Back to All

NYCTRC learns about subway noise reduction

Continuous welded rail

Mr. Thomas Abdullah was the guest of the NYCTRC at its November 2009 meeting and outlined elements of the system for which he has responsibility.  He spoke about the 700 miles of track, 70 of which is above ground and 2/3 of which is composed of continuous welded rail.  He also alluded to the 18 bus depots that he must address.  Mr. Abdullah said that there are a number of green projects underway at NYC Transit, including the introduction of 1,000 hybrid buses into the 4,500 bus fleet, the conversion of 6,500 subway signals to more energy efficient lighting, the four solar installations throughout the system, and Transit’s efforts toward using green roof technology.

Mr. Abdullah said that he is responsible for noise mitigation and abatement efforts in the system.  In the subways, some tools that are used to reduce noise are continuous welded rail, resilient rail fasteners, rail lubrication, sound absorbing materials, ring dampened wheels, wheel truing, and composition brake shoes.  He said that noise is generally an indicator of maintenance issues, but on curves where noise is a recurring problem, rail lubrication is used to reduce noise.  Lubrication is effective when the equipment that provides it is maintained.  In stations, sound dampening materials may be used.

He said that Transit is striving to follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards in its facilities, but that these standards were created for office buildings and it has been a challenge to adapt these standards for the transit system.  The LEED standards provide a buffet of possibilities for designers to use.  Mr. Abdullah said that Transit is changing the way it does design, and that this was illustrated in the design charrette that the agency held for the Mother Clara Hale reconstruction project.  This new approach also resulted in the formation of a noise committee within NYC Transit, which Mr. Abdullah chairs.

Mr. Abdullah’s presentation can be seen by clicking here.