Abstract A calculation scheme for the prediction of noise levels along railway lines was completed in 1984 and has been applied since then in the framework of the Dutch Noise Pollution Act. The scheme makes it possible to calculate the equivalent sound levels L A eq at receiver positions up to distances of 1500 m and can be used in almost every situation except large railway yards and large stations. A simplified calculation method working in dB(A) was derived for situations without any screening by obstacles such as barriers. The source model is based on investigations of wheel/rail noise. The source strength and the factors that influence the emission were derived from measurements. The propagation of railway noise over large distances can be predicted by the propagation model that has been used for road traffic noise and industrial noise. The models differ only for the propagation in the region near the source.