EC gives the green light to the Czech rail interoperability programme

EC gives the green light to the Czech rail interoperability programme

The programme will now support the implementation of DAC, a key component for the automation of train operations.

The European Commission has approved the Czech Republic's programme to support interoperability in rail transport. With a substantial budget of nine billion Czech crowns (approximately 380 million euros), the programme's five sub-programmes will provide grants to owners and operators of railway rolling stock, railway undertakings, and the country's infrastructure manager, Správa železnic, until 2028. The approved budget represents an increase of more than 35% compared to the previous programme, which ran from 2017 to 2022.

The primary objective of the aid programme is the widespread implementation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), encompassing the ETCS signalling system. This ambitious effort is set to enhance rail transport efficiency and safety across the Czech Republic's railway network.

The approved programme now includes support for the implementation of Digital Automatic Coupling, a key component that enables the automatic coupling and uncoupling of rolling stock in freight trains, both physically and digitally. The inclusion of this component marks a significant change from previous versions of the programme and is a key prerequisite for the further automation of train operations.

By introducing the new car coupling system to replace conventional manual couplers, the Czech Republic aims to streamline train operations and reduce both time and costs associated with coupling processes. However, the introduction of automatic couplers entails significant expenses, raising concerns among haulers about the associated financial burdens.

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