GERMANY: In partnership with industry and government partners, railway engineers’ association VDEI held a two-day conference in Berlin on June 26-27 to assess the latest progress in noise abatement.

Co-hosted by the Federal Transport Ministry and infrastructure manager DB Netz, the conference updated delegates on 82 specific projects in 13 research areas which had been running for the past three years, backed by €80m in government grants.

Federal Secretary of State Klaus-Dieter Schuerle stressed the need for yet more progress on noise abatement measures, ‘which are especially important to the public’. He urged those responsible to ‘finalise in the near future certification for low-noise brakes’ to ensure that wagons could be retrofitted rapidly.

A more cautious note was struck by DB Netz Chief Executive Oliver Kraft, who noted that ‘not all the options assessed have been a hit, so far’. However, VDEI President Frank Lademann said noise issues ‘would continue to occupy the minds of railway professionals’ in the years to come. He welcomed the growing number of young recruits to the association, suggesting that this meant VDEI ‘had no reason to worry about its future’.