The Czech Republic will co-finance the installation of ERTMS and a digital automatic coupler

2023/08/01 at 2:14 PM

The Czech authorities are planning financial support for railway carriers installing a digital automatic coupler in rail vehicles. This is one of the elements of the program of removing interoperability barriers and improving railway safety in this country, which was approved by the European Commission.

The Czech government plans to spend as much as EUR 380 million until July 31, 2028 to co-finance investments by railway undertakings. Projects such as equipping railway vehicles with ERTMS systems and, for the first time, with a digital automatic coupler will be supported. Recently, industry organizations of rail and intermodal transport called for the introduction of a non-discriminatory system of co-financing investments in DAC in a joint letter, indicating that the installation of these devices will be a significant financial burden for carriers, which may worsen the competitiveness of railways.

The Czech Republic plans to provide support in the form of direct grants to railway carriers, rolling stock rental companies and, in some cases, infrastructure managers. The EC decided that the Czech support scheme is in line with the state aid rules set out in the European Treaties and contributes to the implementation of the European Green Deal strategy in the field of promoting sustainable and zero-emission transport.

This is the second co-financing program for the elimination of interoperability barriers introduced in the Czech Republic. Compared to the previous program implemented in 2017-2022, the budget of the program has been increased by 35%. The railway industry positively assessed the inclusion of the assembly of the digital automatic coupler to the list of investments for which co-financing can be obtained.

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