CZ/SK verze

What Is the Content of the Carriers' Memorandum to the DAC? We Know the Answer

What Is the Content of the Carriers' Memorandum to the DAC? We Know the Answer
photo: Ž on Twitter/What Is the Content of the Carriers' Memorandum to the DAC? We Know the Answer
20 / 02 / 2023

On Thursday, representatives of individual associations of rail freight carriers from Central Europe met in Prague for a meeting on the issue of DAC. Representatives of associations from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia were present. The carriers jointly signed a memorandum on the Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) at Prague Central Station, which will influence the shape of the railway in the years to come.

The carriers agreed on the following requirements that are necessary for the introduction of DAC:

  1. The definition of one specific type of coupling, including its digital and electrical parts; it means defining a new uniform standard for both the mechanical and digital/electrical parts of the solution (technical and user). Only then will it be possible to quantify the costs and benefits of the solution and decide on the relevant TSI modification.
  2. Completion of tests, trials and sufficiently long verification in real operation (i.e., operation with goods, loading and unloading operations) of the selected specific type of DAC in its highest (final) version, which will be subject to wagon conversions, with positive confirmation of trouble-free operation, including extreme weather conditions, transport of dangerous goods, operation in dusty unloading environments, etc.; precise verification of the future 100% substitutability of the currently used conventional screw coupling of wagons by the DAC solution.
  3. Demonstrated benefits, i.e., a positive cost-benefit analysis (CBA) based on realistic and verified input data, including data from carriers that handle trains without DAC today and can evaluate the potential positive impacts on train handling with DAC technology. The assumed period of positive cost-benefit analysis is ten years, not 30 years.
  4. Ensure backward compatibility in all respects for the duration of the transition, or ensure the operation of mutually incompatible wagons and locomotives for a transitional period through other technology. It applies both to operations in non-EU countries and to the process of freight wagons and locomotives that cannot be backwards modified.

    a. This period may vary in various European countries but shall not be longer than the remaining lifetime of the existing technology.

    b. The transition period and the date of the start of the transition must be set realistically and taking into account the possibilities of equipping the wagons and locomotives, the need for their design modifications and their approval so as not to limit the capacity of rail freight transport during the transition itself and its preparation period.

    c. The migration period cannot be retrospectively derived from political objectives; it must be based on realistic options and a realistic timetable.
  5. Confirm and guarantee the method and amount of co-financing of vehicle upgrades by the European Commission throughout the migration period, as carriers and vehicle owners cannot bear the high one-off equipment costs and other costs associated with maintaining the solution. These increased costs cannot be passed on to rail freight customers.
  6. Ensure consistency with the EU vehicle conversion approval bodies so that the conversion approval process does not negatively affect the operational availability of the fleet during the approval process.
  7. Ensure consistency over the conversion plan across the industry in the standard gauge area. That is, not only manufacturers in terms of their capacity but especially carriers (i.e., users) for operational situations during the migration period so as not to limit the availability of cars and reduce the quality of service provided to rail customers, thereby shifting shipments from rail to road.
  8. Without meeting the above requirements, the carriers are opposed to the central and mandatory introduction of DAC. They want to preserve existing rail volumes and are not willing to gamble with the goodwill of our existing and new customers either on the price offered or the quality of service provided.

Source: Ž