New homes along railways must be protected against vibrations, ProRail says

An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)
An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia). (An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia))

New homes built along the railways must be better protected against the ever increasing vibrations caused by passing train traffic, according to ProRail CEO Pier Eringa. "More new construction and more train traffic can lead to more vibration- and noise inconvenience for our existing and new neighbors", Eringa said in an interview with the Volkskrant.

Already ProRail deals with complaints about vibrations. People living in villages along the Betuwelijn, or in municipalities like Oosterhout and Rosmalen complain about coffee cups rattling when a train passes or even cracks in their walls. "But that does not automatically mean that the cracks in their walls are also caused by the railways. The problem is that we do not enough about vibrations", Eringa said. "If it is established that we are causing the damage, then we must take full responsibility for it. ProRail should not become a second NAM."

ProRail is therefore insisting on extra precautionary measures. According to Eringa, since 2015 ProRail has urged for extra measures to reduce the effects of vibrations, especially in high-rise buildings, in dozens of construction projects. Special care taken with the construction of floors, walls and foundations can limit vibrations, according to him. "Municipalities do not always like it when we warn against vibrations in building plans. They are afraid that the construction will be more expensive, or the ground less attractive. We don't put our hand up to sabotage or boycott plans, but to warn."

The rail manager is also taking measures to improve the protection of houses along new routes, Eringa said. This includes placing rubber mats in the foundation of the railways, to reduce vibrations caused by passing trains.