Deutsche Bahn is testing white rails on the high-speed line between Hanover and Würzburg. The project is one of several Deutsche Bahn is conducting to address the consequences of climate change. DB expects the results from this trial in a year.
White Rails for Lower Temperatures
Following the successful tests of the cooling effect of white rails in summer 2019, DB is now white rails in actual passenger operations. To do that, the company has painted a thousand metres of track on the Hanover-Würzburg high-speed line with environmentally friendly paint. This real-world test is to inform DB of the durability and wear of the paint. It will also provide insights into how best to apply the paint over long distances. Substantive results are expected in a year. These will then provide the foundation for a potential expansion of the project on further lines.
A close up of the white rails Deutsche Bahn has painted ©Deutsche Bahn AG / Claudia Munchow
DB has been investigating the efficacy of white paint on its tracks since last year. As a result of climate change, creating long, hot summers in Germany, this solution is an option for Deutsche Bahn. High temperatures can put the rails and track bed under stress, since steel expands in extreme heat. One experiment has already been under way on a test track in Königsborn since July. The results from that test have been promising: the white rails reflect more light and therefore become much less hot than their conventional counterparts.