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DAC4EU test train is on the way! Another trend of digitization in the railway sector

DAC4EU test train is on the way! Another trend of digitization in the railway sector
photo: Sigrid Nikutta/Linkedin/DAC4EU test train is on the way! Another trend of digitization in the railway sector
26 / 01 / 2022

German Federal Minister for Digital Technologies and Transport Volker Wissing, DB Board members Daniela Gerd tom Markotten and Sigrid Nikutta, and Jörg Wojahn, Head of the European Commission Representation in Germany, have inaugurated a test run of the DAC4EU demonstration freight train, which is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Because rail freight wagons are currently manually coupled, the digital automatic coupler (DAC) is an essential part of the digitization and automation of rail freight. It provides universal power and data lines for all freight wagons. Thanks to the digital solution, rail transport is more competitive than road transport, significantly increasing infrastructure capacity and contributing to European climate goals.

The connection of railway wagons to the brakes gets also made automatically, and the freight wagons will get equipped with ample power and data lines for the first time.

 

“Reconciling the growing volume of transport with our climate protection goals is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Rail is the key to this – even if we have some catching up in freight transport. True to our motto ‘Dare for more progress’, we will solve a problem that has existed for more than 70 years with the EU-wide introduction of a uniform automatic coupling system and catapult more than half a million freight wagons into the 21st century,” Volker Wissing said.

Ride and coupling tests got carried out on German lines and at marshaling yards in recent months. The future freight train will travel first from Germany to Austria, then to Switzerland, and then to other EU countries. The DAC gets tested in different driving situations than would be possible in Germany. These include steep climbs, sharper turns, or other climatic conditions. Demonstrations and operational tests should lead to the serial production of DACs and aim to implement this solution throughout the EU, paving the way for comprehensive automation and digitization of rail freight in Europe.

The research project was launched in June 2020 and will get completed in December 2022 after practical tests.

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