The 'Ghan' journey quieter using Subdue

The challenges

The Ghan offers a highly unique experience from another era. Regarded as one of the world's greatest rail journeys this 774m long train travels the distance from city to city from Darwin to Adelaide, travelling via Alice Springs and featuring stunning topographical vistas.

Part of Great Southern Rail network the epic distance travelling 2,979 kilometres stretches the entire network of remote outposts. Recent refurbishment in 2019 marks 90 years of outback crossings with the private cabins receiving a facelift.

The diesel locomotive driven train naturally experiences noise control challenges from wheel contact on the railroad track. When the metal train wheelset encounters roughness and irregularities on rail surfaces it creates noise and vibration. Rail joints on the rail cause the familiar clickety-clack as the carriage wheels roll over and repeatedly make contact.

The solutions

To address the project adequately, acoustic consultants worked to ensure a complete noise control system was detailed, firstly with a suitable vibration damping coating applied to the walls and floor to address resonance and transfer. From there, the inclusion of Subdue, a lightweight multilayered panel serves as an integrated, highly effective noise barrier used to provide strength and good sound insulation for the flooring. It is used at the appropriate thickness to isolate the cabin between what is below, forming the ideal base for the beautifully distinctive, heritage carpet. Notably, the subdue flooring was carefully isolated from the train structure using specialised Sylomer material to break transmission paths for any noise from below.

Subdue, suitable for a fitted floor foundation provides an effective and unique damping system to absorb and reduce excess mechanical energy (noise) generated when wheels make contact with metal track, transferring through into the carriage. With expertise provided in the late 1980-90's, the original flooring template was supplied in large, rigid, full scale floor pieces. This means they were custom cut to fit as one solid, long piece per carriage to lay into this legendary train. In today's era and laser cut technology,this is beneficial to overcome logistical challenges. But also for smarter craftsmanship, and better installation. Less material working during install or cutting on site means the ability to reduce install complexity, and provide join-less noise barrier protection.

The results

The results, are simply a quieter journey where passengers connect with the land within a lovely atmosphere. One of luxury, highly reminiscent of a golden era it was recently shown as part of the SBS 'Slow TV' series.(1)   Guests on board enjoy the comfort and solitude to lose yourself in conversation with newfound travelling companions, or simply gaze out of the window taking inspiration from the ever changing landscape. Sleeping in on an overnight train can be quite an experience rarely taken, and thankfully on the Ghan... the endearing, subtle rattle along the tracks is soothing and does not disturb with every uncomfortable bump along the way.

 For an unforgettable Australian outback adventure offering five star sumptuous dining with high quality service, the elegant private cabins have been thoughtfully designed for an amazing experience covering the vast distance across this great southern land.

"Australia's red centre is one of the most spectacular wildernesses in the world, and the Ghan is unquestionably the most comfortable way to see it," said rail expert Anthony Lambert." (2) 



Image credits: STRINGER Image /
ghan train aus side image
ghan landscape
A complete system with vibration damping and isolation between the floor sublayers protects passenger comfort
ghan documents cs

Document downloads

Document title Document type Document language
Subdue X Technical Data Sheet English
Subdue-Install-315-1IG Installation Guide English
Subdue M Technical Data Sheet English
Subdue L Technical Data Sheet English
Subdue Brochure English
Marine Summary Brochure English
Transport Summary Brochure English
Subdue NC Technical Data Sheet English
Decidamp SP450 Technical Data Sheet English
Decidamp SP Range Installation Installation Guide English
Decidamp SP450 Technical Data Sheet Čeština (Czech)
Decidamp Range Brochure English
Decidamp Range Brochure 中文 (Chinese)
Decidamp SP450 Technical Data Sheet 中文 (Chinese)
Decidamp SP Range Installation (ZH) Installation Guide 中文 (Chinese)
Decidamp SP500 Technical Data Sheet English
Decidamp SP500 Technical Data Sheet Deutsch (German)
Decidamp SP500 Technical Data Sheet Čeština (Czech)
Stadler Tram Case Study English
Decidamp SP500 Technical Data Sheet русский (Russian)
Pyrotek-Getzner-Sylomer-TDS-114IP Technical Data Sheet English
Auckland War Memorial (NZ) Case Study English