Freight cars’ brakes conventionally work with brake blocks made of cast iron, which roughen the running surfaces of the wheels. This makes for a very noisy train passing by.
Instead of these, we use whisper brakes that reduce rail noise as much as possible, which protects residents and the environment from noise pollution. Whisper brakes have elastic composite brake blocks that minimize rolling noise directly at its source between wheel and rail, thus having a positive effect across the entire rail network, in contrast to stationary noise abatement measures such as noise barriers. After all, the smoother the wheel and the rail are, the quieter the rolling noise is.
We and DB Cargo switched completely to whisper brakes at the end of 2020. As a result, all of our AlbatrosExpress trains, along with another 63,000 freight cars used by DB Cargo in Germany (including leased cars), are now running with low-noise brake blocks. The DB Group has set itself the goal of reducing rail noise for half of all residents living alongside rail lines by 2030. That is noise caused by passenger trains and other services that will be reduced so that around 800,000 people can sleep more peacefully.