German railway company Deutsche Bahn has started testing white-painted tracks to tackle the problem of overheating rails during heatwaves.
The rail operator has painted 1km of the rail track between Hanover and Würzburg’s high-speed line with an environmentally friendly white paint.
During the intense summers in Germany, the conventional rails absorb the heat, due to which the steel expands, causing stress on the rails and trackbed.
With this solution, the white paint reflects the sun rays and reduces overheating and deformation of rails.
DB had previously tested the effect of the paint during this summer on a test track at Königsborn, Germany.
DB expects to gain an insight into the wear and durability of the paint in the real world. Following the results of the project over a year, DB will look into the possible extension to other routes in the country.
Further testing is currently being done at Pfieffetalbrücke bridge near Melsungen. This 61m high and 14m wide track is considered to be ideal as the track is exposed to solar rays all year round and has a high frequency of trains.
DB coloured one track of the double-track bridge with the paint, and the other track was left the same. This experiment will help DB to analyse and compare the effects of the colour.
DB has also arranged a team of experts who will focus on the different ways to prepare the railways for the varying climates.
Some of the projects that DB has started are extensive vegetation management and cool infrastructure such as aerogel.
Earlier this month, Deutsche Bahn signed a five-year agreement for the supply of green electricity from the offshore wind farm Nordsee Ost.