Why do we need DAC?
Coupling is used to attach wagons to trains. Right now, freight wagons still have to be coupled to each other and then checked by hand. In the future, wagons will be attached to each other using digital automatic coupling: a middle-buffer coupling with an air pipe, power line and data cable. It means that compared to pure screw coupling, the coupling process will not be carried out by hand anymore; it will be fully automated instead. On top of that, it guarantees constant electricity supply and data links to the wagons for the first time. With DAC as an enabler, the RCG is laying the foundation for automated operational processes – for instance automated brake tests and train integrity monitoring.
What are the plans for the coming years?
Various types of coupling mechanisms from four different manufacturers are being tested until the start of 2021. The consortium will base their decision on the outcome of these tests. After this, the European rail freight sector must agree on one coupling design that meets the requirements of everyone involved. Then, what is known as a “demonstrator train” will travel across Europe to gain more operational experience with the preferred form of coupling.
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is financing the project with around 13 million Euro over the next two and a half years.
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The European Consortium DAC4EU
The DAC4EU consortium is made up of the consortium leader DB AG, the railway undertakings Rail Cargo Group, DB Cargo und SBB Cargo, as well as the wagon lessors Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe and VTG. They are committed to equipping all of Europe with Digital Automatic Coupling. The consortium began work in June 2020. By 2030, entire trains all across Europe are to be equipped with this new technology and will enable rail freight transport to play a key role in the European mobility system of the future. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is funding the project with around 13 million Euro for the project’s life span of two and a half years.