DB Cargo to ‘halve’ freight train noise by 2020
DB Cargo has pledged to tackle the problem of noisy freight wagons by revamping its entire fleet within the next three years. The German freight giant says it will spend more than 200 million Euros to halve noise pollution on its cargo trains by the year 2020, benefiting tens of thousands of people living near train lines.
Around one billion Euros has already been spent on a Federal programme which has seen 2,000 kilometres of noise barriers put up, and some 33,000 freight cars fitted with noise-reducing technology.
Now DB wants to take the next steps towards achieving a quieter railway infrastructure. By the end of 2020 it will have invested more than 600 million Euros on noise protection, including the retrofitting of noise-reducing ‘whisper’ brakes on its fleet. The number of freight cars fitted with this technology will increase from 33,000 to 40,000 by the end of this year, with the rest of the entire 64,000 fleet by the end of 2020. DB’s investments will be supported by additional funds from the Federal Government’s Future Investment Programme.
Ronald Pofalla, Executive Infrastructure at DB’s parent group Deutsche Bahn, said: “We want people in the Rhine Valley, in the Inn Valley, in the upper Elbe valley, in other regions and even in many metropolises to sleep at night, because freight trains are less noisy, more soundproofed walls shield against noise and new, innovative procedures offer even more protection.”
A report to be published next month by DB will highlight that around 2,000 kilometres of walls, and the windows of 57,000 apartments have already been soundproofed. Around 1.2 billion Euros have been invested in noise reduction, including 100 million Euros from DB. Around 120 million euros are available annually for work on structural noise reduction, while additional measures are being implemented in those areas where noise is a particular issue, such as the aforementioned Middle Rhine, Upper Elbe and Inn valleys.
“The money is well spent,” added Ronald Pofalla. “It is clear – only the quiet railways belong to the future. If we want more rail freight in Germany, we have to take people with us – today more than ever.”
DB is also currently involved in a joint research project with VTG Wagen on quieter and energy-efficient freight wagons. The ‘Innovative Freight Wagon’ scheme, instigated by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, is designed to examine how quiet, energy-efficient wagons, with low operating costs, can make rail freight the preferred logistics choice of the future.