Freight Noise Attenuation Program
The treatments offered under the program have been proven to substantially reduce freight rail noise impacts experienced in living and sleeping areas that face the rail corridor. Treatments can include upgraded windows, solid external doors and enhanced ventilation.
The NSW Government is funding the $50 million 10 year initiative to install noise-reducing treatments in eligible homes and buildings near freight rail corridors between Sydney and Nowra, Macarthur, Newcastle and Lithgow.
The 10 year program started in 2015 and to date more than 780 properties have received treatments under the program.
If you live next to a freight rail corridor managed by the NSW Government you may be eligible for treatments under the program. If your home meets the criteria it will be assessed for treatment.
How to apply
To apply for the Freight Noise Attenuation Program, please complete the application form. (PDF, 471.21 KB)
Email your application form to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to:
Transport for NSW
Freight Noise Attenuation Program
PO Box 973
Parramatta NSW 2124
Find out more
If you would like to learn more about the program, please call 1800 446 517 (toll free), or email email@example.com
Freight Noise Attenuation Program - Policy (PDF, 196.61 KB)
Freight Noise Attenuation Program - Noise Monitoring Fact Sheet (PDF, 831.93 KB)
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible for noise treatments under the program?
To be eligible for treatments under the program, a dwelling must meet all of the following criteria:
- Exposed to external rail noise levels above LAeq15hour 70dBA (as an average recording over a 15 hour period) between 7am to 10pm, or LAeq9hour 65dBA between 10pm to 7am (we determine this by measuring rail noise within your catchment area). LAeq is the international standard metric for assessing rail noise, referenced throughout the world and in all Australian rail noise standards and regulations
- Classified as an occupied residence or other noise-sensitive land use, such as a school or place of worship (applications for other noise-sensitive buildings will be assessed on a case by case basis, prioritising night time noise impacted sites)
- Not part of a building that is more than three habitable levels above the ground
- Not part of a development that was approved after 1 January 2009.
The program covers habitable rooms such as living rooms and bedrooms on the most noise-exposed façade.
Prior to receiving treatment, the Building Service Provider will note the existing condition of the dwelling, and the owner shall be responsible for fixing any pre-existing issues before treatment can commence.
What happens after I apply?
Once we receive your application, a member of the team will be in contact with you to determine your property’s eligibility.
If your property is eligible we will then contract a builder to scope and install the treatments. This will involve:
- a site visit by the Building Service Provider
- scope the proposed treatment, and then capture the agreed scope in a Dwelling Report
- explain cost sharing arrangements, if applicable
- provide the home owner with a Your Works Deed, which outlines the proposed building treatments
- certify work is complete.
All noise treatment work carried out has a seven year warranty on workmanship and five year warranty on parts and labour. A 10 year supply of replacement filters for the ventilation treatments will also be provided.
What do the noise treatments involve?
Homes may be treated using the following:
- installation of new or upgraded windows
- installation of new or upgraded external doors
- enclosing or sealing gaps, vents and openings, where practical
- installation of ventilation systems to allow for the circulation of fresh air when windows are closed.
Do I need to pay for the treatment to my property?
We look for treatment options that are cost-effective, fair and practical. Treatments are limited to no more than $31,750 (as at 2021) for each home.
Treatment is free if you have owned your home for seven years or more at the time of offer. If you have owned your home less than seven years, we will offer building treatments on a cost- sharing basis as shown in the application form. (PDF, 215.29 KB)
If the dwelling is sold after the applicant applies for building treatments, we will calculate the owner contribution as if the ownership has not changed.
What guidelines are used to measure freight rail noise?
LAeq is the international standard metric for assessing rail noise, referenced throughout the world and in all Australian rail noise standards and regulations.
LAeq15hour and LAeq9hour rail noise levels are determined in accordance with the approach described in section 126.96.36.199 of NSW Environmental Projection Authority’s Rail Infrastructure Noise Guideline (2013).
Once my eligibility is confirmed, how long will it take to have my property treated?
We endeavour to treat eligible homes and buildings as soon as it is practical to do so, however, sometimes treatments may take some to begin due to the program’s need to prioritise treating homes with the highest night time noise levels.
The program has an annual budget of up to $6 million, which allows up to 200 homes to be treated in a year.
What happens after the treatments are completed?
Once the work has been completed, the Building Service Provider will ask you to sign an acceptance certificate. The certificate is confirmation that you are satisfied with the work that has been delivered in accordance with the Your Works Deed. Transport for NSW will conduct audits on a sample of completed dwellings to ensure work is completed to a high standard.
The home owner is under no obligation to sign the acceptance certificate until the agreed works have been delivered.
What if I am unhappy with how something has been handled?
If you raise an issue or dispute relating to the program, we will address it in a fair, objective and unbiased manner, in line with the Transport Customer Complaints and Feedback Policy, and the NSW Ombudsmen and Customer Service Commissioner’s commitments implemented by all the major agencies within the NSW Government. The commitments are:
- We are responsive and treat our customers with courtesy and respect.
- We make it easy for our customers to give us feedback so we can make improvements.
- We keep our customers informed about the status of their complaint or feedback.
- We are trained and skilled to manage customer complaints and one person, or our team, will manage the complaint.
- We do our best to deal with customer complaints as soon as possible. Our customers know our timeframes for finalising their complaint.
- We record and analyse information on our complaint handling processes to help improve our services.
Will the program be coming back to my area and is it too late to apply?
It is unlikely that the program will revisit an area it has already prioritised again for some time, even if an application is received. This is to minimise mobilisation costs and ensure the program is delivering value for money.
If we have already prioritised your area and you did not apply for treatment at the time, or if you rejected a treatment offer and then re-applied after work in a catchment area was completed, treatments may not be able to be carried out for several years.
What if I live next to a rail corridor managed by the Australian Government or a private operator?
If you live next to a rail corridor managed by the Australian Government (Australian Rail Track Corporation) or a private operator, you will need to contact them directly to discuss noise issues and mitigation initiatives in your neighbourhood.
What else is being done to address noise from freight trains?
The NSW freight rail network plays a vital role in supporting our economy, moving good vital to communities across Australia. Moving freight by rail reduces congestion on our roads. As the freight rail task grows, so too do potential noise impacts on NSW communities.
The Freight Noise Attenuation Program is one of a number of initiatives being carried out by Transport, to minimise the impacts of rail freight noise on NSW communities. Other initiatives include:
- reducing freight rail noise at its source
- monitoring wagon steering performance on curved sections of track
- improving planning controls to ensure rail noise is properly addressed at the design stage of future developments.