A revolutionary solution
Although actual physical connecting of two trains/wagons today is possible using automatic couplers, it still requires one train to be at rest while the other approaches at very low speed (less than 5 km/h).
Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) project under Shift2Rail program aims to standardize the automatic couplers used for freight and provide better control over the coupling procedure, but even with all these new solutions, the coupling at standstill occupies track time, preventing other rail services.
‘Dynamic Coupling’, i.e., coupling in motion technology developed by DirecTrainS is a cutting-edge method designed to physically and quickly couple/decouple trains at high speeds (~ 120km/h). It enables trains or parts of trains and single wagons to connect and disconnect for any required purpose without stopping or decelerating, thus saving an enormous amount of energy.
The coupling and decoupling procedures which require full autonomous train operation are limited to safety “coupling zones”.
These are the only areas where trains would be allowed to get closer than an absolute braking distance to perform physical coupling/decoupling while in motion.