International Union of Railways to stage 11th annual Noise Workshop
The International Union of Railways’ 11th annual Noise Workshop will put the spotlight on solutions for reducing railway noise and vibrations when it convenes in Paris later this year. This year’s event on November 14 takes on extra significance, coming as many rail freight operators, manufacturers and stakeholders are now making the issue of noisy freight trains a priority area.
Key topics will include application of the European Union Noise technical specification for interoperability (TSI) to existing wagons and ‘silent sections’, funding and progress for retrofitting of noise-reducing hardware, the EU’s Environmental Noise Directive, and forthcoming guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The UIC is also due to publish its new State of the Art report for the Management of Railway Vibration.
Across Europe there are concerted efforts being made to tackle excess noise generated by freight trains, both in terms of policy and technological innovations. Germany is leading the way, having recently passed legislation for the roll-out of its Quiet Rail Strategy, which will see freight operators required to retrofit ‘whisper brakes’ by 2020 or face stiff fines. Swiss national rail freight operator SBB Cargo is developing projects as part of its parent company SBB’s ‘2020 Digital Strategy’, one of which is the testing this year of its ‘Freight Car of the Future’ – the 5L-Zug – which it describes as quieter and lighter than ever before.
One of the speakers at the Noise Workshop will be Libor Lochman, Executive Director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), which recently staged a summit dedicated to tackling rail freight noise. EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc used the summit to urge rail stakeholders to provide a ‘comprehensive approach’ to the problem.
Also appearing will Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of UIC, Jakob Oertli, Chairman of the UIC Noise Network Expert and engineer at Swiss Railways (SBB); and Marco Paviotti & Marcin Woicik, both of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), the branch of the European Commission responsible for transport.
The UIC event will give opportunities for participants to ask questions directly to European Commission policy officers and other key stakeholders, as well as discuss the current issues. A link to register for the event at UIC’s Paris HQ will be published on the UIC website.