Author Topic: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test  (Read 1128 times)

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M and K Fan

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MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« on: September 24, 2013, 10:26:32 PM »
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My friend, Ken, has asked me to up load the following to TRW"

"I think the Test-of-Tests for any N Scale locomotive or rolling stock
and components comes on the often irregular trackage of an NTRAK
layout, and I am delighted this evening to report the new RDA couplers
developed by Micro-Trains Line for the 1018 couplers used on the
MTL/Con-Cor circus cars have withstood that test -- magnificently.

You might remember I reported on Tuesday, Aug. 27, MTL had sent me
several sets of these newly designed couplers and bolsters for the
1018 and 1017 trucks.

I had written here back in May on Mother's Day Sunday of how I was
having a horrible time in trying to get my MTL/Con-Cor Ringling Bros.
and Barnum & Bailey circus train to stay together on an NTRAK layout
our club, Montana NTRAK, had set up at our beautiful new local library
(we have but one).

Joe D'Amato, MTL R&D design engineer, had pledged he would fix that
problem. Ben Thielemann, MTL marketing director, continually reassured
me the fix was in the works.

In fact, the fix was in the works, and within six weeks of my Mother's
Day Sunday uncoupling report, MTL sent me several of the new couplers
for tests on my home loop. That test went successfully. It was the
next test, on an NTRAK layout that perhaps would solidify my faith in
MTL's effort.

I installed couplers on more than half of my MTL/Con-Cor RBBB white
(Blue Unit) cars, put five 89-foot flat cars with heavy loads behind
them, and dragged this one-half scale mile train across the huge
U-shaped layout we set up in our local indoor mall (we have but one)
this weekend. I employed five beautiful late-model production LifeLike
AT&SF E-8/9 locomotives.

I dragged that train on our Red Line, which on this layout contained
multiple back-to-back, long S curves, and on our Yellow Line, which
has tighter-radius curves than the Red Line, anyway. The train had to
run through two180-degree outside corners which followed and preceded
S curves.

The train ran – in my imagination – from Chicago to Los Angeles on our
layout, and it ran without a single mishap. There was no uncoupling,
no vertical separating. The train ran perfectly.

(Come visit us at mtntrak.org. We took still pix and video of my
MTL/Con-Cor RBBB train running on the layout. I hope we can get all
those pix and video up soon.)

Now, I want to clarify something. I had reported the couplers were big
and looked out of scale. I didn't express myself well in that
description. What I was trying to say was the draft gear box is big
and looks out-of-scale. In fact, the couplers are fine and are the
size of other MTL couplers. I beg your forgiveness for this confusion.

Anyway, I'm sure MTL is still working on these couplers, testing and
so on; however, I'm right now very pleased with where I am with MTL
and its product. I enjoyed this weekend immensely. I ran the train
Saturday and Sunday (21 & 22 September), for hours.

I want to thank Joe and Ben for all they have done for me, and I want
to thank them especially for putting up with me, something that is not
always an easy task.

Bottom Line: Joe and Ben said they would fix the problem I was
suffering, and they did it.

Ken"

Regards,

M and K Fan

John

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 05:49:11 AM »
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Nice writeup .. thanks for the report

Glenn Poole

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 07:55:27 AM »
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Yea, Joe's great.   I had the same issue and chose to body mount 1015s.  Solved the problem for me.
Glenn

Denver Road Doug

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 09:05:02 AM »
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Good report.   Makes me wish I still had my set.   :facepalm:  ;)   Can't wait to check out the video.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

ntex

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 12:10:43 PM »
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Micro Trains has available the new couplers for your circus cars.  Here is the link for the webpage. I gave them a call today and they are sending me replacements. Way to go MT!

http://www.micro-trains.com/nr-1310_NewCouplers.php

Steve Fass
Frisco TX

peteski

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 12:20:38 AM »
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MBK has these in stock. The photo on their website shows what has been done to take care of the problem.  They replaced the original short T-shank couplers (which have plenty of vertical play) with a standard coupler and coupler pocket.  The coupler head is still offset, but since the shank is not much longer, it is more stable. These are also most likely made using RDA (reverse draft angle), even though that can 't be determined from the photo.

This is IMO a very clever solution. I just wish now that MT would make a drop-in replacement coupler for Kato, since Kato knuckle couplers stink!

Here is a photo of the new coupler, borrowed from MBK:


For reference, this is the old T-shank coupler:
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 12:27:31 AM by peteski »
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Frisco Larry

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 08:39:53 PM »
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Has anyone else tried these?  I ordered some.  Not totally pleased with them.  They definitely do improve the coupling, but at a price.  The new coupler box being thicker, reduces the range of adjustment compared to the old coupler.  The cars are now way to far apart for me.  I had to cut off the part of the tongue on the truck, which closes off the slotted hole and file the slot further into the truck to restore the adjustment to approximate the old couplers.  If MTL modified the trucks something along the lines of my modifications, it would be nice.

The biggest problem is that the coupler box seems to be very fragile (it snaps together, but apparently not too firmly).  The least little snag or bump (like not quite getting the car into the vacu-form cradle correctly) is enough for it to fly apart.  I have done five cars so far and about half of the couplers fell apart while trying to get the screw into hole in the back end of the coupler.  And it is no fun putting them back together.  I am not sure they will survive transporting to a train show, and a hard coupling to another car may be too much also.

In my view, MTL gets an A for effort, but they are not quite there yet.

peteski

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 10:23:21 PM »
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How about welding the coupler box together with a tip of the soldering iron?
Maybe one weld in the center hole and 4 at the corners?
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Frisco Larry

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Re: MTL Circus Car NTRAK Test
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2013, 04:53:12 PM »
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I would agree that welding the box together would help, just seems like that shouldn't be necessary. 

Forgot to mention, that if the trip pin does not clear the trip pin gauge, lookout! Flying coupler box.