed to avoid certain noises generated by contact between the rails and car wheels. 

3. These include rail welding, which not only improves ride comfort and reduces maintenance costs, but above all eliminates impact noise and vibration at rail joints.  

4. Rubber supports were installed, in some locations, under the track to reduce rumbling noise. 


Fixes infrastructures

As for fixed infrastructures, mitigation measures have also been incorporated into the design and construction of buildings, such as:

5. the installation of silencers on ventilation equipment.  

6. The construction of artificial obstacles such as barriers.


Complementary measures

In addition to the measures taken to reduce noise at source from the REM, further measures have been added to attenuate noise from the passage of the REM. 

These complementary measures mainly involve the installation of noise barriers along residential areas and sensitive receptors at various points on the network.


Maps of noise barrier locations by sector: 

South-West borough

Ville-de-Mont-Royal borough

Saint-Laurent borough

Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough

City of Laval

City of Deux-Montagnes

noise barrier REM noise barrier
Inside REM noise barrier Inside REM noise barriers

The noise barriers are made of white, 100% PVC prefabricated panels installed on galvanized steel posts. Inside, they contain acoustic insulation that absorbs sound and prevents it from bouncing.

Additionally, a track and rolling stock maintenance program is in place and will continue throughout REM operation, involving track grinding and wheel reprofiling to reduce rolling noise.


Measure enhancements 

When REM cars began to run more intensively in 2023, a greater noise impact than expected was noted in some areas between Central and Île-des-Soeurs stations. The type of infrastructure in place has an influence on noise behaviour, which is why mitigation measures have been improved where necessary: 

  • Dynamic absorbers were installed directly on the tracks to dampen the sound impact caused by the vibrations of running cars, reducing rolling noise.
  • This was followed by a maintenance operation involving the reprofiling of rolling stock wheels and track grinding. By combining these two measures, the contact between the wheels and the rails was smoothed out as much as possible, reducing the resulting rolling noise. 

An enhancement that was made possible through:  

  1. Noise measurements carried out prior to REM circulation which determined its noise impact.
  2. Noise analyses carried out during REM circulation to find what was causing the discrepancy between projections and reality and to identify the appropriate mitigation measures to close this gap. 

This shows the importance of the acoustic monitoring process, which revolves around noise analyses carried out before, during and after commissioning, in each of the environments through which the REM runs. 

Go further

Noise 101

From theory to practice