After two weeks of intensive activities at the DB Systemtechnik test centre, the EuropeTrain started running again at 12:35 on 30 July from Minden to Bad Bentheim. Its journey through the Netherlands included a stop for a press event with KNV (the Royal Dutch Transport Federation, a Dutch rail freight support association) and DB Schenker NL on 1 August in Amersfoort.
This “geluidsarme trein” (noiseless train) event was a resounding success. Paul van Lede, Chairman of KNV “Rail Freight”, underlined the importance of rail, which contributed towards reaching the mobility objectives set by the Dutch government to strengthen and boost the economy. “Good hinterland connections by rail are also an important component of success in expanding the port of Rotterdam through a project called Maasvlakte II (http://www.maasvlakte2.com/en). The challenge is now to tackle the problem of noise,” said Van Lede.
“Rail carriers and operators are feeling the pressure to successfully complete the project”, explained Johannes Gräber, Head of Business Segment Engineering Services (DB Schenker), UIC Project Manager EuropeTrain. All scenarios point towards continued growth of rail transport, which is safe and environmentally friendly, but the issue of noise must be addressed. The Netherlands are a fitting illustration of the need for a Europe-wide project in this field, given the international nature of Dutch rail freight – over 80% of its rail freight traffic crosses the borders. There should be a coordinated drive through certification and European incentives to ensure the use of low noise wagons can develop swiftly and on a large scale throughout Europe.
KNV Rail Freight Secretary, Johan ter Poorten called for a transfer of knowledge. “Many stakeholders are now active in the Netherlands, but a common approach is still missing”. KNV aims to organise an expert meeting soon in which representatives of rail operators, wagon keepers, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, ProRail (the Dutch infrastructure manager) and Keyrail will participate. A pragmatic and international rollout of low-noise trains on the European corridor Rotterdam-Genoa has to be swiftly implemented without additional administrative burdens.
After an explanatory tour around the train, participants could clearly see the difference between rough wheels with cast iron brake blocks and smooth wheels with LL blocks.
Johannes Gräber pointed out that the full effect of composite brake blocks on noise could not be properly heard as the train included both cast iron and composite brake blocks. “Tests have shown that on a train with LL blocks, perceived noise is decreased by half.” UIC was furthermore represented by Hans Paukert, Senior advisor Braking systems & Diesel Engines and Liesbeth de Jong, UIC Media Relations.
The press was well represented, with five radio and TV interviews being held on the EuropeTrain and various national newspapers publishing articles. They expressed a positive opinion of the contribution of the railway sector.
This event confirmed the rail freight sector’s professionalism in contributing towards a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and safe mode of transport.
After the event, the EuropeTrain departed from Amersfoort on schedule at exactly 14.00. After the travelling through Belgium, it was handed over to Fret SNCF in the on night.
The French loop passes through Paris (Le Bourget), Marseille, Lyon and Metz. The train will complete the loop several times, clocking up approximately 15,000 km, and is due to return via Belgium and the Netherlands in the second half of August.