Deutsche Bahn to reduce freight train noise with ‘whisper brakes’

German national rail provider Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will outfit its freight train fleet with quieter brakes in an effort to cut noise and the costs of protective walls in residential areas.

Deutsche Bahn to reduce freight train noise with 'whisper brakes'
Photo: DPA

“The noise is the Achilles heel of freight train traffic,” Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube said on Sunday. “We must fight it at the source.”

In the coming months the company plans to put “whisper brakes” on 1,250 of its 100,000 freight cars, he said.

With each car costing between €2,000 ad €7,000, the German government has set aside some €7.5 million of the project, while the company will pay for the rest.

From now on, the company has vowed that all new freight cars will be outfitted with the special brakes. The first 6,000 have already been ordered, Grube said.

According to the CEO, the new fibre composite brakes will cut train noise pollution in half by reducing the friction between wheels and tracks.

The first new cars will be tested along the Koblenz-Bingen line.

Grube also encouraged similar measures by rail providers around the European union.


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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

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In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.