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DAC Day gathers key Central and Eastern European stakeholders in Prague

Against the backdrop of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) Day organised by Lindholmen Science Park in collaboration with Europe’s Rail Founding Member Trafikverket, brought together key rail stakeholders from Central and Eastern Europe. The event organised in the frame of the DACcelerate project, was supported by the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking and the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP), enabled by Europe’s Rail.

The conference was opened and moderated by Dr Libor Lochman, DAC Ambassador for the Central, South and Eastern European region. Dr Lochman highlighted the need for delivering the DAC in Europe to transform the rail freight sector across the continent.

Copyright: Lindholmen Science Park

DAC is the key enabler for automation and digitalisation of rail freight, increasing productivity, capacity, quality, safety and competitiveness of the European rail freight system by significantly reducing time and efforts for shunting and train preparation. This will enable innovative customer services by providing data and energy on every wagon and transform the European rail freight system to contribute to the increase of the modal share supporting the ambitious climate goals set out in the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility  Strategy.

The European DAC Day was an essential opportunity to gather parties crucial for the future of a successful and efficient DAC migration , including representatives from the European Commission, the EDDP Programme Management, Europe’s Rail and other railway stakeholders who are essential to enable the implementation of the DAC technology. It will be done on the basis of harmonised operational procedures, with authorisation procedures, a sound migration plan guaranteeing simultaneous deployment in Europe based on available and adequate funding programmes.

Copyright: Lindholmen Science Park

During the event, two dedicated panel discussions took place – how operational DAC migration can be achieved across Europe and how we can find adequate funding programmes and financing models for DAC. The audience had the opportunity to exchange thoughts on how the sector can successfully come together in making rail freight more competitive based on technology innovation, using DAC as one of the essential components for digitalisation and automation, creating high capacity and efficiency of the system as well as sustainability goals in Europe. To achieve these objectives, unified transformation in the rail freight sector is needed and the DAC deployment is central. The main topics of both debates were focused on the DAC technology, costs and benefits, challenges around migration, such as financing and funding to ensure that railway operators maintain the competitiveness in the rail freight arena.

Participants also had the opportunity to answer the questions on their ideas on how to achieve more tests and demos in Europe – preconditions important for implementation of DAC and major challenges regarding financing.

The main takeaway from the European DAC Day is the call to continue discussions and work together aiming at a harmonised approach towards the deployment and establishing conditions for funding and financing should we be able to meet the ambitious target – 2030. Rail freight sector needs to join its efforts and develop a robust business case with common vision on DAC deployment based on collected data, that will allow the much-needed support of the European Parliament, Member States as well as the society.

Copyright: Lindholmen Science Park