49 CFR Appendix B to Part 210 - Switcher Locomotive Enforcement Policy
The EPA standards require that the noise emissions from all switcher locomotives in a particular facility be less than prescribed levels measured at 30 meters, under all operating modes. This requirement is deemed to be met unless “receiving property” noise due to switcher locomotives exceeds 65 dB(A), when measured in accordance with subpart C of 40 CFR part 201. The 65 dB(A) receiving property standard is the “trigger” for requiring the 30-meter test of switcher locomotives.
The purpose underlying FRA's enforcement of the noise standards is to reduce the impact of rail operations noise on receiving properties. In some instances, measures other than the 30-meter test approach may more effectively reduce the noise levels at receiving properties; therefore, FRA enforcement efforts will focus on abatement procedures that will achieve a reduction of receiving property noise levels to less than 65 dB(A).
For example, a parked, idling locomotive, even if equipped with exhaust silencing that meets the stationary locomotive standard (30-meter test), may cause the receiving property standard to be exceeded if located on trackage adjacent to the receiving property. In that case, application of the 30-meter test to other switcher locomotives at the facility may not serve to reduce the receiving property noise level. On the other hand, operational changes by the railroad could significantly reduce receiving property noise levels. In such case, FRA would consider retesting after abatement measures have been taken. If the receiving property noise level is below the trigger and the abatement action is adopted, FRA would not make a 30-meter test of the switcher locomotives at the facility.