EU Commission reactivates Czech rail scheme, this time it includes DAC too

The European Commission (EC) has reactivated a scheme to support rail interoperability in the Czech Republic over the next five years for 380 million euros. This initiative, unlike its predecessor, also includes a new measure to support the installation of Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) in Czechia.

It is a reactivation because, as the EC pointed out, the scheme was first introduced in April 2017 and lasted until December 2022. The new one will last until 31 July 2028. Other than DAC implementation, the money will also fund the upgrade of ERTMS technology on rolling stock running on the Czech rail network. The scheme is open for railway carriers, owners and operators of rolling stock, and the country’s infrastructure manager Správa železnic.

Compared to the previous scheme that covered the 2017-2022 period, the budget has increased by over 35 per cent. In 2017, in fact, the budget was set at 92 million euros. In February 2020, the scheme was extended with an additional injection of 134 million euros, for a total of 226 million compared to the 380 million of the new scheme.

DAC in Czechia

The EU’s implementation plan of DAC has not been warmly welcomed everywhere in the Czech Republic. In February, Czech rail freight association Zesnad held a meeting in Prague where issues concerning the implementation plan were underlined and discussed. The meeting resulted in a joint letter where the parties asked for more tests, regulations, and funds from the EU. More specifically, they are asking to ensure the operation of mutually incompatible wagons and locomotives for a transitional period.

RailFreight Connects

Digital Automatic Coupling and its implementation in Europe will be one of the highlights of RailFreight Connects. RailFreight Connects, which will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bremen, Germany, on 6 and 7 September, will be the perfect opportunity for the industry to discuss the current state of this technology and how it can boost interoperability thourhgout the continent. Representatives from HHLA, the port of Genoa, Nevomo, Lohr, DB Netz, UIRR, and more are among the already confirmed speakers. You can find out more about the RailFreight Connects here and retrieve your tickets here.

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Autor/a Marco Raimondi