Members of Rail Forum Europe, an international non-profit making association, and railway stakeholders called for adequate rules to decrease rail noise, on 29 May at the European Parliament.
Currently, both the railway community and the European Commission are looking into possible solutions to solve a problem that is specially affecting people living in densely populated areas.
DG Move will launch a study on the "effective reduction of noise generated by railway freight wagons in use in the European Union". Sian Prout, Head of Unit for Single European Rail Area, explained that the Commission aims to ensure “a common EU approach in tackling rail noise.”
From the railway community, Johannes Gräber, Director Technology and Production at DB Systemtechnik GmbH, presented the project Europetrain, whose main objective is the reduction of rail noise based on the principle of “smooth wheels on smooth rails”.
The study, which is supported by 27 Railway and 8 Industry Partners from Europe, says that brake blocks in combination with smooth rails can reduce noise by approximately 10 decibels.
Markus Vaerst, Director Engineering & Regulatory of AAE, expressed the need of funding to change their wagons. “We are ready to retrofit our wagons, but we need appropriate cost funding, homogenous noise differentiated track access charges throughout the EU and a non-discriminatory approach within the rail sector and with other transport modes,” he said.
According to Libor Lochman, CER Executive Director, rail noise is a big issue that has to be solved, but is not the only one. “We need to do more on noise, not only in rail but also in other modes of transport, for instance through full internalisation of external costs,” he stated.