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DB Is to Provide Noise Barriers for Twenty Municipalities Across Germany

DB Is to Provide Noise Barriers for Twenty Municipalities Across Germany
photo: Michael Neuhaus / Deutsche Bahn AG/DB Is to Provide Noise Barriers for Twenty Municipalities Across Germany
01 / 02 / 2023

Deutsche Bahn is building noise barriers in 20 communities from Leutesdorf in Rhineland-Palatinate to Eltville in Hesse. Around 27 kilometres of noise barriers are being built to provide lasting relief from rail traffic noise for the citizens of the Middle Rhine Valley. It will make things noticeably quieter for around 22,000 people. DB, the federal government and the federal states are jointly investing more than 130 million euros in this project.

Construction symbolically began in the first six locations on January 30. In each case, 1.8 kilometres of noise barriers are being built on both sides of the Rhine. In Hesse, on the right bank of the Rhine, work will begin in Rüdesheim, Erbach, Hattenheim and Oestrich-Winkel, and on the left bank of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate in Weißenthurm and Brey.

Berthold Huber, DB Board Member for Infrastructure: "Rail traffic for the people in the Middle Rhine Valley must become quieter. It is the only way we can gain the necessary acceptance here and throughout the country for shifting traffic to climate-friendly rail. I would love to express my special thanks to the Advisory Council for a Quieter Middle Rhine Valley – in dialogue with residents, we have already achieved a great deal to improve noise protection in this special region. The construction of the noise barriers will bring further relief."

Dr Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport: "To achieve our climate protection goals, we need to shift more traffic onto the railways, expand and extend the network. This climate policy necessity means a great burden for many people along the major rail routes. Noise is invisible, but it has a direct impact on the quality of life of the people living here: It startles, affects health, and robs one of sleep. We are very aware of this and therefore invest massively in noise protection for the affected residents."

Katrin Eder, Minister of State for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility of Rhineland-Palatinate: "The noise pollution caused by rail freight traffic is the Achilles' heel of the climate-friendly means of transport that is the railway. In the Middle Rhine Valley, noise pollution is still at a level that can be classified as harmful to health. Therefore, any measure that reduces the level of pollution is to be welcomed. We have been involved in the Middle Rhine Valley Quieter Advisory Council from the very beginning, and I am pleased that the construction of the first noise barriers from the package of measures can finally begin. However, further measures are needed to achieve an acceptable level of pollution that can serve as a long-term perspective for those affected. For this, we need a legal basis such as the introduction of binding limit values."

Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing: "The improvement of the noise situation in the unique cultural landscape of the Middle Rhine Valley through the new noise protection measures is necessary. Even though the Rhine routes are railway infrastructure under the federal government's responsibility, the federal states will therefore contribute to the protection against railway noise by sharing the construction costs in the interest of the citizens affected by the noise. The goal should further be to implement noise protection measures for further municipalities at the latest within the framework of the planned general renovation of the right Rhine line still in the mid-twenties."

Willi Pusch, Vice-Chairman of the Quieter Middle Rhine Valley Advisory Council: "Today's start of construction clearly shows that the work of the Quieter Middle Rhine Valley Advisory Council is worthwhile! The direct dialogue between the citizens' initiatives, the responsible politicians, and Deutsche Bahn helps all residents on the way to more noise protection in the Middle Rhine Valley. Noise barriers for 20 communities, each individually designed, are another important milestone."

In the planning and implementation of noise protection, DB is in direct contact with residents through the Middle Rhine Valley Quieter Advisory Council, founded in 2012. Here, everyone sits at the same table: citizens' initiatives, representatives from politics and DB. Numerous jointly developed measures to reduce noise based on the respective local conditions and thus also take the World Heritage Site into account have already been successfully implemented. In recent years, for example, DB has already installed so-called rail web dampers on around 52 kilometres of track. These reduce the rail vibrations caused by passing trains and thus the sound.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is a unique region in several respects: it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, at the same time, part of one of the most crucial European rail transport axes for north-south traffic. The special location between the river and the mountain slopes results in a noise-intensifying situation.

Noise protection at DB

The federal government and DB are working together on the 2030/2050 noise protection target, according to which more than 800,000 residents throughout Germany are to be relieved of rail traffic noise by 2030. That is more than half of all residents living along noisy lines. By 2050, the noise from rail will have been reduced for all affected residents. The successful retrofitting of all DB Cargo freight wagons with whisper brakes and the implementation of the noise abatement programme is already bringing noticeable relief to people throughout Germany.

Source: Deutsche Bahn