Germany has postponed LL – brake shoes deadline by December 2021

Germany has postponed LL – brake shoes deadline by December 2021
photo: Archives/Railway station
03 / 12 / 2020

Germany has postponed sanctions for non-compliance with the TSI noise standard in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanctions will be applied from 17.12.2021. Poland has issued a special regulation allowing the use of iron brake shoes in internal transport until the end of 2036.

The German government postponed the deadline by one year, mainly due to the financial crisis on the railways due to the coronavirus pandemic. The economic impact of the pandemic was also noticed by the largest German carrier the DB. It changes the brake shoes on 63,000 cars. Due to the pandemic, there was a time lag in the completion of the replacement of cast iron brake shoes to composite. Nevertheless, according to the German Ministry of Transport, more than 98% of freight wagons running on German infrastructure already comply with the new standard.

Many operators have criticized the German government's decision to introduce a regulation on composite brake shoes. The main complaints were the high cost of rebuilding railway cars due to expensive LL brake shoes, and significantly higher ware of the wheelsets. The Polish Ministry of Infrastructure, for example, also protested, arguing that the purpose of the measures was to limit the expansion of Polish carriers on German railways. Nevertheless, Polish carriers such as the PKP Cargo and PCC international have invested in “silent” brake shoes.

Germany wants to enforce the TSI Noise standard adopted in 2019 on its railways. Under this regulation, the use of cast iron brake shoes is prohibited and only allows the use of composite brake shoes. In Poland, the TSI Noise standard is required only on certain parts of the railway, Poznań - Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poznań - Zbąszynek, Wrocław - Nowa Sól and Kielce - Radom. For the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Netherlands, the deadline for compliance with the standard is set for the 8th of December 2024.

Due to the transition to composite brake shoes, noise emissions in railway transport will be reduced. In Germany alone, 20% of people complain about noise. This is another step that is inevitable to increase the volume of rail transport. Many people, who now have a negative view of rail traffic due to noise, can change their minds and start using the rail more due to quiet traffic. This is related to the goals of reducing CO2 emissions and the pressure to increasing the use of rail transport under The European Green Deal.

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