METRANS equips wagon fleet with composite brakes

Metrans Ceska Trebova

Triggered by the German government’s ban on noisy wagons, METRANS has upgraded its entire 3,000 container wagons fleet with ‘whispering’ brakes. The harder material of the braking pads that improves friction with the wheels will reduce driving and braking noise in half. In doing this, METRANS is joining others in making rail transportation in Europe more silent. 

METRANS already has a history with lightweight and energy-efficient wagons. In cooperation with the Slovakian manufacturer Tatravagonka, the intermodal company has developed eco-friendly wagons that around 4,000 kilograms lighter than the conventional ones. Consequently, they have lower rolling resistance and require less energy during transportation. Their retrofitting with composite brake blocks will improve their operation, while their characteristics will also contribute to generating less noise.

As Peter kiss, CEO of METRANS, said: “Our rail transports are more eco-friendly than road traffic. However, we cannot just rest on our laurels. We need to keep expanding this advantage. This is why at METRANS, we think about every little detail”.

Becoming a standard

As mentioned above, Germany has applied a ban on wagons creating excess noise since December 2020. On the same wavelength, Switzerland imposed penalties for noisy wagons in its territory since 1 July 2020 and is strictly applying the rules. Simultaneously, the Netherlands expect that by 2025, 95 per cent of all freight wagons running through the country will use quiet braking technology.

Composite brake pads

Companies welcome and abide by the new rules. Apart from METRANS, DB Cargo supplied 63,000 wagons with composite brakes by the end of last December. In total, 99 per cent of German freight wagons have converted to modern brakes, until now, despite the difficulties posed by Covid-19. Moreover, Rail Cargo Hungaria is also switching to composite brakes to be compatible with the rules of other European countries.

The fact that some key countries have adopted regulations concerning noisy wagons is critical, and the hope is that similar measures should become standard in all of Europe. The use of quiet brakes should increase public acceptance of rail transportation, and therefore encourage a shift to rail.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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