Information published on 7 May 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 345.

Forthcoming homologation of “silent” (LL) block brakes will help reduce railway noise

  • EuropeTrain
  • Noise

UIC is pleased that EuropeTrain will shortly issue its recommendations

Final Report soon to be presented at UIC

The EuropeTrain project, managed by UIC in collaboration with almost 30 railway companies and several industry partners, is at the final stage following two years of testing. While DB Systemtechnik was entrusted with the technical implementation in Minden, the overall planning, testing and monitoring of EuropeTrain was coordinated by DB Schenker Rail in Mainz.

UIC is pleased to see the successful completion of this long and complex technical process, involving a two-year test programme with over 200,000 km of runs across a number of European countries and in a range of climatic conditions.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, wishes to point out that the great technical complexity of this issue on which UIC has been working for the last several years was only brought to completion thanks to the participation of a large part of its European members and the ability to bring together – via UIC – a high-level team of experts able to assess every aspect of the project in order to deliver extremely constructive recommendations concerning sustainable development – which provides the framework for all our European networks and members.

The aim of this project was to test a new type of composite brake block – the “LL” block – which smoothens the wheel surface and significantly reduces noise during train travel. The advantage of the LL block is that it can replace the current cast-iron brake block without the need to adapt the fleet’s braking system.

From December 2010 to the end of September 2012, the EuropeTrain – composed of several types of freight wagon and carrying several kinds of cargo commissioned by various rail operators – travelled across Sweden, Germany, France, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Luxembourg with LL brake blocks, before going into series production to retrofit the existing European freight wagon fleet.

The LL brake block has the potential to halve the rail noise produced by conventional trains. Since the LL brake block does not require the braking system to be adapted and has a higher cost effectiveness than the K block, UIC sees this as being a potential solution for the retrofitting of the European rail fleet, consisting of 600,000 freight wagons. The LL or “silent” brakes which have been tested differ from the conventional cast-iron brake blocks insofar as they do not damage the surface of the wheels. The composite brake blocks have an approximately 10 dB noise reduction potential which means that perceived noise is decreased by half.

Johannes Gräber (DB Systemtechnik), EuropeTrain project manager, presented the results of the project at the last UIC Rail System Forum on 16 April, demonstrating that the blocks met the strict requirements as a result of over 200,000 km of test runs, numerous analyses and trials conducted over the past two years.

The members of the UIC Rail System Forum thus unanimously approved the final EuropeTrain report and its appendices, the guidelines for the use of LL brake blocks and appendix M3 of leaflet 544-1 containing the list of LL brake blocks ready for homologation.

  • Usage guidelines for composite (LL) brake blocks online on the UIC website

The 9th edition of the usage guidelines for composite (LL) brake blocks in force since 1 May 2013 can be consulted on the UIC website at the following address:

The UIC language service is currently checking the three final versions of the report (in English, German and French) in order to ensure the versions are consistent before being published.

  • Final report of the EuropeTrain project

UIC will be pleased to present the final report of the EuropeTrain project very soon – the date will be announced in one of the next editions of UIC eNews.

  • About the GPS train tracking system

The path of the EuropeTrain was defined acording to various loops, each representing particular operational, topographic and/or meteorological conditions.
The train path was planned as a flower shaped configuration with different loops (12,500 km each), always starting and ending at one centre point (Minden, Germany) for regular measurements, inspections and possible maintenance.


  • 9: Poland / Slovakia
  • 10: France
  • 11: Switzerland / Germany
  • 12: Sweden
  • 13: Germany
  • 14: France
  • 15: Italy
  • 16: Austria / Hungary
  • You can also visit the Europetrain website: