Re: Couplers - Prototype
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When I was Master Mexhanic in the amusement park business (Opryland) one of my railfan engineers was Wilbur Golson. He told the story of visiting (I believe) the T R Miller Lumber Mill in the south and getting to run their Baldwin 2-4-2T yard switcher. He was pulling up to a car and when he hit it the coupler pin didn't drop. The car without any air started rolling through town. They started chasing it for over two miles to the mainline connection blowing the whistle as the car ahead of them approached every street crossing They finally coupled up at the G M & O yard which was slightly up hill. They got down and thanked their lucky stars. Wayne Weiss
From: Earl Knoob <earlk489@...>
To: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, May 16, 2019 11:15 am
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Couplers
In my 41 years of railroading, I NEVER shoved a car to a spot with the knuckles butted closed. Very dangerous. When the engine stops, the car will keep rolling. Most yards have some sort of grade to them, so the car can easily roll off. You shove to a spot with the couplers locked. When you get the car spotted, set out or whatever, you chock the wheels and/or tie down the handbrake, pull the pin if the slack in in, and pull away. You always leave angle cocks open on cars left on a siding. If you close the angle cocks, it is possible for the air in the car reservoirs to leak into the brake pipe and release the brakes. that is known as "bottling the air".
"Safety stops" are a modern day invention in railroading. Old timers didn't do that either.
BTW, 714's were a godsend to us in the late 1960's. Until then we had to use #5's on our narrow gauge equipment.
An "HOn3-er" since 1968.
From: HOn3@groups.io <HOn3@groups.io> on behalf of Dale Buxton <dbtuathaddana@...>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2019 1:30 AM
Subject: Re: [HOn3] Couplers
That is exactly what is being said. Personally I like and prefer operating my coupling and uncoupling operations manually like the prototype, I get a part of the feel of what it is like to operate the prototype. Sergent couplers give me that real operation feeling like Kadee 714's never ever could.
Ok, I'm going to incur the wrath of some people here. Be that as it may. But, it's like this. Kadee 714 and 715 couplers became the defacto couplers of HOn3 for decades because no other company came up with a usable operating coupler of the appropriate size for HOn3. End of statement full stop. The 714 design has design limitations due to compromises that needed to be made by size they needed to be and the actual thought processes of the designers. One of these compromises was the complete elimination of a pivoting coupler knuckle. At the time Kadee 714's were developed, the first really working coupler to the market was going to be accepted as the go to product of use and 714's were just that. Personally, I felt for many, many, many years that a lot of this acceptance was based merely on the overwhelming success of Kadee's #5 couplers and not much else. The #5's were the best couplers on the market and since then every other coupler on the market has been based on them.
But the 714 design had and still has its operational detractors. They have fair amount of vertical play in their coupler box. this allows them to dip down or climb up on the coupler they are mated too. This also plays into the slinky action in the draft gear spring. It also can allow the magnetic trip horn/pin, which if it is not adjusted to absolutely perfect vertical height, to drop down and snag on uncoupling magnets, turnouts, RR crossing boards and pretty much anything else that is mounted between the rails. So a lot of modelers started to just snip the trip pins off and use uncoupling wands instead. This completely negated the whole delayed action concept that was and still is at the center of Kadee coupler designs. Uncoupling with a wand mostly entails pushing a pointed stick between the 714 couplers, twisting it and then pushing the freed car away some with the stick. HOW REALISTIC!
I think that removing the 714 trip pins and the delayed action they gave, brought about a whole era of unrealistic, lazy, sloppy, pseudo coupling and uncoupling operations. On the prototype there is far more to coupling cars together than just backing up, mating and pulling away. WAY MORE!!! The full size railroads use a pretty much set system of coupling and uncoupling trains or spotting cars. For the most part it works like this.
BREAKING TRAINS and SPOTTING CARS:
In prototype car spotting operations. You will have a switchman/brakeman on the ground. He usually starts out at the locomotive or at turnout to a siding that they want to spot a car at. The train makes a safety stop at 50' or more before turnouts and stationary cars. The switchman throws the turnout and signals the engineer to pull into the siding. The car is pushed forwards past the turnout. Now because automatic couplers will only un-couple while not under tension. For expedience (because it is easier to spot cars EXACTLY where you want them this way), train crews will pull the cut lever on one of the cars. Which releases the knuckle pin and un-couples the car from the train. The switchman gives the signal that the coupling has been broken. The engineer pulls the locomotive/train back a little. If the break does not happen, the engineer moves the train forward and takes the slack out of the coupler knuckle faces again and the switchman tries to pull the coupler pin again. Once the break is made and the engineer has pulled the open couplers a way from each other and stops. The trainman gets permission to get between the cars and closes the knuckles on both opposing couplers. He gets back out and signals the engineer to move forward. The car will now be pushed (closed knuckle to closed knuckle) to its final position. The hand brakes will be set, The angle cocks will be closed and the train line (on K-brake systems) will be bled. The train and crew then moves on to the next car set-out or whatever.
The biggest reason for closing the knuckles to push the car gets back to the Link and Pin coupler days. The number one most dangerous place to be on the railroads is in between the cars during coupling and un-coupling. Putting automatic couplers on cars with the cut levers to operate them extending to the outside edge of the cars, which put the trainmen out of the danger zone when the pin was pulled. These improvements to car spotting started saving lives and limbs almost immediately. So that is the primary train movement process for car spotting. But, 100% of the time you must have slack in between the coupler knuckle faces for the couplers to part when the pin is pulled.
JOINING CARS and TRAINS:
So now we need to pick up that car. Once again the train and locomotive move to the turnout. The safety stop is made. The switchman gets off of the train. He throws the turnout and signals the engineer into the spur. They make another safety stop. Now the switchman gets permission to get in front of the coupler and makes sure that the coupler that they are going to use to make the "Joint" is open and aligned. (Remember! On most steam locomotives, the front coupler is merely pined into the coupler pocket on the locomotives pilot beam. So it has the ability to flop around from side to side and get out of alignment. Couplers o freight cars do it too!) The switchman signals the engineer to pull up to the car and make the "Joint". Once the "Joint" is made, the switchman signals the engineer to back up and take the slack out of the knuckle faces. This is called making a "Stretch". If the "Stretch" is successful, the newly coupled onto car will come with them and the slack will be taken out of the knuckle faces. If not the "Joint: and "Stretch" moves must be repeated until the proper "Joint" is made. Once a "Stretch" is successful, the switchman signals the engineer to move up and remove the slack from the knuckle faces. That completed, the switchman signals for permission to go between the cars where he kneels and connects the "Glad Hands" of the air hoses to the trainline, opens the angle cocks to the hoses and releases the manual brakes. Now they can pull out of the siding.
MODELING SWITCHING MOVES:
Now where model trains don't need a good deal of these steps. In most cases you don't see modelers doing even half of what they should be doing as simple good practices. At the very least they should be doing "Safety Stops", "Closed Knuckle Spotting" and making "Stretches" to make sure the "Joints" are made.
You can go on line and find videos of coupling and uncoupling operations on the full size RR's. The main elements of these operations are all pretty much the same everywhere automatic knuckle couplers are used .
So I guess it comes down to something like this. If we are only willing to buy model trains with the highest detail fidelity. Why should we not endeavor to operate our highly detail miniature trains in manor as near as possible to the way that the full size RR's do?
On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 10:12 PM <arfio@...> wrote: