European rail freight has taken a major step towards automation and digitalization with the arrival in Hungary of a test train equipped with Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) technology. The revolutionary DAC system promises to transform the rail sector across Europe.
Developed with the active involvement of Germany's DB Systemtechnik, DAC is a technology designed to streamline rail freight operations. It was recently unveiled in Hungary at an industry forum organized by Rail Cargo Hungaria. The results of the national trials will be taken into account when finalizing the technology.
The aim of the uniform introduction of DAC is to create the conditions for the automation and digitalization of rail freight transport throughout Europe. This effort is being coordinated by the DAC4EU consortium of six European railway companies, including ÖBB Rail Cargo Group (RCG). The implementation of DAC could start in 2028 and affect up to 450,000 freight wagons and 17,000 locomotives in the European Union.
Currently, freight wagons are coupled manually, a time-consuming and physically demanding process for workers that poses safety risks. The implementation of DAC will revolutionize rail freight transport by automating train operations, reducing technological processes and downtime, increasing freight transport speeds, optimizing capacity, encouraging the transfer of additional volumes to rail, and reducing the risk of accidents.
“The successful introduction of DAC would significantly increase operational efficiency, capacity and quality of service of the European rail freight companies. Until a comprehensive introduction of DAC, the aim for the coming years is to prepare the technology for series production and to create the necessary framework conditions for the transition,” commented Mark Topal-Gökceli, CTO of ÖBB-Holding AG, EDDP (European DAC Delivery Program) Program Manager.