Image: Deutsche Bahn AG / Oliver Lang DB beschleunigt Lärmschutz im Güterverkehr

DB Cargo fleet will be ‘quiet’ by 2020

The entire freight car fleet of Germany’s DB Cargo will quite literally be the ‘smartest’ in the land by 2020 with cutting-edge telematics and sensors.

A multi-million Euros investment will see some 70,000 wagons be digitised within the next two years, starting with around 19,000 cars to be ‘retrofitted’ with noise-reducing technology by the end of this year. This is on top of the 1,000 or so cars already driving intelligently on Europe’s rail network.


The equipment of the freight wagons with GPS and other sensors provides the customers of DB Cargo with a direct benefit. With the help of GPS, the location of the car can be called up directly and continuously and thus also the expected arrival time at the destination can be determined.

In addition, sensors provide information about the load status as well as the temperature and humidity in the car. This is crucial for the complete supply chain of the customer. If, for example, rolls of paper get too damp in the printing shop, they can not be used directly for newspaper printing. Even mechanical interventions, such as impacts when manoeuvring the wagons, can in future be measured via the sensors on the wagon.


Dr. Roland Bosch, CEO of DB Cargo, said: “Customers today expect a high level of service in an evolving digital environment, so they know in real time where their cargo is, when it arrives, and in what condition it is. That’s why we will be refitting our entire fleet with digital technology. At the same time, we stand for sustainability and ensure that our cars are quietly on the road. With a digital and quiet freight wagon fleet, we want to convince our customers of our performance and get more traffic on the rails.”

As previously reported, DB Cargo will also convert its entire fleet of domestic wagons to ‘whisper brakes by 2020. With this innovation, the surface of the wheel remains smooth when braking, which halves the noise emissions of the rolling wheel. Around two-thirds of the company’s own fleet is already being converted. A further 11,000 cars are due to be added this year.

Royal approval

DB Cargo’s UK operation meanwhile has received the Royal seal of approval, having been recognised as an ‘official freight supplier’ to the Monarchy. The official seal of the purveyors Royal Warrant is given by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to suppliers of members of the Royal Court, and is always tied to an individual person or company.

The award was first given to the former UK state rail company, British Rail, for driving the then Royal Train. It then passed to the respective successor companies after the rail sector was privatised. Today, British carriages consist of two locomotives and nine wagons, which are not always used all at once to form a train. They are also used for other visiting heads of state, but cannot be hired out privately. The Queen’s Coat of arms is located at DB Cargo UK’s headquarters in Doncaster.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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