Germany: DB Highlights Success of Noise Abatement Efforts

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has published its Noise Protection Balance Sheet for 2021, which highlights the advancements it has made regarding noise abatement.

DB Cargo shunting yard Munich-North
DB Cargo shunting yard Munich-North

The document reports that 32,800 residents living beside railway lines saw a lowering of noise pollution last year.

This was thanks to DB and the German Federal Government’s 150 million euro (159m USD) investment into the government’s voluntary noise abatement programme, which enabled 71 kilometres of railway line to be made quieter.

Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, said:

“In order to achieve our climate protection goals in transport, we urgently need to develop and expand the rail network. Rapid expansion can only succeed with the necessary acceptance from the residents.

“That is why noise protection along the rails has top priority for the federal government.”

The organisation’s goal is to reduce rail traffic noise along 3,250 km of track by 2030 and 6,500 km by 2050. This will mean that all those currently living beside German railway lines – more than one and half million people – will benefit from noise protection within the next 30 years.

To achieve these goals, DB is focusing on reducing noise both on site and directly at the source. This work entails not only track noise abatement work, but also the installation of passive noise protection solutions, such as special windows, on nearby apartments.

Another example of DB’s efforts in this area comes from DB Cargo, which began rolling its entire German freight wagon fleet on ‘quiet shoes’ at the end of 2020.

In addition, it plans to phase out all its 232/233 series diesel locomotives by 2030.

Furthermore, DB Fernverkehr is scheduled to replace all its diesel-powered shunting locomotives with quieter, more climate-friendly hybrid models by 2025.

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