CZ/SK verze

Vienna central station and the DAC prototype presentation

Vienna central station and the DAC prototype presentation
photo: DAC4EU press materials/Vienna central station and the DAC prototype presentation
03 / 03 / 2022

The presentation was accompanied by ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä, the Chairman of the Vida union Roman Hebenstreit, and the Chairman of the Association of Railways, WKO, Thomas Scheiber. Europe has set clear goals with its Green Deal. A big part of this progress is of course dealing with the CO2 emissions from traffic and getting them down as much as possible. One of the solutions for this is to shift transportation of goods from road to rail. Transporting a tonne of freight by rail is 30 times more climate-friendly than by a truck.

As Europe is one of the last bastions of the old screw coupling, that has not changed since the imperial era, the DAC would be a huge innovative improvement and an important prerequisite for automated operations. Research and development should be completed by 2025.

ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä emphasized the importance of the DAC at today's first presentation of the DAC prototypes at Vienna Central Station: "As a game-changer, the Digital Automatic Coupling will trigger a revolution in European rail freight transport. With it, we are able to make the leap into the 21st century and technologically the DAC catapults us to number one worldwide. It turns a formerly “stupid” into an intelligent, digitized freight train. The automation of shunting also makes a significant contribution to occupational safety. In addition, the DAC will become an enabler for completely new automated processes such as brake tests. Servicing and maintenance can also be completely redesigned technologically. The current prototypes are used to collect operational knowledge and to develop marketable products. I am pleased that we as ÖBB, together with our European partners, can gradually implement this innovative technology into reality by 2030. The DAC will make a decisive contribution to shifting traffic to rail and achieving the climate goals.”

As we talked about before, Europe is still using the screw coupling. It is a dangerous process. A screw that weights more than 20 kg has to be lifted and the airline connected. No matter what the weather is this action has to be performed around 300 times per shift. The plan is for the DAC to gradually replace the conventional screw coupling in Europe between 2026 and 2030. The change so far applies to around 450,000 freight vehicles and 17,000 traction vehicles.

As the players in the rail industry know by now, the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transportation (BMDV) commissioned and financed a research project that includes the DAC4EU consortium. The consortium consists of DB AG, ÖBB Rail Cargo Group, DB Cargo, and SBB Cargo as well as Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe, and VTG. It is currently testing the digital automatic coupling for rail freight on the DAC4EU demonstrator train. As we informed before it is currently in Austria with Switzerland being the next country it is going to visit.