PEOPLE living close to railway tracks in the year 2001 will benefit from a huge investment in noise reduction barriers to be installed by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp (KCRC). The corporation would spend $620 million over the next 10 years to build barriers in 18 locations along KCRC lines, public affairs officer Doris Shu Lai-yi said. Ms Shu said the aim was to improve the environment of residents living close to railway lines. ''As a basically responsible transport operator, we are willing to spend a substantial amount to construct these barriers,'' she said. The KCRC is giving details of the project and how it will improve quality of life at its booth at the Expo 2001 environmental pavilion. The project grew out of a series of KCRC studies carried out from 1991 to assess the level of train noise affecting residents along the railway. The KCRC also sought guidance from the Environmental Protection Department about requirements of the Noise Control Ordinance. It plans to build four types of noise-reduction barrier, each to suit the needs of different areas. They will be: full enclosures, in which a barrier will be constructed on both sides of the track with a roof; partial enclosures, in which a barrier will be built on one side of the track; station covers; and track-side barriers. Ms Shu said most of the barriers would be constructed in urban areas and from Mongkok to Sheung Shui. In addition to the noise reduction project, the KCRC is also taking several other measures to reduce noise. These include rail grinding and wheel turning to reduce the noise produced by wheels running on the tracks as well as locomotive noise suppression. The KCRC will also have trains slow down at specific locations and restrict the movement of freight trains to before midnight.