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Steps to Introduce DAC in Europe

The introduction of the Digital Automated Coupling (DAC) will enable efficient, competitive and transparent rail freight transport in Europe. It is also a prerequisite to meet the environmental goals in the European transport sector. GATX experts are actively involved in making this initiative become reality.

In our series, we’ve covered the start of DAC4EU in 2020, we’ve talked about why we need DAC, the different digital coupling prototypes that are available and the demonstrator train and tests that have been carried out over the past months. Today, we will take a look into what’s next.

A Pending Decision: Which DAC Type Will Win the Race?
While tests of the DAC prototypes are currently underway, the final decision on which coupling type will win the race is still pending. There are two potential dates scheduled for this decision to be made within the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP) - either September or December 2021. We will make sure to keep you posted.


Shift2Rail-European DAC Delivery Programme Started
In the meantime, the Shift2Rail-European DAC Delivery Programme is already in full swing. It offers a unique European platform for cooperation and collaboration. The aim is to deliver the European DAC through an integrated shared programme building upon R&I results and pilots, ensuring the necessary actions for a fast, technically and economically feasible European‐wide roll‐out. Particularly noteworthy is the programme’s ambitious timeline.

GATX Experts Contribute to Accomplish the DAC Delivery
To accomplish the delivery of DAC, the program is split into seven work packages, of which GATX is actively involved in four:

Work Package 1: Technology, Operations and Standardization 

  • Development of a technical definition and standardization of coupling
  • Coordination for the development of an open EU DAC product specification
  • Assessment criteria for an applicable DAC type in the EU

Work Package 2 - Testing & Demonstrators & Pilot Projects

  • Coordination and development of tests and pilot projects, including the creation of test specifications
  • Testing of the different DAC Prototypes (SA3 Type, Scharfenberg Type, Schwab Type)
  • Pilot testing the selected type, testing of DAC integration with locomotives in hybrid DAC versions

Work Package 3 – Migration

  • Development of a migration plan for the conversion of the whole EU wagon fleet
  • Setting guidelines on how the entire European fleet can be converted to DAC
  • Definition of migration strategies aligned with interoperability

Work Package 5 - Costs, Business Cases and Financing

  • Delivery of a financial framework 
  • Specifications of the actual cost of the product and the eventual necessary retrofits of the European fleet
  • Definition of use cases that serve as a foundation for the overall cost/benefit analysis

We continue to support the programme with our active participation and are convinced that the DAC will make railcar leasing easier for all. If you would like to know more about the DAC, please contact your GRE representative or follow us on LinkedIn for regular DAC updates.

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