The Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) is one of the most important technological projects in European transport. Rail freight transport has been expanding its share against other modes, which will make transport in Europe greener. To support this shift and make rail even more efficient, ‘screw couplings’ will be a technology of the past. In order to introduce a uniform system of wagon couplings throughout Europe while at the same time minimizing human workload, GATX Rail Europe is playing an important role along within a consortium to develop DAC.
Three different types of couplers from four manufacturers are being tested. “We are intensively involved in the demonstrator train project as one of in total 7 consortium members that the German Ministry of Transport is financing, and we are also providing railcars for these tests,” says GRE CEO Johann Feindert. “I firmly believe that this initiative will give rail freight transport in Europe a massive boost.”
During demonstrator train trials, the coupling process and its effects in operation are observed and tested. After completion of the project, one coupler type for the European rollout as well as a concept for the approval process of a DAC will be available. The DAC is the basis to make use of automatization components effective. After the European DAC rollout, the entire transport chain from train manufacturing to automatic brake tests to train integrity (and more) will be more efficient.
“These efficiency increases means we will get more goods on the rails,” Feindert is convinced.
This topic will determine steer innovation in rail freight transport… for this reason, GATX Rail Europe is starting a DAC “news series” for your information. In our next post, you can learn more about DAC introduction challenges ahead.