Coach Close Coupling

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mahoganydog
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Coach Close Coupling

Postby mahoganydog » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:08 pm

Hi all,

I have a selection of Bachmann MK1's which will be run in fixed rakes so uncoupling won't be needed that often. The easy solution would be fit a different type of tension lock coupling the problem is that Bachmann don't make a cranked medium length coupling. I've tried the short (36-027) which won't even couple up the loop being too far back. Interestingly the standard couplings are at the wrong height anyway by (2mm too high) while the short are spot on right.

The same question goes for the new Hornby Stanier coaches (R4234/5/6) which take a straight coupling. I've tried fitting Bachmann 36-061's but these cause buffer locking on 4th radius.

With both types of coach the tension locks don't operate the close coupling mechanism that is fitted. I have looked at Hornby R8220 which the Stanier's come with but these still leave a large gap. Rigid couplings might be the answer so has anyone attempted to use Bachmann 36-054 couplings on either model?

Thanks

Jim
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allan
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby allan » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:29 pm

mahoganydog wrote:With both types of coach the tension locks don't operate the close coupling mechanism that is fitted. Jim


This is normal... The pick of the NEM compatable couplers is the Fleischman Profi, but, because Hornby opted for a non-NEM coupler box position they will be too short. Your first choice, then, will be the Hornby close couplers, which couple to form a rigid bar, or perhaps Kadees, which, while not rigid, will work. I'd think #18 or #19 will be the go, but others with experience of 00 should be able to tell you with certainty. Sprung buffers will also help.

Bigmet
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Bigmet » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:11 pm

Brace yourself for an essay.

Neither Bachmann or Hornby really have a clue about how to get the best out of the NEM-ish coupler pocket close coupling mechanisms (CCM) they have installed on coaches over the last 16/13 years respectively. Sounds harsh, but if they did then the tension lock would not be fitted. It's totally unsuited as it provides no recentering force and tends to tangle in operation leading to derailments, especially once more than about 5 coaches are coupled up. Sadly even the otherwise excellent Kadee does not perform in this role, as the coupler heads alone permit pivoting even when glued solid to the shank (or as I tried melting no 5's directly into Bachmann coach coupler pockets). Kadees go on set ends alone, for their peerless autocoupling performance: No 18 is OK for my 30" minimum radius operation, No 19 probably required for smaller radii but this will be dependent on what it is coupling onto, since few traction models have CCM fitted.

What these CCM's need is a coupler that forms a rigid bar linking the NEM pockets, as Allan mentions above. Then they perform. Bachmann provide a moulding of hoses that forms a rigid link, Hornby provide their R8220 coupler (clone of a Roco coupler head) that make a rigid link: but both are too long to fully exploit the CCM, leaving a significant gap between the end plates of the gangways.

You can reset the thermoplastic moulded Bachmann hoses with a little heat, so the gangway faceplates of Bachmann coaches are just in contact on straight track. Or you can use the Hornby R8220 on the earlier examples of the Bachmann coaches which have the pockets too deeply recessed and that fortuitously does the job perfectly. Later Bach mk1 introductions have the coupler pockets appropriately positioned and for these...

..and most of the Hornby coaches which have relatively well positioned pockets, an HO coupler like the Fleischmann Profi, or Roco's type which Hornby cloned as R8220 but put on an overlong stem, will do the same job. (There's also a non auto coupler from Keen systems which will do the job of making a rigid link, and this business also sells replacement CCM yokes for the Bachmann coaches to correct the pocket position.) I use the Roco pattern since the compatible R8220s which come 'free' with Hornby are on my Bachmann coaches.

There's more fiddle-de-dee though to get it all working smoothly. The CCM's on new purchases need to be 'worked' before going on track to ensure full and free motion. I bung a little graphite powder in as dry lube as insurance. Any roughness or gangway covers need to be removed from gangway faceplates so nothing catches. Hornby's sprung buffers need to be retracted, piece of wire insulation slipped over the rear of the buffer shaft secures. A little test running and adjustment of coupler positions may still be required to overcome small variations in the products.

Once it is all done, a formation of gangwayed coaches look superb in motion, all closed up with gangway faceplates in contact on straight or nearly so track, yet spacing off smoothly to take any curve the individual coaches will negotiate. You can push such a close coupled train through a set track point crossover. Because they are all pretty tightly coupled up, the loco gets the full train weight immediately on starting, no picking one vehicle up at a time; and this usually generates a realistic half turn or two of wheelslip at dead slow with steam locos...

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D605Eagle
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby D605Eagle » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:58 am

And none of them couple as close as Hornby's good old (now) railroad Gresley teak coach :lol: :lol: :lol:

allan
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby allan » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:00 pm

The really sad bit is that European wagons - Roco, Fleischmann, Liliput (by Bachmann...) - run perfectly, straight out of the box: just plug in your coupler of choice (including Kadee) and away you go, though I run on minimum 30" radius curves.

Incidentally, if Hornby couplers are too long and Roco couplers too short, has anyone tried one of each?

RFS
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby RFS » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:03 pm

I use the Hornby-Roco couplers for Bachmann MK1s, and the shorter original Roco ones for Hornby Maunsells. This results in rakes of both having corridor connections that touch on straight track. I use Kadees on the end of the rakes. I also have some fixed freight formations where I'm using a mixture of both depending on the location of the NEM pocket. Both couplings are identical apart from their length, so mixing is no problem.
Robert Smith

allan
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby allan » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:12 pm

On my Australian (H0) coaching stock, which has no buffers, I use Kadee #153 couplers and American Limited working diaphragms, and no CCMs,though I do have one car set with rigid diaphragms which I have fitted wth CCMs. On 30" curves there is no gap between the working diaphragms. With the (buffered) European coaches, also H0, which have rigid diaphragms and CCMs, the diaphragms pull apart on 30" curves. Mainland European diaphragms are, strusturally, quite different to American (and Australian) diaphragms, and making them work is impractical. It looks to me as the British diaphragms are of the American type, but I'll check that when I am next at "the club".

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kiwitram
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby kiwitram » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:36 pm

With my Pullman and Maunsell stock, where the prototype cars used knuckle couplers, I'm going to attempt to fit Kadees behind the buffer beam rather than to an arm or the bogie itself. It looks more realistic and I believe the tension will be better kept as it follows the 'proper' way of fitting them as used by American, Australian etc modellers.

The only downside is obviously with UK and European stock, they have buffers (now for some reason sprung to the daft demands of the consumer) which must be either glued back into the shank or cut and shut to a shorter length.

I'll say this, though- a lot of modellers leave the end boards on the gangways of their coaching stock which is not prototypical and also adds roughly 2mm per coupled pair which doesn't help the close coupling case. Really it ought to be the rubber corridor, or a paper bellow fitted to one end of each coach, meeting up to a 'naked' rubber corridor of the adjoining. End boards should only be left on the first and last coach unless there is a corridor tender in use.

Anyway, here is the article I intend on following- I did find another tutorial which was based around Bachmann's MK1 stock and it was the same principle.

http://www.norgrove.me.uk/pullman.htm

- Alex

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Bufferstop
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:26 pm

If your sprung buffers have tails which protrude behind the bufferbeam hold them in with a wire clip clinched around the tail against the back of the beam. Beware of the tightness of curves, the prototype doesn't have to cope with such tight radii, and reverse curves really need a straight between them. My close coupled Pullmans look horrendous passing over a crossover formed of two Streamline short points. There's no way a corridor connector, or body mounted couplers could cope with it. I've sited a signal box next to it to block the view of it.
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Bigmet
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Bigmet » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:27 am

allan wrote:... It looks to me as the British diaphragms are of the American type, but I'll check that when I am next at "the club".

During the steam period, the GNR, ECJS, LNER and SR from Maunsell onwards, and then BR from the mk1, adopted the Pullman gangway system with the knuckle coupler. (A lot of UK modellers feel the knuckle coupler looks 'too modern' on UK steam era stock, but the GNR started with it in the early 1890s, having seen how effective it was on imported Pullman cars.)

To the best of my knowledge, the rest of the UK companies used various forms of very inferior gangway systems with screwlink/side buffer coupling , all of very different appearance to the Pullman system. (Being a GNR/LNER enthusiast I know very little about these.)

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D605Eagle
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby D605Eagle » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:42 pm

Bigmet wrote:
allan wrote:... It looks to me as the British diaphragms are of the American type, but I'll check that when I am next at "the club".

During the steam period, the GNR, ECJS, LNER and SR from Maunsell onwards, and then BR from the mk1, adopted the Pullman gangway system with the knuckle coupler. (A lot of UK modellers feel the knuckle coupler looks 'too modern' on UK steam era stock, but the GNR started with it in the early 1890s, having seen how effective it was on imported Pullman cars.)

To the best of my knowledge, the rest of the UK companies used various forms of very inferior gangway systems with screwlink/side buffer coupling , all of very different appearance to the Pullman system. (Being a GNR/LNER enthusiast I know very little about these.)

Did that mean that only ex LNER coaches could couple with Mk1s? I can just remember seeing a Gresley buffet coach in the early 70s in a rake of other coaches on holiday in Devon of all places.

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Mountain
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Mountain » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:50 am

During my time as a conductor I would sometimes work air conditioned Mk2's. The buckeyes are heavy. We were not allowed to work them unless we could show we could lift the buckeyes and put the pin in to hold them up and we were not allowed to use the tool that makes it easier (We were never given one) and we were not allowed to have assistance while we raised the buckeye.
The hardest part was to hold the weight of the buckeye while one slotted in the pin that held them up.
Now when the buckeye was lowered, it had a standard hook exposed which the loco would couple to it via a standard screw link coupling, so in effect, the coupling itself was universal with the buckeye lowered. I have to say whoever designed the buckeye that can be raised and lowered was a clever person.
The main consideration as to what can run with what is not in the coupling for the UK coaches, but it is in the braking system with most older coaches having vacuum brakes and modern coaches being air brakes.
The Mk2's (And I believe the newer coaches since then) are all air braked and I believe (If I recall correctly) the Mk1's were air and vacuum braked as they were made to be as universal as possible.
I dont know anything about braking pressure differences between older coaches myself as when I worked we just needed to complete a slip to tell the driver the Max permitted speed the train was allowed (The top speed of the slowest vehicle) and the listed weight of the combined train of coaches. There were also the RA rating and a few other details which were less important to us as we only used the E&C workings on one or two routes which could handle more weight etc then our Mk2's and the class 50 pulling them.
I hope this info helps. When as a conductor we reached a terminus station are had to uncouple them and run round to recouple the other side and then completing a brake test. The coupling/uncoupling being the most dangerous task as if one forgot to make sure the driver had the train electrics switched off, one would be fried for sure! I was told it was certain death to uncouple the electrics if they were not switched off. The air and reservoir pipes needed to be held firmly when doing a brake test as they could potentially fly up and down if they were not grasped firmly, and I heard that just before I did my training, a man ended up unconscious and in hospital when he turned the **** and forgot to hold the pipe. The metal end coupler came up and whacked him in the privates! We ensured we grasped the pipe concerned when it was our turn! It wasn't as ferocious as I thought, but we took no chances!

Bigmet
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Bigmet » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:51 am

D605Eagle wrote:
Bigmet wrote:...During the steam period, the GNR, ECJS, LNER and SR from Maunsell onwards, and then BR from the mk1, adopted the Pullman gangway system with the knuckle coupler.

Did that mean that only ex LNER coaches could couple with Mk1s? ...

Also Pullman cars (Pullman had introduced the beginnings of this system to UK use sometime in 1874! ) GNR and ECJS, Maunsell and Bulleid coaches.

As Mountain describes the 'drop head' knuckle coupler used in the UK revealed a regular drawhook enabling a screwlink coupling to be used. (Anyone with the current version Hornby A4 with a corridor tender, look under the gangway, and you will see this modelled: the knuckle will hinge down to reveal a drawhook.)

But that isn't the end of it by any means as regards mechanism. The knuckle coupler in passenger vehicle use requires a central buffer, and this is formed as the bottom section of the gangway faceplate. (You can see the buffer section alone on cab ends of non-gangwayed SR and BR(SR) knuckle coupled EMU's, Bachmann's 2EPB / class 416 for example.)

The side buffers are redundant with knuckle coupling, and are retracted by lifting out collars which allow the bufferhead to be slid back. (Bachmann model the mk 1 coaches with buffers retracted. Hornby insist on putting sprung buffers on their coaches, and if close coupling is to be used these need to be retracted so the buffer face is behind the gangway faceplate. Haven't seen their new mk1 yet, hope they have followed Bach's sensible choice on this item...)

D605Eagle wrote:... I can just remember seeing a Gresley buffet coach in the early 70s in a rake of other coaches on holiday in Devon of all places.

Because the LNER had been so far ahead of the curve (as usual) not only was their complete gangwayed coach fleet compatible with the mk1 in terms of the preferred coupling system, there were also distinctive 'useful items' in quantity which BR could use until replacements were built (or enough services had been withdrawn to eliminate the need). Significant among these were the buffet cars - an LNER innovation for the UK - some of which were still in use as late as 1976 in blue and grey, sleeping cars until nearly 1970, and the full brakes (BG) which were well distributed all over the network in rail blue until the late 70s.

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Mountain
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby Mountain » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:27 pm

Ooh. I forgot to say about the buffer collars. The coolers would be removed to let the buffers slide back for buckeye use, and the buffers pulled out and metal collars which are half circle shape are placed over the buffer shafts to prevent the buffers being pushed in so the buffers can be used when in use with the screw coupling.
I found it odd in the UK that for years and years a "Common" type of coupling was used which did need something else for future use, but when under privatisation or just before that and the new 3rd (Some call them 2nd generation) generation DMU"s arrived in the forms of the pacers, sprinters etc, we ended up with six different systems none of which can be used with other types.
The trains I worked we used three different coupling types. It could become a real pain when one has a failed train blocking you in and you have to wait a couple of hours for a rescue train. Mind you, when I first started apart from E&C workings, all our couplings were BSI and I remember hearing of a fault on one train where rescue trains ended up with their units having the same fault and they ended up with many units stranded. Was quite a challenge for the fitter to sort out!

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markS&D
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Re: Coach Close Coupling

Postby markS&D » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:59 pm

I use a simple method for close coupling coaches, I have quite a lot of Triang hornby mk1's, that had tension lock couplings fitted, I drilled out the rivet that holds the tension lock coupling onto the bogie, and made up a simple rigid coupling bar from stiff brass wire, the wire is bent downwards at either end, and simply fits into the hole where the rivet used to be, this has the advantage of being adjustable, and holding the coaches a set distance apart even when running in reverse.
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