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"There Are Different Philosophies for Europe's Railway Revolution that Need to be Aligned," says Christian Bedau, Siemens

&quote;There Are Different Philosophies for Europe's Railway Revolution that Need to be Aligned,&quote; says Christian Bedau, Siemens
photo: Falk2 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0; Christian Bedau / LinkedIn/Siemens Vectron; Christian Bedau
08 / 12 / 2023

In an insightful interview with RAILTARGET, Christian Bedau, systems engineer for innovations, intellectual property, and standardization strategies at Siemens, offers an in-depth perspective on the development of the automatic coupler, a key innovation in European railways. Discussing the involvement with Europe's Rail in the DAC Delivery Programme, Bedau sheds light on the challenges and progress in this revolutionary leap for railways amidst the complexities of aligning different operational philosophies within the EU.

Your parent company, Siemens, cooperates extensively with Europe's Rail in the DAC Delivery Programme and is a part of the crucial development of the automatic coupler, which is necessary for this revolutionary leap in European railways. How far along are you with the development today?

Indeed, SMO is an active partner of EDDP and ERJU, as well as the proceeding organization, taking the results of EDDP in the FP5 project. In this project, I lead the 'Power & Data' subproject. I am involved in train functions and system architecture. I also support the coupler core group concerning the electrical partition for the DAC. Furthermore, I am a member of the System Pillar, T4 WP5 and 6. Last but not least, I contribute directly to the new TSI content as a member of the TWG Freight. At SMO, I am a senior integration specialist for locomotives.

Can you please highlight the main problems you have faced during the development so far?

In my opinion, there are significant risks associated with not having a harmonized landscape of RUs in the EU for the FDFTO. The extensive developments require careful risk management. I am aware that not all participants have the same budget situation, and there are different philosophies of operations, which need to be aligned but probably still are not.

How large is the team working on DAC development at Siemens?

I keep the staff rather low until targeted development becomes beneficial.

DAC will, among other things, allow for longer and heavier trains, which should help improve the efficiency and productivity of railway transportation across Europe. How has this influenced your research and development?

I am focusing on the ep-brake. SMO locomotives are also well-prepared for mechanical parts.

The big question around Europe today is how prepared the locomotives are for DAC installation. Can you tell us about the current state of development for the locomotives? We have seen in recent days that practical testing and demonstrations have already taken place. When do you think there will be a fully approved product on the market?

I am well prepared, especially because the Vectron locomotives are always promised to be upgradable, as SMO announces 'Vectron never grows old'. Generally speaking, for the sector, it is necessary to accept more weight for the hybrid couplers, draft gears, and installation space for the couplers in the front-end underframe.