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12th VPI Symposium “Digital Automatic Coupler” in cooperation with EDDP/DACcelerate

The gamechanger for the rail freight sector is on track!

1,250 participants informed themselves at the digital event on 11th of January 2022 about the status of the DAC introduction in Europe.

“Deploying DAC throughout Europe is a challenging way to go. We managed the first centimeters.” With these words VPI Chairman Malte Lawrenz welcomed the participants of the 12th VPI Symposium “Digital Automatic Coupler” (DAC) in Hamburg (Germany) on 11 January 2022. This year’s Symposium took place as a hybrid event in cooperation with the European DAC Delivery Programme enabled by Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking and the related DACcelerate project.

12 EDDP and DACcelerate experts and one representative of the German Transport Ministry reported at the digital event on the state of the European and national DAC discussion in the fields of “technology”, “migration”, “costs/benefits” and “financing”, answered questions asked by the sector and presented current results of initiatives such as the DAC4EU demonstrator train.

More than 1,250 participants had joined the symposium via livestream – a record number. There was also great interest in the event in non-German-speaking countries: more than half of the spectators followed the symposium in English simultaneous translation.

“The symposium was definitely worthwhile for everyone involved.” Jens Engelmann, EDDP Programme Co-Manager, summed up at the end of the event. “With such events, we establish the necessary pan-European dialogue which is absolutely required for such sector transformation”, he added. Jens Engelmann also on behalf of Mark Topal (CTO of ÖBB and EDDP Programme Manager) thanked VPI, the speakers, and all the participants for this excellent opportunity.


The European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP)

The European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP), enabled by Europe’s Rail, is a unique platform dedicated to the successful implementation of Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) as a means to revolutionise rail freight systems in Europe. Founded on an open cooperation concept, the project gathers a wide range of entities from railway undertakings, infrastructure managers and wagon keepers, as well as the rail supply industry, entities in charge of maintenance, concerned sector organisations, rail research centres and national and European political institutions. The aim is to deliver a European DAC solution through an integrated shared programme, building upon R&I results and pilots, and ensuring the necessary actions for a fast, technically and economically feasible European‐wide roll‐out.



DACcelerate manages and directly supports the European DAC Delivery Programme in close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, while continuously engaging with experts and policy makers on European Union and Member State Levels. It will provide strategies, methods and guidelines for successful and cost-efficient transition to full digital rail freight operations. The project will tangibly develop the required future technology innovation bricks and respectfully updated operational procedures for the roll-out and migration process.

This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101046657.




80,000 freight cars, 256 members, 1 association: the VPI represents the interests of private owners of rail freight cars and workshops in Germany. It ensures good technical, legal and operational framework conditions in rail freight transport. With dedicated representation of interests and a wide range of services, VPI supports 256 member companies in setting the right course for the journey into the future. In addition to the keepers, members also include numerous workshops that maintain the fleets and ensure a high level of quality of the rolling stock.


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