latest news
Keeping informed on the latest news.
Sound of high speed rail line simulated to allay residents' fears

Given a choice between a blast of Ride of the Valkyries and the cacophony created by a 225mph train whooshing past the bottom of the garden, most people might opt for Wagner. 

But in an attempt to persuade the residents of middle England that Britain's second high-speed rail line might not be the blot on the aural landscape they fear, the government is resorting to technology used to perfect conditions for opera lovers to simulate life near the proposed London-to-Birmingham route.

The same "3D" sound technique that shaped the acoustics of the Copenhagen and Oslo opera houses is recreating the sonic effect of state-of-the-art intercity trains passing through suburban London and prime swaths of home counties countryside.

Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, said the sound simulation would convince thousands of residents that the £17bn project will not blight the landscape. Unveiling sound booths that will tour the High Speed Two (HS2) route, Hammond said that on some parts of the route the trains will be barely audible.

"Unless you are listening for it, you don't hear it. The train does not particularly stand out, which is different from what people have been led to expect."

The 3D effect is achieved by using microphones with multiple sensors that record sound levels, punctuations in those sounds, and then movement.

The 3D system created by Arup, the engineering firm, uses sound recordings taken from French TGV high-speed services and lays them over background recordings taken from four locations on the high-speed route: Northolt in west London; Great Missenden and Wendover in Buckinghamshire; and Ladbroke in Warwickshire.

The 3D effect is achieved by using microphones with multiple sensors that record sound levels, punctuations in those sounds, and then movement. 

The same technique is used to design concert halls by simulating the sound's journey from the performer to the building and then to the listener. 

Richard Greer, the Arup director behind the HS2 sound programme, said: "You actually feel you are there. It is that faithful, that you think it gives people better access to what is a very difficult subject area. It enables them to come to an informed view about HS2."

As well as sending sound booths on a roadshow that lasts until June, Arup has made its recordings available in a studio in central London, where the soundtracks will be matched to video representations of the route. 

The recording in Great Missenden simulates the high speed line 1 km away, over a busy section of the A413, and the trains are inaudible.

In the Northolt recording, which replicates the experience of standing 75 metres from the line, the high speed services are less noisy than services on the adjacent Chiltern rail line. 

Hammond said his own experience of transport blight had not disrupted his domestic home 750 metres from a busy bypass outside Woking. "My experience of living quite close to a busy road for 13 years is, you get pretty immune to it." 

However, opposition to the line remains fierce in the countryside sections of the 140-mile route. Julian Smyth-Osbourne, spokesman for HS2 Action Alliance, said: "How loud or quiet the high-speed train may be is an issue for the poor people who live and work near the line.

"What is becoming increasingly clear is that HS2 will be a white elephant costing billions that will be a millstone round all of our necks for generations to come and that is an issue for every single one of us." 

A consultation on the London-to-Birmingham route closes at the end of July with the view to starting construction in about five years and completing it by 2026. 

The government is also drawing up plans for a second phase that will link Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds via two separate lines.

Source by: 
The Guardian
Share the page: 

Copyright © MyHSR Corporation Sdn. Bhd.  All rights reserved.
Reg No: 201501022390 (1147719-M)
Generic Popup