Forum for Low-Noise Railways

Download: Booklet: Seven Steps on the Way to Low-Noise Rail Freight Traffic (English)

When regarding freight and passenger transport as a whole, rail is the most environmentally friendly mode of motorised transport – with the exception of traffic noise. Reducing noise levels from the railways has in recent years become an important issue: for those affected, for policymakers and for the rail sector. The railways have to become quieter – that is what people who are affected expect.

The rail sector also has an interest in improving the current situation because the noise issue is threatening to affect the public’s acceptance of rail transport. However, the task of reducing noise levels is anything but trivial. Numerous stakeholders are involved, while at the same time, rail transport has to be able to compete with the roads so the policy of shifting transport onto the railways, which is important for both the environment and climate protection, is not endangered. A dialogue process offers all stakeholders who are committed to reducing noise levels the opportunity to face this challenge, overcome existing barriers and to achieve real progress.

Sponsored by the German Federal Environment Agency, the Pro-Rail Alliance will organize until Spring 2016 different closed workshops for all important national stakeholders. The main parties are not only companies from across the railway sector (train operators, railway industry, rolling stock manufacturers, leasing companies), but also several civil society organisations. This ensures that both the rail sector’s point of view is represented as well as that of those affected. The project will be an intensive dialogue process and will cover the following issues:

  • to make the noise abatement strategies of the rail sector stakeholders transparent and provide a basis for better coordination;
  • to identify barriers to noise reduction (short-term and longer-term) as well as ways of overcoming these;
  • to discuss the necessary framework conditions (including an estimate on how the railways’ competitiveness will be affected);
  • to compile a set of recommendations.