Apply acoustic control on railway line at Sydney Olympic Park

Apply acoustic control on railway line at Sydney Olympic Park

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Petition to
Transport for NSW and

Why this petition matters

Started by Perry Wong

Sydney Olympic Park has been one of the hubs for entertainment in Sydney. Its fame stemmed from its inaugural opening for the 2000 Olympics, and since then has provided arenas and stadiums to host sports functions, entertainment events and large scale programs such as the Royal Easter Show.

Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) is deemed to be an essential element when considering Sydney Commission's Three City Approach (Sydney Olympic Park Authority [SOPA], 2018) and has since, under its Master Plan 2030, been increasing in residential and commercial offerings through joint use zoning in the main part of the park, in tandem with the provision of natural parkways and wetlands that have been the heart of this area. 

The railway line that exist is looped from Lidcombe Station and circles from this station to the Sydney Olympic Park Station. Also, works are now being considered for the development of the Metro West line, to join the western city of Parramatta with the main Sydney CBD. 

While the Olympics occurred at the park, and while it remained solely for visitors for events and venues, the railway line posed no problems. It provided a way for visitors to access the park through the train system, and the SOP Station is wide and spacious, offering an inviting entry straight into the centre of the park, where many of the commercial places and venues exist. 

However, with the Master Plan 2030, SOP is being repurposed to allow for a greater residential focus so that the Park will become a vibrant heart of the Parramatta Local Government Area (LGA) and the Greater Sydney as a whole. Currently, there exists five apartment complexes that sit above the railway line, which are:

  • Australia Towers
  • Opal Tower
  • Botania Apartments
  • Pavilions
  • Boomerang Towers (this is across the road from the railway line).

The latter of the two apartment buildings have only become occupied over the past 2 years. It is estimated that these complexes service thousands of citizens as residents of their homes.

The new Metro Station is being planned to be built at the end of Figtree Drive, opposite the Aquatic Centre and it is currently unclear how the line will feed into this station nor how, operationally, the heavy rail and the metro line will work in tandem.

As people continue to occupy these apartment complexes, there is increasing angst about the noise which the train line is generating. Residents have been complaining with each other about the noise level experienced in their apartments, especially those that are directly facing the train line and even by those that live somewhat remove from it.

According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), a document signed off by both the NSW Government and the EPA titled Rail Infrastructure Noise Guidelines (2013), external airborne noise tolerance for existing rail lines should be:

  • Day time (7 am - 10 pm): 65 LAeq or 85 LAFmax (external)
  • Night time (10 pm - 7 am): 60 LAeq or 85 LAFmax (external).

However, with limited instrumentation and measured halfway up the Pavilions complex, the levels when a train runs by the apartment complex measures (at around 6:42 am) approximately 72.4 (LAeq) [measured externally], and peaking at 107 (where EPA (2013) states that it should not exceed 95% of the LAFmax (i.e., 81 db)). As seen here, this is well above tolerance for night time operations. The peak noise levels mentioned here (i.e., when the train is directly at the measure point) are comparable to a running chainsaw. Research articles have indicated that regular and prolonged exposure of more than 1.5 minutes per day to this level risks permanent hearing loss.

The train line also operates, openly, next to several child care centres, with one that sits directly on the line, as well as next to the Bicentennial Park and sports ovals. These are considered as sensitive land use, with noise tolerances of 45 LAeq for the child care centres (internally), 65 LAeq for both open space - passive and active use.

Residents have already raised this problem with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) with remediation actions of asking drivers to slow down and to lubricate the rails, but this has yielded little to no result.

We are unclear where the responsibility of remediating this problem may exist, but there may exist a potential partnership and collaborations between NSW Government, City of Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

There have been effective interventions that have been implemented in Australia and across the world that have mitigated the impact of noise caused by trains. We ask that, in consideration of the rail services in SOP and the expansion of residential and commercial offerings in this town, that these are thoroughly researched and a suitable solution is implemented to mitigate the severe sound intrusions caused by the rail line, current and future, here at SOP. 

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