Author Topic: uncoupling Q  (Read 2816 times)

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Day One

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uncoupling Q
« on: September 07, 2007, 07:30:36 AM »
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I'm curious what others are doing on their layout.  Especially during operating sessions.

How do you uncouple cars from your trains?
I've got magnets buried under the tracks in a lot of places but looking back, there aren't enough or they're not in quite the right places. I tend to do a lot of picking up one end of the car to undo the cars and then having to re-rail the one car. This seems very wrong to me and I don't want people handling my cars more than they need to be handled. I've got some clearance issues on a few spots on the layout beneath the upper lever where using a pick is some what difficult and the upper level yard is maybe a bit too high to be able to get at some of the back tracks easily.

so...what do you use or what practices do you allow on your layout?

Pomperaugrr

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 08:46:26 AM »
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I have recently begun using RIX picks on my n-scale layout.  You can drop the cars where you want.  The delayed uncoupling feature is easy enough too.  Simply hold one coupler to the side, back the train up, then move it to where you want and drop the car.  I used to have magnets on previous layouts, but this is much more realistic to me.  I like to throw turnouts manually and to uncouple manually.  It adds a level of realism to operations.

Eric

asciibaron

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 09:59:23 AM »
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i use the long skewers to perform my uncoupling.  i also use the skewer to set the couplers for shoves. if the skewer is too long, trim it down.  at a layout i recently operated, each throttle had a rubber band around it holding a short skewer like those used on sandwiches at the diner.  that worked well and the skewer was always at hand.

i have found that adding weight to the cars really helps to keep the cars on the track while getting the skewer in there.  i use automotive tire balancing weights - they are the self sticking kind and are sectioned off in 1/4oz chunks.  i got mine from a buddy who works at a garage. 

for the record, the Atlas Precision Design boxcars weigh 1.10 oz vs. the 0.55 oz of the PS-1 boxcar.  i was adding only 0.25 oz to my PS-1's, but i think i'll up that to a 1/2 oz.  the Precision Design cars are very solid and don't fall off the tracks when you look at them.

-Steve
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Day One

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 10:53:32 AM »
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so with your replies it begs the question, why keep the trip pin? Seems it's not needed for magnetic uncoupling and to me they seem to cause problems w/ snagging turnouts etc and are unprototypical looking. Do you keep them on?

I thought I'd heard somewhere about a small "h" shaped uncoupler that had magnets on the lower legs of the "h" and you placed it between the cars straddling the coupler so that you didn't have to mess around trying to insert a pick in between the couplers. Seems like it would work. Anyone seen anything like that?

wm3798

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2007, 11:19:21 AM »
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Rule #1 - don't put track anywhere you can't reach.

I had put magnets in for the paper mill, but ended up yanking them out.  Between the short distances between tracks, the elevated coal dock, and curvature of the yard etc. plus the infamous MT slinky effect, they never worked right.  Also, Atlas metal wheelsets are NOT non-magnetic, which poses it's own set of troubles.

I have skewers handy, but rarely use them.  I get frustrated, and end up lifting the car with the old 0-5-0.  Seems to save time space and energy.

But your results may vary.  Do what works for you.
Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2007, 11:20:50 AM »
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Yep, I'm an 0-5-0 man myself... wait... that doesn't sound right, but yeah, lift and separate, that's  my gig (and dream job).

sparky

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2007, 12:13:04 PM »
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I use bamboo skewers from the grocery store.  100 for about $3.  They're about 8" long and maybe 3/32" in diameter.  Just stick the pointed end between the couplers and twist.  Rix Picks work well too.  Does anyone know if the Fox Valley Models wheels are non-magnetic?  I do still like to have a couple of spots with magnets to play around with, but I want to switch to metal wheelsets and like Lee said, the Atlas ones are not non-magnetic.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 02:39:33 PM by sparky »

asciibaron

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 02:05:58 PM »
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i have the h uncoupling magnet thingy - IMO it's worthless.  i use snagged a few skewers from the bag the last time we made ka-bobs.  some ppl dip the ends in graphite to ease insertion.

-steve
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Pomperaugrr

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2007, 02:12:50 PM »
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I am converting everything I have to FVM wheels (500 wheelsets so far and more needed!).  I believe that they are blackened brass.  I'll cleck to see if they are magnetic when I get home tonight.

Eric

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2007, 02:35:40 PM »
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so with your replies it begs the question, why keep the trip pin? Seems it's not needed for magnetic uncoupling and to me they seem to cause problems w/ snagging turnouts etc and are unprototypical looking. Do you keep them on?

Me thinks you meant "only needed for magnetic uncoupling" eh?  ;)

In theory, they "represent" brake hoses, but in reality yeah they are grossly oversized for brake hoses.

I keep them for unknown reasons (perhaps because I have hundreds of "cars" and I'm lazy) as I am still undecided as to the use of magnets on my new layout (I have successfully implemented magnets under the track in the past). I do keep them "in spec" though so as to avoid "snags".

Mark5

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2007, 02:37:14 PM »
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but yeah, lift and separate, that's  my gig (and dream job).

cross your heart? :P

ednadolski

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2007, 03:20:21 PM »
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I'm not much of an operator, but for uncoupling I like a small flat-bladed screwdriver.  I always thought it would be handy to have one of those tiny flashlights taped to it, for places where the light isn't all that good it's hard to see between the cars.

I cut off the trip pins.  I honestly think that they got their name because of the way they snag on turnouts (or anything else within their reach) and cause derailments.  Without them, it's just one less thing to go wrong, plus there is the aesthetic part of it too  ("represents the air hose" always sounded a lot more like a rationalization to me....  I find it pretty hard to believe that was part of the design intent.)

Can't say I've ever liked the idea of embedding magnets in a bunch of places under the track.  Seems way too inflexible to me.  Still, magnetic uncoupling seems reasonable esp. for folks who might have difficulties with manual uncoupling, particularly in a small scale like N.

Nelson

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2007, 03:39:11 PM »
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Don't quite understand all the references to trip pins snagging on turnouts. Either you have not set them to the correct height, or there is something seriously wrong with your turnouts. The bottom of the trip pin should be .01" above the rail head. Nothing on a turnout (or anywhere else on the track) should be that high. The trip pins can be even higher if you are not using magnetic uncoupling.

DKS

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2007, 04:22:56 PM »
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The trip pins can be even higher if you are not using magnetic uncoupling.

They can be even higher with the magnetic ramps I build.

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wm3798

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Re: uncoupling Q
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2007, 05:21:32 PM »
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Accumate trip pins are self-removing...

I keep a pair of nippers handy during an ops session.  That way if one gets past the car inspector, it can be quickly dealt with by the Hand of God on the spot.

Lee
Route of the Alpha Jets

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net