AFTER extensive testing throughout 2021, a Scharfenberg latch design has been selected as the preferred European-wide Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) standard coupler head design.

The decision was confirmed on September 21 by the Supervisory Board of the European DAC Delivery Programme following tests in specialised workshops. Consensus was reached on the assessments with the Scharfenberg design chosen at an EDDP Programme Board meeting on September 14.

This will now lead to a final design of the selected coupler head to ensure interoperability and operational performance.

Tests were carried out on prototypes for two Scharfenberg-type designs and one Schwab-type design presented by the participating manufacturers: Dellner, Voith and Wabtec.

Around 100 EDDP experts from 36 companies assessed the results of the two test consortia (DAC4EU funded by BMVI, and Trafikverket/Swedish Winter Tests funded by Shift2Rail (S2R)) and of previous S2R works in dedicated workshops for each coupler at the end of July.

The next phase involves the manufacturers presenting specific solutions to cover the remaining DAC requirements while the DAC life cycle costs will also be determined. Through this, EDDP will further develop the DAC specification and compatibility/safety interfaces. Pilots and TSI requirements will follow.

S2R says all three manufacturers involved in the current test programme are competent in latch-type couplers, and that more manufacturers will join the process in future stages.