CER, on behalf of the European railway stakeholders, presented Henrik Hololei, the European Commission Director General for Mobility and Transport the DAC Sector Statement – Digital Automatic Coupling, which will enable the development of a DAC deployment plan. The technology is the key element for the digital transformation of the rail system.
The event took place at InnoTrans and the statement was signed by 13 rail organisations: AERRL, ALE, ALLRAIL, CER, EAL, EIM, FEDECRAIL, NB RAIL, UIP, UIRR, UITP, UIC, and UNIFE.
Alberto Mazzola, the Executive Director of CER underlined to the European Commission, Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (ERJU) and the European Union Agency for Railways that it is important to work together to realise a successful deployment of DAC, and that a concerted approach, supported by the Commission, the ERJU and the agency together with the sector is needed.
The signatories of the DAC Sector Statement call the EC to support the European railway sector in promoting the scheduled implementation of the DAC towards national ministries in the event of a sound migration plan and clear economic viability.
Though the statement, the organisations are calling EC to ensure all necessary funding with the highest possible rate and a nondiscriminatory access to the funding which should enable a pan-European DAC rollout.
The statement also asks EC to set up to set up, in close cooperation with the European railway sector and in coordination with the Member States the European structures needed for the DAC roll-out facilitated by an EU DAC deployment management.
“The European railway sector is fully committed to contribute to the successful and stepwise development of the DAC by 2030. Its success will depend on whether the appropriate funding is secured, a sound migration and financing concept is collectively developed, and mature technology is available to allow a rapid roll-out in the European countries concerned. We are striving to fulfil all these conditions,” Alberto Mazzola said.
The so-called Sector Statement on the Digital Automatic Coupler (DAC) showcases the need, and the advantages, to roll-out this innovative device across the European railway system in an accelerated and concerted manner, presents the commitment of the European railway sector and calls the European Commission, the Member States, and the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) to action.
According to the European railway sector, the DAC is not a simple upgrade programme for the rolling-stock for railway freight transport, it is the key element for digital transformation with benefits for the entire railway system and society.
The Digital Automatic Coupler (DAC) opens the door to automation and digitalisation of railway freight transport by providing power supply and data communication on the freight entire train.
The technology is an accelerator for railway freight transport enabling a smart capacity increase
of the network allowing longer and heavier freight trains as well as faster handling in terminals and marshalling yards. It is also an enabler and innovation driver to replace manual processes by automated solutions like automatic brake testing/control or train integrity proof and to
introduce modern services like derailment detection, data for predictive maintenance and conditions of load like temperature measurement and tracking and tracing.
The European railway undertakings and the European locomotive and wagon keepers are fully committed to proactively engage in the development and preparation of the DAC deployment plan, this includes fleet preparedness, retrofitting capacity, harmonisation of operational procedures, coordination, etc.), the statement says.
The railway sector has already joined forces for the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP) since 2020 and will continue its intensive cooperation also under the Flagship Area 5 of Europe’s Rail JU in articulation with the related System Pillar activities, including the harmonisation of operational rules and processes.