Halving rail noise
Noise pollution along the tracks has already dropped significantly. More than 600 km of noise barriers have now been built as part of the voluntary Federal noise reduction program. DB Group and the Federal Government have announced further investments worth hundreds of millions of euros for the coming years to reduce the noise in particular hot spots in the Middle Rhine Valley and the Inntal Valley and along the Elbe (between Dresden and the Czech border).
The target of halving rail noise by the end of 2020 is now on the verge of being achieved. On average, rail noise is to be reduced by 10 dB(A), which is equivalent to halving the volume in terms of human hearing. Our two-pillar strategy aims to provide location-specificnoise protection as an infrastructure measure on the one hand and to reduce the noise generated by the vehicle fleet on the other. The reference year is 2000. Location-specific measures primarily include noise barriers and solutions such as low noise barriers, rail dampers and rail lubrication systems directly on the track. As part of the Federal Government’s voluntary noise reduction program, about 1,885 km of track have already been noise remediated and over € 1.6 billion spent since 1999. This money has also equipped tens of thousands of homes with passive soundproofing. The two-pillar strategy also aims to make freight wagons quieter. To this end, we are equipping our freight wagons with modern composite brake blocks (V-block, whisper brake) and creating new, quiet freight wagons. By the end of June 2020, over 97% of our freight wagons (about 59,500) were already traveling quietly along the tracks. DB Cargo’s entire active fleet in Germany will be quiet by the end of 2020, in line with the scheduled completion date for the conversion.
Measures in the Middle Rhine Valley
- Since December 2014, DB Group has operated two measuring stations in the Middle Rhine Valley, one in Osterspai and the other in Bad Salzig. In June 2020, about 45% of trains operating in the Middle Rhine Valley were quiet.
A train is considered to be quiet if it consists of more than 90% quiet freight wagons. The proportion of quiet trains has almost tripled in the Middle Rhine Valley since 2015.
- Across 35 individual projects, noise protection measures such as rail dampers, rail lubrication systems and low and high noise barriers are being implemented to further reduce rail traffic noise in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Site between Koblenz/Lahnstein and Bingen/Rüdesheim. The first projects to be implemented are those that do not require an approval procedure lasting several years – like the installation of rail dampers, which are fitted directly to the rails. By May 2020, rail dampers had already been installed along some 65 km of track. Rail lubrication systems have also been installed, reducing the squealing of the rails along 1.2 km of track.