The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa ) has developed a computer model that can calculate noise levels along the Swiss rail network.

The computer model, sonRAIL, describes how much sound is produced from trains travelling on the lines and how it is attenuated.

Working with the Technical University of Berlin, Empa said the results can be used to show where residents are exposed to noise and identifies what abatement measures are most effective.

Federal and local authorities can use sonRAIL to calculate the sound exposure of individual buildings around existing and planned railway lines and to evaluate the effectiveness of their countermeasures.

The researchers collected data between 2007 and 2009 from about 15,000 trains at 18 locations to describe in detail noise emissions of individual train compositions.

The computer cluster, Ipazia, allows parallel calculations of several processors through its cluster concept for the evaluation of noise propagation patterns at several locations.

The first test of the system was successfully performed earlier this year with researchers modelling noise levels along a 50km section of the north-south rail corridor through Switzerland.