The ‘Quiet Rail Strategy’ being adopted by Germany means noisy freight wagons will be banned from the national network within four years. The Ministry of Transport says wagons will need to be fitted with so-called ‘whisper’ brakes in order to meet new regulations. It follows the passing of legislation which means that after December 13, 2020, freight operators could be fined up to 50,000 Euros if they fail to meet the stringent requirements.
After 13 December 2020, freight wagons may not cause any more noise than one which has received an operating licence according to the European noise protection directive (TSI) noise applicable to new vehicles. But the retrofitting of ‘whisper’ brake technology to old wagons will enable operators to adhere to the new regulations.
The Quiet Rail strategy comprises three main elements: noise protection at the source, including the upgrading of freight wagons and innovations for quieter trains; noise protection on the track, including noise abatement measures such as barriers and soundproof windows; and regulation, such as a ban on noisy wagons.