DB Logo

For low-noise freight trains: Mobile service teams replace brake blocks at any location

The countdown has begun. The ban on noisy freight wagons will come into force on 13 December 2020. Violations will be subject to heavy fines. Vehicles will therefore need to be equipped with low-noise braking technology in good time before this date. DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's mobile brake block replacement service helps vehicle keepers to upgrade their vehicles – quickly, flexibly and cost-effectively.

The mobile brake block replacement service is part of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's full service offering. It enables rail freight transport companies to transform their noisy vehicles into low-noise vehicles without having to spend time in a maintenance depot. DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's mobile service teams will replace the brake blocks at any location, thereby eliminating the need for time-consuming and costly transfers to a maintenance depot and maintaining the availability of the vehicles.

The threat of fines

Upgrading is unavoidable. The Act Prohibiting the Operation of Noisy Freight Wagons (Railway Noise Mitigation Act), which aims to protect residents living near rail freight lines from noise, stipulates: With the start of the 2020/2021 working timetable on 13 December 2020, it shall be prohibited to operate freight trains with noisy freight wagons or to allow such trains to be operated on the German rail network. Companies exceeding the maximum permissible acoustic emission will face a fine of up to EUR 500,000.

Whisper brakes instead of cast-iron brake blocks

In order to comply with the noise control limits, freight wagons will need whisper brakes, a newly developed form of brake block made of composite material rather than cast iron. These low-noise, low-friction blocks can easily be fitted in standard freight wagons to replace the old brake blocks. Their noise-reducing effect is due to the fact that they are made of composite materials. Unlike cast iron, they do not roughen or only slightly roughen the wheel treads when the train is braked. Smooth wheel treads produce less rolling noise, resulting in low-noise freight wagons.

Obtaining funding

DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's mobile brake block replacement service includes the whole range of technical, organisational and logistical services from the procurement of new brake blocks through to the disposal of old brake blocks. In addition, DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung supports its customers in obtaining funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The programme with EUR 152 million in funding to equip noisy freight wagons with low-noise brake equipment will run until the timetable change in 2020/2021.