CZ/SK verze

In the course of the 2nd session of IRFC 2022, the DAC topic was addressed. ČD Cargo boss Tomáš Tóth pointed out its shortcomings

In the course of the 2nd session of IRFC 2022, the DAC topic was addressed. ČD Cargo boss Tomáš Tóth pointed out its shortcomings
photo: RAILTARGET/In the course of the 2nd session of IRFC 2022, the DAC topic was addressed. ČD Cargo boss Tomáš Tóth pointed out its shortcomings
06 / 10 / 2022

The second session of IRFC 2022 was devoted to railway interoperability and standardization. During the conference, presentations were made by Keir Fitch, Head of the Rolling Stock Safety and Interoperability Unit of DG MOVE, Vladimír Kampík, Director of European Affairs of AŽD, Cyrille Guyon, Deputy CEO of Ermewa SA, and Tomáš Tóth, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD Cargo.

During this session, many interesting contributions were made regarding interoperability and standardisation. The leitmotif of the presentations was mainly the interconnection or the creation of a single European railway. It should help especially with cross-border transport, which is often complicated and lengthy. It also reduces the competitiveness of rail compared to road, which may not solve many of these problems.

This idea has been supported by Keir Fitch, head of DG MOVE's rolling stock safety and interoperability unit, and could be fulfilled by the SERA (Single European Railway Area) project. It will also be important, he said, to develop a detailed plan on how to implement new technologies for the railways. The DAC could be a model case for this. Cyrille Guyon, the deputy CEO of Ermewa SA, made a similar point about DAC. He mentioned that we are using 19th-century coupling technology, but we are already living in the 21st century.

The topic of DAC was also central to the presentation of Tomáš Tóth, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD Cargo. According to him, the Achilles' heel of large European projects lies in the way they are implemented and how they are financed - this applies especially to ETCS and DAC. Question marks also hang over their real benefit for the railway sector. He believes that the future of rail will be great, but if the added value of these projects is not realised, rail freight transport could be crippled or disappear. We need to follow the path of evolution and not revolution. The implementation of DAC should go step by step with the possibility of legacy technologies catching up, just like on the road. There is no big bang style of implementation because it is not realistic in his words. In general, these projects should not be a hindrance but add value to the railway. At the same time, the achievement of the objectives of these projects should be properly monitored.

The head of ČD Cargo brought several arguments to the discussion on DAC and its implementation. In particular, he pointed out the pitfalls of a leapfrog implementation of this technology in the form of a big bang, which could threaten the competitiveness of the railway or its very existence. The financing of this project will also be a big issue, as the ETCS has already proved to be quite hard to secure. It will be interesting to see to what extent the arguments of the Czech side will influence the final form of the DAC implementation. However, the EU position has not yet changed.

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