A new German initiative for rail noise reduction

anti-noise initiativeThe German government and Deutsche Bahn have jointly presented the 2030 anti-noise initiative that aims to reduce rail noise affecting half of the residents living close to the country’s rail infrastructure.

Achieving the target will be the goal of the next phase of the noise abatement programme established by the German government in 1999.

Under the strategy, the number of line kilometers with anti-noise measures will increase by an average of 125 km per year. By 2030, a further 1,250 km of Germany’s railways will have been added to the 2,000 km where this work has already been completed. Berlin has committed an annual budget of EUR 140 million for the implementation of the project.

“We are working with the government to keep our word when it comes to reducing noise emissions. Noise barriers, soundproof windows, rail web dampers, we are using all kinds of measures to successfully reduce exposure to noise along especially busy routes,” Ronald Pofalla, Board Member for Infrastructure at DB, said.

The Ministry of Transport and DB intends to reduce the number of people impacted by noise by 50%. 800,000 people will benefit the anti-noise initiative providing greater peace and quiet when this work is complete.  “Improving anti-noise protection for people living near the rail lines is very important to us. We want these people to have a high quality of life and, above all, be able to get a good night’s rest. For this reason, we are working to greatly reduce the noise created by rail vehicles,” the Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer said.

For the rail noise reduction plan, the government has established effective measures which include the creation of a train path pricing system based on noise emissions, the installation of whisper brakes on the vehicles using innovative technology.

Replacing the cast iron on freight cars’ brake blocks with a composite material plays a key role in cutting noise emissions. DB Cargo has on-time completed the overhaul of the freight cars, 63,000 vehicles being equipped with quiet brake blocks. Over the past seven years, DB Cargo has spent EUR 220 million on upgrading its freight car fleet.


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