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Throwback to the DAC Conference in Bratislava: If We Don't All Get Along, the Coupling Can Lead to Mass Disaster

Throwback to the DAC Conference in Bratislava: If We Don't All Get Along, the Coupling Can Lead to Mass Disaster
photo: Archive/Throwback to the DAC Conference in Bratislava: If We Don't All Get Along, the Coupling Can Lead to Mass Disaster
29 / 12 / 2022

Digital Automatic Coupling is the topic of this year's rail freight transport, so there is no harm in returning to this topic and recalling the information from the DAC conference held this November in Bratislava at the headquarters of ZSSK CARGO. Among those present were representatives of ŽESNAD.cz, AROS RAIL SK, ČD Cargo, ZSSK CARGO and ZVKV.

The seminar was attended by, for example, DAC Ambassador Libor Lochman, ERJU Chief Executive Carlo Borghini and ÖBB Technical Director Mark Topal-Gökceli.

The seminar discussed the current status of the introduction of Digital Automatic Couplers (DAC) in Europe, what the EDDP programme is about, who it is for, what technical type of coupler it is and what the timetable is. It presented the financing of coupling equipment for wagons and locomotives and the view of the Slovak railway sector on the plan for the introduction of DAC in Europe.

Libor Lochman, as the first presenter, said that if we didn't all get on the same page, couplers could lead to a mass disaster as the freight would be transferred to the roads, and nobody wants that.

Following Lochman, Carlo Borghini spoke about Europe's Rail innovation programme to ensure digitisation, automation and competitiveness. According to him, it is essential to complete the development of Type 4 and Type 5 couplers in the next two years to focus on testing the DAC in the field and therefore be able to subsequently implement it in freight trains by 2030.

It was followed by ÖBB's Technical Director Mark Topal-Gökceli, who began his presentation by stressing the importance of all of us working together, as this is the only way to get DAC implemented. He demonstrated his efforts to convince others of this railway technology through the former transition to smartphones. In his view, the DAC implementation is no different from other upgrades that humanity has already gone through. 

Oldřich Sládek from ŽESNAD.cz, together with representatives of ČD CARGO, reacted to the Big Bang migration plan, which was not sufficiently mentioned at the seminar, and expressed his concern that it would not work.

Jan Biznár, President of AROSU, expressed his admiration for the people involved in the development of the DAC and strongly agreed with its implementation. Roman Sklenar from ZSSK Cargo concluded by presenting the Slovak perspective on the implementation of DAC. He said that the Slovaks already have experience with the use of the SA-3 coupler on the line Uzhhorod - Košice, which is 87 km long.

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