Skip to main content

Topic outline

  • Brief information on the Funding Opportunity

    Program:  Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON) |  Call ID: HORIZON-ER-JU-2022-ExplR-07

    Geographical coverage: EU

    Available contribution €: 1 500 000

    Deadlines: 1 Stage 14 December 2022 17:00:00 Brussels time

    Type of Action: HORIZON-JU-RIA HORIZON JU Research and Innovation Actions

    Type of MGA: HORIZON Lump Sum Grant [HORIZON-AG-LS]

    For more information on meanings of TRL, Type of Project and General Rules, please refer to the General Annexes of the Work Programme:  Link to the General Annexes of the Work Programme

  • Partners Profiles

  • Partner Search

  • Expected Outcomes

    During the past years and within the scope of the S2R freight innovation pillar (IP5), the sector has been working on the freight Digital Automatic Coupler (DAC). This solution, in addition to the mechanical and pneumatic coupling, will integrate digital communications and energy for the rail freight segment. DAC is an enabler that will enhance the performance and safety of rail freight as it will eliminate manual interventions and, by transmitting data and power through the freight train consist, it will allow addressing the operational gaps to increase the competitiveness of rail freight.

    The Europe’s Rail Flagship Area 5[1] is including in its first work-stream the concept of a “full digital rail freight operations”, focusing on increasing substantially the productivity, quality and capacity of rail freight by full digitalization and automation of operational functions and processes including innovative freight assets. In this context DAC is a key enabler and it is expected that the linked project stemming from the topic HORIZON-ER-JU-2022-FA5-01 will deliver proven and test technical solutions addressing the different operational use-case throughout Europe, reaching by 2025 up to TRL 8-9.

    The project stemming from this topic is expected to take stock and make use of the work already achieved within the S2R R&I project DACcelerate[2] and in the context of the work of the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP)[3], an open platform enabled by the Joint undertaking to gather the entire community around a shared delivery programme for ensuring a fast, technically and economically feasible European‐wide DAC roll‐out.

    For the past years EDDP has endorsed different studies and high-level plans paving the way for the introduction of DAC in EU. The next years are of key relevance as the high-level migration plans need to unfold, making use of the DAC technical solutions being finalised, and develop the necessary preparation for the successful deployment of the DAC with a dedicated migration roadmap and implementation plan and related separate actions that the project stemming from this topic should develop and professionally manage.

    The coordination and supporting action of the project stemming from this topic should set up and develop further in a rolling planning the industrial migration plan (including milestones, key deliverables, etc.) that will enable the `future deployment of the DAC throughout Europe by 2030, ensuring interacting with different actions contributing to it. In this regard, it is expected that the project will be identifying the required topics/actions and related resource availabilities and needs, structuring the needed implementing actions around an integrated delivery plan. The project should therefore detail scope & objectives, then sub-task, integrate and manage the elements identified in the different works prepared by the launch of the project as outlined in the scope below, in order to set-up an EDDP DAC migration roadmap towards deployment. It should ensure the management, revision, challenging and (iterative) interface management incl. regular overview and reporting on the status/progress of the actions. It is expected to further manage related EDDP work streams .

    The project should also define and present for decision the DAC technology packages/components for deployment in function of the progress in the FP5 FDFTO technical development and the ERA tailor-made authorisation process and shall develop major criteria/options for overall migration/ deployment scenario optimisation. Overall the projectshall ensure the industrialization of the Migration via a professional industrial management of the overall project/programme with the creation of a detailed action plan, including a backlog and stakeholders management, on how and when and by whom mobilize necessary resources across EU to effectively manage the necessary retrofit and new installations/production.

    The project stemming from this topic should further support strongly the Joint Undertaking and cooperate closely with it on

    • Identifying and potentially setting up the optimal and required DAC deployment funding/ financing mechanisms contributing to the overall deployment programme
    • Ensuring proper risk and deviation management and the taking of appropriate countermeasures also for the implementing actions if needed
    • Support the EU Rail JU in relation to the EDDP mechanisms, to Flagship Area 5 activities related to the DAC, stakeholder management (EU + MS bodies + Sector actors)




  • Scope

    The coordinated support action will work under the framework of the EDDP and support the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking in the implementation (and preparation for migration) of DAC throughout Europe with professional skills able to manage industrial complex projects and successfully achieve the expected outcomes described above.

    The coordination of this work includes R&I work to further detailed migration roadmap taking into account the tasks required from different implementing actions, creating thereby an action/implementation plan and working environment which addresses different levels of intervention:

    • at European level, with strategic coordination and sound management principles, overarching timelines and common standards;
    • at national level, with action plans and further detailed measures;
    • at company/stakeholder level, for the execution of identified and assigned tasks.

    This work should, among other aspects, take into account the retrofit demands per country, per wagon-type and fleets, as well as the analysis of all major customer sidings/terminals with respect to mixed-coupler fleet operations, in order to and be able to build/provide concrete operational plans.

    The project stemming from this topic should therefore determine the required separate implementing actions (not part of this call) which need to be set-up for dealing with these aspects. In order to align with the overall objective, the project should define their specification/work plans and objective-setting prior to their installation and then oversee their execution during the overall deployment.

    A professional risk management plan should be created and managed with appropriate mitigation measures that will ensure / increase the confidence of the successful full deployment of DAC by 2030.

    The following aspects should be addressed at least, by setting up and developing further, during the project, such separate actions, in coordination with the linked project and the EDDP works, as part of a migration roadmap and implementation plan (indicative and non-exhaustive list):

    • Fleet analysis & engineering (retrofit readiness):
      • EU sector-wide fleet data collection and analysis for wagons & locos: number, technical state (retrofitting ability), usage
      • Integration engineering e. g. for hybrid loco coupler, including an analysis on the compatibility with the locomotive traction power
      • Engineering solutions for locomotive and wagon types that cannot be retrofitted with the standard technical solution
      • Adapt/create data base(s) (vehicle data, authorization + photo documentation, …)
      • Strategic assessment of the results, evolution monitoring and reporting
    • Retrofitting capacity plan:
      • Identification/organisation of required and available additional workshop capacity
      • Identification/organisation of required and available qualified workshop staff
        • identification and permanent optimisation of DACcination centers quantity/locations & requirements
        • gap determination for workshop/workforce and proposal of countermeasures
      • Consolidation of planned/required retrofitting rolling stock quantities, timing & retrofitting process per type/vehicle
      • Additional fleet capacity: Evaluate option for pool of new (replacement) vehicles
      • Components production:
        • Identification of the component demand per retrofitting location
        • Preparing production capacity plan to target levels to be ready from day-1 of migration
      • Evolution monitoring and reporting
    • Retrofitting plan (Traffic & customer sidings analysis, operational plan)
      • Analysis of traffic flows per EU country and related fleets
      • identification of alternative solutions for critical & non-retrofittable fleet
      • organisation of interaction per EU MS with all concerned stakeholders
      • building up a concrete operational and retrofit plan per country, fleet, stakeholder aligned with (major) customers
      • Evolution monitoring and reporting
    • Infrastructural and IT adaptations:
      • Analysis and development of required buffer stop adaptation per country
      • Analysis of marshalling yards requiring buffer release devices and definition of installation process
      • Further priorisation of most relevant to be adapted IT parameters for marshalling yard control systems and fleet databases
      • Evolution monitoring and reporting
    • Placing into service plan
      • Identification of RU’s SMS, operational rules and maintenance rules adaptation need
      • Elaboration of related standard elements
      • Identification of concerned ground and workshop staff
      • Organisation of respective trainings with stakeholders
      • Evolution monitoring and reporting
    • CBA
      • Regular updating of the CBA in close cooperation with FP5 FDFTO and reporting
    • Funding/ Financing plan
      • Set-up funding and financing concept (European Investment Plan)
    • Investment plan & procurement framework plan
      • Set-up procurement framework
      • Set-up of an investment plan (application of the European Investment Plan on national and individual company level)
      • Set-up of a timeframe for company preocurement investment decisions
      • Evolution monitoring and reporting
    • Other regulatory framework plans
      • Relevant adaptions, facilitate the ‘DAC-ready’ concept and any other amendments In EU Legislation to ensure a swift and safe retrofitting process
    • Support the identification of a fit for purporseAuthorisation process (ERA)
      • monitoring, analysing, regular overview and reporting to the JU on the related ERA and FP5 works and their impact on migration/deployment plan
    • TSI revision (EC)
      • monitoring, analysing, regular overview and reporting to the JU on the related EC works and their impact on migration/deployment plan

    The action to be funded under this topic is expected to support the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking for the European stakeholder management encompassing such a transformation process and the risk and deviation management for the overall programme and its implementing actions.

    The project proposals should be completed by on dissemination oriented activities that shall be realised via the channels and in coordination with the JU; no activities that are considered to be a duplication, such as websites, newsletters, etc., will be considered eligible for funding and may result in the reduction of the grant.

  • Interactions with other EU-RAIL projects

    The action to be funded under this topic shall align its work and share the outputs with the EDDP and linked projects from EU-RAIL Flagship Area 5 (stemming from the call topic HORIZON-ER-JU-FA5-01), take into consideration the work that they will release and work together for any potential interfaces.

    Additionally, the action to be funded under this topic will interact with the System Pillar as needed and with the European DAC Delivery Programme groups and is expected to report on a regular basis to the Programme Board and Supervisory Board[4].


  • Gender dimension

    In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.