You are here

Noise register of rail traffic

Noise nuisance caused by rail traffic was modelled in 2006: the contours of the annual noise levels that exceed 45 dB(A) are indicated on the map of the noise situation of the regional territory. Only a small part of the Brussels territory experiences a noise impact from rail traffic. It concerns the immediate vicinity of the tracks and places where there are few obstacles acting as a acoustic barrier.

Rail, a transport mode of increasing importance

In the railway network of SNCB and, in particular, the train stations Etterbeek, Brussels-Schuman, Brussels-Nord and Brussels-Midi, a strong increase in noise was observed between 1990 and 2004 (+7%).

Assessment of noise from rail traffic

To assess the noise nuisance for the Brussels environment an 'acoustic' site description of the territory was made for the year 2006. The purpose of this site description is to quantify the 'structural' noise from rail traffic and to create a model that reflects the nuisance experienced by the population. The resulting maps of this modelling are called the 'noise register of rail traffic'.

This register determines the Lden (Level day-evening-night), on the one hand, and the Ln (Level night), on the other. Lden represents the weighted equivalent noise level over 24 hours that was observed on average for an entire year (in this case 2006). For the weighting a penalty factor of 5 dB(A) is applied during the evening (7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.) and of 10 dB(A) during the night (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.), as noise at those times is experienced as a greater nuisance. However, Lden is not representative of the 'noise peaks' that occur when a train goes by; for those peaks other, so-called 'event indicators' are used.
Ln (Level night) represents the noise level during the night (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.).

Severity of noise nuisance from rail trafficNoise register of rail traffic in the Brussels Capital Region – Indicator Lden
Sources : Leefmilieu Brussel and Acouphen Environnement, 2010, « Geluidshinder door het verkeer – Strategische kaart voor het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest », based on the traffic data for 2006, method RMR-SRMII-1996 and the modelling software CadnaA

 Severity of noise nuisance from rail trafficNoise register of rail traffic in the Brussels Capital Region – Indicator Lden

The impact of rail traffic noise affects only a small part of the Brussels territory. It occurs in the immediate surroundings of the tracks or in a larger adjoining area when the noise encounters few obstacles (for instance along the canal, around the marshalling yard, in the Sonian Forest and in Pede in Anderlecht). Although the effects are very localised, their impact is not inappreciable: noise levels along the tracks often rise above 70 dB(A) and amount to levels between 55 and 65 dB(A) in adjacent areas.
The greatest impact (and the widest corridor) is located along a northeast-southwest axis that coincides with the north-south junction. In Anderlecht, where the tracks from Ghent to Brussels enter the Brussels territory, the impact is strong as well.

The noise level at night is around 5 to 10 dB(A) below the day-time level. At night the noise nuisance is caused by freight trains.

Railway traffic generates less noise nuisance than air and road traffic

The noise connected to rail traffic occupies the third place when it comes to urban noise nuisance due to transport (expressed in number of residents exposed). Road traffic produces most noise, followed by air traffic. This does not mean that isolated events cannot cause a lot of nuisance for certain persons.
These conclusions are however based on a scale model of the Region and reflect the situation over a whole year.


  • Acouphen Environnement, 2009, 'Impact acoustique des transports terrestres pour le Région de Bruxelles-Capitale', study commissioned by Bruxelles Environnement - Leefmilieu Brussel, final report, 303 pages


Date de mise à jour: 25/06/2020