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Rail Cargo Group: Field test of the digital automatic coupling

Rail Cargo Group: Field test of the digital automatic coupling
photo: RCG press materials/Barbara Lunzer (RCG), Philipp Wagenknecht (RCG), Wolfgang Reissner (ÖBB Technische Services) and Manuel Rapold (RCG) at the DAC operational test in Germany.
05 / 01 / 2022

Since September, prototypes of the digital automatic coupling (DAC) are being put to the acid test in Germany. Read here what exactly is being tested. It was designed to revolutionize rail freight transport and make it faster, more efficient, and safer. It's considered a milestone and plays an important role in attaining climate targets. We're talking about the Digital Automatic Coupling – or DAC for short. By 2030 it will be gradually replacing conventional screw couplings in Europe.

In the summer, technical testing of the prototypes of four different manufacturers was completed as part of the pilot project DAC4EU. Based on these test results, the coupling head was selected as part of a European assessment. Since September, the selected coupling type (Scharfenberg Design) has been examined closely at various test sites in Germany. How are wagons disconnected at the marshaling hump? Are the processes with the DAC as we imagined? What about electricity and data from the test runs? All these are questions that were examined closely. RCG staff was also present during the tests at the marshaling hump in Munich.

At this time, the prototypes of two manufacturers – Voith and Dellner – are being tested. The test consortium hopes the test results will particularly provide information about the system – for instance weak spots or what still needs to be improved and advanced.

DAC will soon also be coming to Austria

By the way, the DAC will soon also be coming to Austria. In February 2022 the so-called "DAC Demo Strain" from the DAC4EU project will be stopping at several Austrian train stations and private sidings and be tested extensively. We hope this will also provide information about using the DAC in winter conditions.

The DAC4EU consortium, consisting of the consortium leader DB AG, the rail freight companies ÖBB Rail Cargo Group, DB Cargo, and SBB Cargo, as well as the wagon, hire companies Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe, and VTG, are campaigning for equipping trains throughout Europa with the Digital Automatic Coupling. The consortium began its work in June 2020. By 2030, Freight wagons throughout Europe are to be equipped with the new technology and contribute to rail freight transport taking on an essential role in the European mobility system of the future. The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMVI) is financing the DAC4EU project over a project period of two and a half years with about 13 million euros.

The Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) is supporting the TARO Project, which also addresses matters related to the DAC with 3.5 million EUR total from the FTI Program Mobility of the Future (Mobilität der Zukunft), managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).


Source: RCG press releases