12. May 2017

Germany to ban noisy freight wagons by the end of 2020

Pro-Rail Alliance favours EU-wide ban: noise protection does not stop at the border

A freight train being retrofitted with low-noise brakes. This costs the owners of freight wagons money. The new legislation will completely exclude noisy goods wagons from the German network without coming into conflict with EU law.
A freight train being retrofitted with low-noise brakes. This costs the owners of freight wagons money. The new legislation will completely exclude noisy goods wagons from the German network without coming into conflict with EU law.

Berlin, May 12, 2017. The German Pro-Rail Alliance has welcomed legislation to ban noisy freight train wagon sfrom the end of 2020. The law was passed today by the Bundesrat, Germany’s second chamber, in the final hurdle in the legislative process. “This law was long overdue and will provide relief for the noise-plagued people living near railway lines,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, on Friday in Berlin. “The Pro-Rail Alliance has for years been committed to a complete noise abatement overhaul of the freight wagon fleet, and supports the goal of halving noise emissions from trains by 2020,” said Flege. The sector has been unanimous in its calls for the legislation because German freight wagon owners invest considerable sums of money on the expensive retro-fitting of quieter brakes and need legal certainty. “A strict and clear ban on noisy goods wagons in Germany is the rail freight sector’s declared wish,” said Flege.

Fewer exceptions for noisy goods wagons

The transport alliance now also agrees with the reduced number of exceptions contained in the final version of the legislation. Exceptions to the general ban on noisy goods wagons will only be briefly allowed in certain approved cases where speed limits will reduce noise emissions. This exception clause is intended to avoided conflicts with EU regulations without clogging up the German network with slow-moving freight trains. “This sends a sufficiently clear message to the owners of noisy wagons,” said Flege.

Government should lobby for noise protection in the EU

The Pro-Rail Alliance is calling on the German government to immediately push for an EU-wide ban on noisy freight wagons from the end of 2020. “Noise protection does not stop at the border. EU-wide restrictions on noisy freight wagons will at the same time deal with the need for complicated exception rules on a national level. It would be a step that people in neighbouring countries would also appreciate,” said Pro-Rail Alliance managing director Flege.

 

Additional information:

How progress can be made: Seven Steps on the Way to Low-Noise Rail Freight Traffic