The President of the Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, has asked the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valjeanu, to involve Czech carriers in the testing of the automatic wagon coupling system. As previously reported on RAILMARKET.com, European railway companies are preparing for the introduction of digital automatic coupling (DAC) for freight wagons. DB Cargo, for example, is relying not only on retrofitting in its workshops but also on installing DAC in so-called pop-up workshops. The DAC makes rail freight transport in Europe easier and faster. It speeds up the handling, operation, and circulation of freight trains. To achieve this, around 500,000 freight wagons across Europe will need to be equipped with DAC by 2030.
Europe expects this innovation to increase efficiency and safety on the railways. However, the Czech Chamber of Commerce has noted that it is not yet clear how the DAC program will be implemented. "There is a lack of confidence among railway companies in the way this innovation will be introduced. They fear the obligation to invest massively and suddenly in a new fleet of wagons, modernize a significant part of the fleet, and other investment and operating costs. The transformation process may also lead to losses in the rail transport market, which are unlikely to be offset by the increased economic efficiency of rail freight transport with digital automatic coupling," explains the railway industry.
DAC and its components need to be standardized before implementation. Some Czech railway operators are convinced that testing should gradually move from prototypes and demonstration runs under different conditions to real railway operations.
“We, therefore, propose to the European Commission and Europe's Rail DAC project teams to develop, together with the railway operators, a program framework within which the testing could take place. An important element of this approach is the effort to enable Czech railway companies to follow the project in time and to participate in production and business on the domestic and European market,” added Jan Sechter, Vice-Chairman of the Transport Section of the Chamber of Commerce.