sonRAIL is a calculation model for railway noise financed and owned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN. The model was developed in the years 2007 to 2009 by an interdisciplinary project team and has been continuously refined ever since. The calculation model was documented in detail und published in several scientific articles and conference papers. A short introduction in the functionality of the model can be found here. For more details please have a look at the project documentation and the list of references.

An essential part of the model is the emission data base, which has been developed based on an extensive measurement campaign and which will be enhanced in the future.

Since 2012 the emission model of sonRAIL is used for the planning of new railway lines in Switzerland. The emission model will soon be made available as a web application.

The entire model, i.e., the combination of the emission and the propagation model, has been implemented in a geographical information system on ESRI-standard and has been integrated in the Swiss noise database sonBASE. The application has also been made commercially available by n-Sphere AG under the name D-noise.

Example of calculation results of sonRAIL: In the noise map the village of Steinen in the canton of Schwyz along the north-south railway corridor through Switzerland is shown.


Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
F. Fischer, Head of the section railways and spatial planning:
+41 (0)31 322 92 49,

Operative project partners

EMPA, Laboratory for acoustics / noise control
J.M. Wunderli, group leader environmental acoustics:
+41 (0)58 765 4748,

Development and programming of the propagation model
Participation in the emission measurement campaign
Technical coordination of the model integration

TU BERLIN, Fachgebiet Schienenfahrzeuge
Prof. M. Hecht:
+49 30 314 25 195,

Development of the emission model
Participation in the emission measurement campaign   

T. Thron, project representative sonRAIL:
+49 30 75 44 90 8-13,

Organization and participation in the emission measurement campaign
Refinement of the emission model and upgrading of the emission data base 

n-Sphere AG
M. Köpfli,
+41 (0)44 454 30 17,

Integration of the model into the Swiss noise database (sonBASE)
Issue of the model as a commercial software product named D-noise

Sulzer Innotec
H.R. Graf:
+41 (0)52 262 82 40,

Measurements with an acoustical camera during the emission measurement campaign

Advisory project partners

Swiss Institute for Systems Engineering
R. Züst, current affiliation:
Züst Engineering AG,
+41 (0)44 932 51 59,

Schulz, managing director:
+49 (0)176 70094803,