Train cabs, noise and warning sounds

Diesel electric loco

Class 66 diesel-electric
freight locomotive

ISVR Consulting worked with Greenstreet Berman on two projects for the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

The first project was the design of a set of ergonomic alarm and alert sounds for the GSM-R cab radio system for communications between drivers, signallers and others. The sounds were designed to be easily and quickly identified, to be readily heard above the noise in the driver’s cab, to convey an appropriate degree of urgency, and to not conflict with or interfere with sounds from existing equipment already fitted in cabs, such as the ‘Automatic Warning System’ (AWS) and the ‘Driver Safety Device’ (DSD). The GSM-R system has been trialled in Scotland.

The second project concerned sound levels from warning devices in train cabs, such as the AWS and DSD. We prepared a practical guidance document which will allow train operators or manufacturers to set sound levels of current and future warning devices in each type of cab, so that the sounds will be heard reliably, but will not be so loud as to cause annoyance or even discomfort. We have recorded and analysed the ambient noise in driver’s cabs of electric passenger trains and a diesel-electric freight locomotive to test the procedures, and these measurements will be included as example case studies within the guidance.

See also: Railway noise and vibration