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EXCITING: DB installs DAC on freight wagons at pop-up workshops

EXCITING: DB installs DAC on freight wagons at pop-up workshops
photo: Deutsche Bahn/EXCITING: DB installs DAC on freight wagons at pop-up workshops
19 / 10 / 2022

Digital automatic coupling (DAC) is set to simplify rail freight transport in Europe and make it faster. It will speed up handling, operations and turnaround cycles, which means that freight trains will be faster, too. Around 500,000 freight wagons will need to be equipped with DAC across Europe by 2030. To make that possible, Deutsche Bahn is relying not only on retrofitting wagons at its own maintenance depots; it is also installing DAC at pop-up workshops. Thanks to these mobile workshop tents, freight wagons can be equipped with the new technology quickly near where they are used, for example at industrial customers' sites. The aim is to create temporary additional retrofitting capacity and to shorten the amount of time that wagons are unavailable to customers. DB Cargo, Europe's leading freight operating company, has successfully completed the first test in practice in Bremen.

Dr Sigrid Nikutta, DB Board Member for Freight Transport: "Test runs through Europe have proven that digital automatic coupling works in practice. The next step is to find solutions for installing DAC in freight wagons quickly and efficiently. We have shown that it can be done with our innovative approach of using pop-up workshops. In just a few steps, we can convert an analog freight wagon into a smart, digital one. The mobile workshops will allow us to make thousands of freight wagons fit for the digital future in a short span of time."

When DAC is introduced, operations need to be ensured despite there being two incompatible coupling systems (screw coupler versus DAC). Freight wagons are first pre-equipped during normal visits to the maintenance depot. Once wagons are DAC-ready, it takes just a few steps to finish retrofitting them at a pop-up workshop. The conversion works similar to Plug & Play. Deutsche Bahn and its partner companies want to set up 150 pop-up locations throughout Europe.

DAC speeds up shunting, increases capacity at transhipment yards and boosts the capacity of the existing rail infrastructure. Retrofitting wagons with DAC means that wagons are also being equipped with continuous power and data lines for the first time. This strengthens single-wagon transport as a green alternative to lorries in particular.

Beginning in 2023, DB Cargo intends to make its freight wagons DAC-ready as part of normal maintenance depot stops.


Source: Deutsche Bahn Press Releases


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