Roundtable: Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC)
5 April 2022
Moderated by Carlo Borghini, Executive Director, Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking, participants of this Roundtable explore how DAC will increase the capacity and quality of freight traffic as well as of rail infrastructure and its role in meeting rail’s sustainability targets, plus they look at the main policy and legal challenges that DAC will need to overcome, as well as workforce safety and what else needs to be done as an industry to progress.
CARLO BORGHINI, Executive Director, Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking:
“The official launch of Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (Europe’s Rail) took place in February 2022, under the umbrella of the European Railway Summit. The event, attended by the European
Commissioner for Transport, Ministers of the Member States, and CEOs and Presidents of Europe’s Rail Founding Members, was an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the former Shift2Rail, and express expectations for the Europe’s Rail programme.
The new R&I partnership, worth €1.2 billion, has an ambitious set of objectives and will deliver a high capacity, integrated European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and providing solutions for full integration, covering traffic management, vehicles, infrastructure and services, aiming at faster uptake and deployment of projects and innovations. The main difference between the new Europe’s Rail and Shift2Rail is the introduction of a structured system approach. This approach covers the full lifecycle of research and innovation, from the definition of the future concept of operations to coordinated deployment, delivered by the research and innovation activities that are at the core of the programme.
To meet these objectives, Europe’s Rail has defined five key areas for innovation, one of them being rail freight. The emphasis will be on delivering a seamless rail freight system, integrating
information and data for all the players involved in the logistics chain, and pushing for fully digital rail freight operations. Building upon the successes of S2R Innovation Programme
5 and in close collaboration with the European DAC Delivery Programme, the new partnership will work on bringing the digital automatic coupling (DAC) solution to the market. The
DAC solution will provide a route to automatically couple and decouple freight trains both physically as well as digitally. The technology is considered a key enabler in creating a modern
and digital rail freight sector. DAC not only has the potential to provide significant time and cost efficiencies through the automation of currently laborious manual activities, but also
ensures a sufficient energy supply for telematics allowing the safe communication of data throughout entire freight train.
This roundtable discussion, which I am pleased to moderate, will explain how DAC will increase the capacity and quality of freight traffic as well as of rail infrastructure and its role in meeting rail’s sustainability targets. We will look at some of the main policy and legal challenges that DAC will need to overcome, as well as workforce safety and what else needs to be done as an industry to progress.“
- Mark Topal-Gökceli, CTO, ÖBB-Holding
- Gilles Peterhans, Secretary General, International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP)
- Keir Fitch, Head of Unit Rail Safety & Interoperability in DG MOVE, European Commission
- Luc Chaumette, Chief Industry, Digital & Innovation Officer, Fret SNCF
- Bruno Lecomble, UIC Freight Components – Product Line Director, Wabtec
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