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Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:06 pm
by rayG
Hi everyone,

Returning to model trains after a long time - I've recently acquired a Hornby Flying Scot (just the trainset version, not a fancy super-expensive one) and was surprised to see that it has a rather elegant narrow coupling on the rear of the tender instead of the traditional huge D-shaped metal ring for the next carriage's hook to catch on. This is just like a tiny section of coupler, hinged at the back so it can still cover the full arc. I think it looks a lot less obtrusive.

New carriages don't have these. Why aren't they everywhere? Can they be bought so I can put them on my old carriages? If so, is there any reason not to? Do these couplings have a name so I can google for them? (I'm sorry, I don't necessarily know correct names for things so hope I am not confusing.)

Thanks very much!

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:04 pm
by Roger (RJ)
There are a whole host of different couplings in use nowadays and they don't all work together very well and they are not all attached to the rolling stock in the same way. The most useful attachment is the NEM type. Your choice of compatible coupling can be simply be plugged in.
See this Hornby page for their selection of various types. Bachmann offer similar couplings. There is also the Kaydee couplings (a "knuckle" type) which come in a multitude of different sizes, lengths and fixings (including NEM) and are growing in popularity.

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:55 pm
by rayG
Thanks for the link. Looks like the engine is Hornby's "Narrow" style. They seem cheap enough to get some to play with, and they certainly do work with the old wide style, so I wouldn't have to change everything at once and it wouldn't be a disaster if they turn out to be a bad idea on tight curves or something.

Do I understand correctly that "NEM" is the socket on the carriage rather than the coupling hook & bar? If so, presumably my old stuff won't have that socket (so I can't simply swap without getting crafty), though I will check.

Thanks again!

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:57 pm
by thebritfarmer
This will give you an idea of what is out there.

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:03 pm
by thebritfarmer
sorry link didn't work

type in couplings then choose 00 scale.

These should work on wagons etc that had a large fix coupler. ... etail.aspx

You can use these also just glues to the underside of the wagon carriage etc.... you have to make sure they are at the correct height of course and the may need to be shimmed to fit. ... etail.aspx

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:53 pm
by naugytrax
Do I understand correctly that "NEM" is the socket on the carriage

Right, Ray. It's the attachment, as RJ said.

Strictly speaking it's NEM 362. There are many different NEM's (roughly an acronym standing for "Norms for European Modelers"), most of them having nothing to do with couplers. In OO/HO scale you sometimes come across NEM 363 coupler mountings, e.g on ViTrains locos. NEM 363 is incompatible with NEM 362, so to avoid frustration it may be a good idea to be clear about what's being referred to. In Continental Europe I think they're more careful about this, because the other NEM's are more widely used. But UK modelers and magazine writers usually can't be bothered.

An English translation of NEM 362 and NEM 363 can be found here:

Re: Narrow couplings

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:40 pm
by kristopher1805
Well you learn something everyday, but of course Ray things are not that simple.

You refer to the 'tension lock' system used toy be the standard nationally once Triang took over Hornby Dublo, however since those days the small couplings have been introduced and some of these are NEM sockets - but not all - such as the Bachmann bogie bolster, Bachmann Thompson coaches etc.

Now there are a series of options to use and some mentioned above such as the widely admired Kaydee and there are others, I have yet to try Kadees but there is a vast variety of different ones about 20 in all.

Here in blight you get the small tension lock which you obviously have. There are others such as the;
The Joueff 'clip' which often comes in Hornby boxes, this suffers from misalignment and droopy sockets so I now no longer bother.
The solid bar, Bachmann sell ones that look like a vacuum pipe and these can be good but I use them to couple coaches which need good clearance and which suffer from droopy sockets and erratic cam operation.

Best of all is the DMU socket used by the Germans, this is easy to uncouple, uses the same lift as the tension lock and is very reliable, it is also good going down gradients as the whole plot does not bunch up, sadly the shank is too short for Bachmann mark 1 coaches and there is not enough clearance although slightly shorter coaches have no problem.

Hope this helps