In Cologne, DB Cargo has received its 50.500th quiet freight car, converted with LL-type quiet composite brake block whisper brakes. According to the company, 80 per cent of its freight wagon fleet that operates in Germany is equipped with so-called whisper brakes.
“The consistently reducing railway noise for the residents is our very important concern. We and our customers want to shift more traffic to the environmentally friendly rail transport, and this can be achieved by developing a quieter in rail freight transport services. By converting our freight cars to low-noise brakes, we are making a significant contribution,” said Alexander Doll, DB Board Member for Freight Transport and Logistics.
Until 2020, 63,000 wagons of DB Cargo fleet that operate in Germany will run with quieter brakes, being retrofitted with low-noise brakes and quiet pads, allotting additional EUR 200 million funds. These additional costs are due to the retrofitting and maintenance activities, including the installation of LL-brake blocks. In 2020, around 7,000 more freight cars will be equipped with modern brake pads.
The noise reduction on heavily loaded rail routes continues to progress. As part of the voluntary noise reduction programme launched last year, the federal government and the railways invested around EUR 100 million in noise protection walls, noise protection windows and other measures. Specifically, this means that more than 40 km of noise barriers were built in 2018 and over 2,240 apartments were equipped with soundproofing elements. In total, over 1,800 km of tracks have been noise-cleaned since the programme began.
The federal government provided a subsidy of approximately EUR 150 million for the conversion of the existing freight wagons operating in Germany. The DB network has introduced the noise-dependent route pricing system (LaTPS) as a financial incentive for converting wagons to quiet brake blocks. In addition to the national subsidy, there is also a limited subsidy from the European funds of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
In 2018, two-thirds of DB Cargo’s own fleet was retrofitted with whisper brakes, that keep the wheel service smooth when the brakes are applied, halving the noise emissions generated by the wheels as they roll.