All DB Cargo Freight Cars to Have Quiet Brakes by the End of 2020

By the end of 2019 DB Cargo had fitted 58,000 of its 63,000 freight cars with quiet, composite brakes. By the end of 2020 its entire fleet will have received them.

This is the finishing straight for DB Cargo: by the end of the year its entire fleet of freight cars will feature modern composite brake shoes. DB Cargo will have invested a total of 200 million euros (222.5 million USD) from its own budget in the upgrade programme.

DB Cargo composite brakes
DB Cargo fits composite quiet brakes on its freight cars

The main source of noise in rail operations is the wheels running on the track. Conventional brakes cause the surface of the wheels to become rougher, which makes them louder. By switching to composite brake shoes, noise levels are reduced by 10 decibels, which the human ear perceives as being half as loud.

Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Head of Freight at DB, said:

“More freight traffic and less noise – that's not a contradiction in terms. Quiet brakes will bring about quieter rail traffic. 58,000 freight cars already have the composite brakes – that's 90 percent of the fleet. We're now entering the final leg so that resident will be able to sleep more soundly in the future.”

These efforts by DB Cargo fulfil the German Schienenlärmschutzgesetz – the law governing rail noise, based on Commission Regulation 1304/2014. It comes into effect in Germany at the end of 2020. The European Commission has identified rail noise as one of the barriers towards a shift to rail.

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