Shift2Rail announces call for proposals 2021

Photo: Rail Cargo Group

Shift2Rail has opened submissions for two projects in a call for proposals. It includes the further development of Digital Automated Coupling, and measuring the impact of research & innovation (R&I) on the railway sector in making it more attractive. Submissions will be accepted until 18 May 2021. The co-funding from Horizon 2020 made available by the S2R Joint Undertaking is 1.8 million euros.

Shift2Rail (S2R), the European rail initiative which aims to accelerate the adaption of new and advanced technologies in railways, is moving forward with a new call for proposals.

The first one is about Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC), an innovative component to automatically couple and decouple the rolling stock in a freight train both physically as well as digitally. It has many possibilities: increasing network capacity, less shunting in train formation, reducing manual processes and enabling predictive maintenance. The second S2R project zooms out and is to analyse the impact of research and innovation on the railway sector, and the goal to achieve a modal shift.

DAC programme

The target of the DAC Delivery Program is that by 2030, all freight wagons (600.000+) in Europe couple automatically. For this, it aims to select an open, operationally tested, safe and sustainable European DAC open model ready for industrialisation and deployment. By the end of 2021, the final open design of the selected model should be delivered.

S2R has called for proposals to address the challenges facing the development of the DAC, and to get the current DAC Type 4 towards a Type 5, which enables automatic decoupling as a scalable solution. It includes ensuring that management of the EDDP and stakeholder involvement is from a wide geographical range and works closely with S2R. The project will take approximately 18 months.

Project proposals should also address the following:

  • DAC technical specifications for enhanced system prototype of the energy and communication system. Harmonised electrical and communication systems is a pre-condition for the future intelligent freight
    wagons/trains. This activity should ensure translation of the user requirements into a system architecture
    and the assessment of their impacts on the architecture and technical parameters for the
    wagon/locomotive system.
  • European DAC migration concepts and planning. the most suitable selected migration scenario should be detailed, covering an overall time plan with individual steps to take for traffic/asset related conversion
    priorities, transitional concepts for different traffic segments and regions.
  • The skills needed for the migration. This includes an analysis how staff work changes in balance of evident benefits and new challenges. New required skills should be analysed and needs for education, re-training of staff and e.g. ergonomic optimisation should be assessed.

Research & Innovation

The second call for proposals aims to get insights about the impact of S2R’s research, and whether it is in line with the needs of the railway sector. The project, which will be around 12 months, starts with an investigation of the material already available on the Shift2Rail website.
The chosen party is to perform a top-down analysis and define the most important stakeholders for both passenger and the freight transport and their main conditions for seamless and optimised journeys with rail.

This analysis will have to be matched against the outcome of S2R and expected impact of it’s successor Europe’s Rail R&I, and also to determine the obstacles and key success factors of the railway system to attract more freight and passenger customers as part of an multi-modal transport and mobility network.

The project shall also assess the impact of the existing, ongoing and future R&I activities in the rail sector supported by S2R and its successor on the societal challenges with a specific focus on sustainability, digital, manufacturing and urban mobility.

The Call is fully open to both S2R Members and other interested parties. Submissions will be accepted until 18 May 2021.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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