On 9 September the “Europe Train” international test train made a stop in Deutsch-Wagram close to Vienna, before starting a series of new tests and measurements under the specific conditions of the Austrian network. A presentation of the “Europe Train” took place in Deutsch-Wagram, attended by Franz Seiser, Board Member of ÖBB Holding AG, Andreas Fuchs, Board Member of Rail Cargo Austria AG and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of UIC. CER was represented by Libor Lochmann, appointed new Executive Director.
Since December last year the “Europe Train” test train composed of 32 freight wagons and equipped with “LL” low-noise blocks has achieved a series of test runs under various geographical and climatic conditions through Europe with the objective of checking whether this brake equipment can be homologated for industrial production. These “LL” brake blocks can potentially halve rail noise produced by conventional freight trains, in comparison to cast iron brake blocks.
Austria’s topographic conditions are of great importance to the international “Europe Train” test campaign monitored by UIC – and managed on behalf of UIC by Johannes Gräber from DB Systemtechnik. The train will run 10,000 km in Austria and measurements will be taken at several test points. The test train composed of freight wagons from five railways, of different categories and with various loads, will have completed over 200,000 km by the beginning of 2012. The tests and measurements are followed and evaluated by engineers and technicians from DB Systemtechnik on behalf of the international railway community.
According to Franz Seiser, Board Member of ÖBB-Holding AG, “This is a topic of European – not national – concern. Freight trains do not stop at the border; they run all across Europe. We can only effectively reduce noise levels if all railways and private wagon owners collaborate and if there are harmonised rules at European level. Almost half of all wagons circulating in Europe today belong to private companies.”
The low-noise brakes currently being tested must be approved by the European railways, working together under the auspices of UIC. “Rail Cargo Austria is an important partner in this joint project. We want to reduce railway noise at source. Standalone action by RCA would not be justified economically and would not be acceptable to local residents, who would continue to be subjected to the noise of wagons belonging to other companies”, underlined Andreas Fuchs, Board Member of Rail Cargo Austria AG.
For Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, “UIC together with its members is committed more than ever to making rail transport the most efficient, safe and sustainable mode of transport, attractive for customers and well accepted by citizens who are increasingly sensitive to environmental issues”. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux added “UIC as the international technical cooperation platform for railways manages a number of complex projects on behalf of the European and world railway community aiming to make the railways draw full benefit from their advantages in terms of sustainability. More generally UIC’s technical work and expertise support the action of political railway associations towards the European institutions, the Commission and ERA.