Germany-based Knorr-Bremse started the volume-production of brakes for freight cars in its plant in Pamplona, Spain.

The production of Problock J816M brake blocks, or ‘whisper brakes’, will reinforce the company’s presence in the brake equipment business.

It previously developed a low-noise, low-friction brake block for rail fleet modernisation.

The brake blocks are manufactured from composite materials and help to decrease braking noise by around 10dB(A). With these brakes, the noise level is reduced by 50% for human ears.

This is expected to benefit the people who live near the shunting yards and freight train tracks.

Since 2005, new freight cars in the EU are mandated to adhere to the lower noise limits and be installed with composite brake blocks.

Knorr-Bremse has started the delivery of the first consignments to a major German operator in May. The contract is said to be a six-figure euro sum.

Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems Management Board chairman Nicolas Lange said: “We are pleased to say that with this volume-production brake block for new freight cars we are making a further contribution to much quieter braking in the rail freight sector.

“This product represents a key strategic addition to our portfolio: on the one hand, it provides us with new opportunities to access market share in the OEM sector. And on the other, it cements our position as a system partner and one-stop-shop for freight car brake equipment and maintenance.”

In April, Knorr-Bremse secured a new contract to supply braking systems for 1,300 passenger cars for Egyptian National Railways (ENR).