Author Topic: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers  (Read 1434 times)

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Atlanticflier

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Do we spend dollars on unneeded items? What about operating knuckle couplers on unit train type cars, such as Coal hopper cars, and double stack well cars. Do the majority of modelers really switch out these types of trains in operations?, and need operating knuckle couplers, or do we just need non-operating knuckle couplers, and then we can add the few operating couplers, as we need them?

From a practical point of view, do we pay for something (operating couplers) that we don't use?, please vote your opinion. :)

randgust

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 08:23:00 AM »
+1
When I did my unit train, it was all Roundhouse (MDC, or now Athearn) hoppers with crappy trucks and Rapido couplers.  So they all got replaced with MT roller bearing trucks with couplers.

So it's not just couplers, it's the wheels, and whether or not they are any good.  You can't have a unit-train length anything without really good wheels under there.    The other thing is keeping the couplers in perfect vertical alignment as if you're running a train that length to prevent false uncoupling, the MT couplers with RDA will break the head off before they separate now.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 10:25:19 AM »
+1
Keep in mind that, unless they currently have non-operating couplers developed, the development cost of those couplers would have to be included in the price of any cars with them.

So, even if you might not use the feature, I'm not sure how much of a cost savings you'd see.

RBrodzinsky

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 10:30:21 AM »
+1
When setting up unit trains at shows, it is a PITA if there are not operating couplers.
Rick Brodzinsky
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Maletrain

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 10:46:18 AM »
0
Mixed thoughts on this one.

If I buy old cars intended for a unit train that I won't switch on my own layout, I tend to replace Rapidos with dummy knuckle couplers, and replace the wheels to make them roll freely.  If I get a car with operating knuckle couplers that are not MTL, and I don't want to uncouple them magnetically, I just leave them alone unless and until they cause me problems, and then I replace them with MTL couplers, usually with MTL trucks, too, when the couplers are truck-mounted. However, I am intending to experiment with body mounted MTL Z scale 905s, and might eventually change everything that I intend to actively switch to those.

peteski

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 03:54:59 PM »
0
As others have said, no need to reinvent the wheel - there are already multiple versions of non-operating coupler out there in the market.

Also, I don't think that a type of a coupler installed during manufacturing would make a large difference in the price of a model.  You know, it still takes manpower and materials to manufacture an install a non-operating coupler.  Even if there was a price difference of a $1 per coupler (I think it would be much less, maybe 25 cents or less), and average price of a freight car is $22 then the price for non-operating coupler model would be $20.  But as I said, the actual price difference would very likely be much less.  More realistically it would be $22 with operating and $21.50 with a non-operating.  I wonder if your opinion is based on the prices manufacturers (like MTL) charge for their individually-sold couplers? That price is much higher than what it costs to install those same couplers at the factory.

This all assumes that your definition of non-operaintg means that the coupler can couple by ramming the cars together, but uncoupling can only be done by lifting one car off the track.
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Maletrain

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 05:19:53 PM »
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One wheel that does not seem to have been "invented" yet in N scale is a static scale model of a real knuckle coupler that can mate with its brothers.  The True Scales are close, but not realistic looking, while the Goemons are more realistic looking, but I don't think they are scale.  For a unit train, I wouldn't mind scale couplers that don't couple or uncouple by magnets or pushes or whatever, so long as they actually mated with each other.  Those should be really cheap to produce and install, especially compared to those little devil MTL parts.

nkalanaga

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 03:14:26 AM »
+1
If you want a scale dummy coupler, it would be VERY easy to mass-produce, and could be made to fit a 1015/Accumate/McHenry or 1025 coupler box, since the mounting screw on both is the same distance from the car end.  All it would be is a one-piece casting with the coupler on one end and a hole for the pivot post on the other.  Make the shank around the hole the thickness of the original working coupler, and all of the visible portions to scale.

It also has the advantage that the modeler could save the original coupler, and, if desired, reinstall it at any time.
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 03:36:01 AM »
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One wheel that does not seem to have been "invented" yet in N scale is a static scale model of a real knuckle coupler that can mate with its brothers.  The True Scales are close, but not realistic looking, while the Goemons are more realistic looking, but I don't think they are scale.  For a unit train, I wouldn't mind scale couplers that don't couple or uncouple by magnets or pushes or whatever, so long as they actually mated with each other.  Those should be really cheap to produce and install, especially compared to those little devil MTL parts.

You want a true scale and appearance coupler to mate with all the other (oversize) N scale knuckle couplers?  How can that be done? As I see it, that is physically impossible, due to the difference in shape and size.
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Maletrain

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 10:09:20 AM »
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You want a true scale and appearance coupler to mate with all the other (oversize) N scale knuckle couplers?  How can that be done? As I see it, that is physically impossible, due to the difference in shape and size.

You misunderstand, Peteski.  I just want the dummy scale couplers to mate with each other and function well enough that cars can go around curves without being derailed.  There are already some scale models of prototype couplers, but, those are not designed to fit together to actually pull a train.  They are intended to look good on the ends of trains (locomotive pilots, cabooses, observation cars, etc.).  Typically, those models (some plastic, some pewter) don't actually mate with each other (when lifting one and trying to slide it down into the other).  So, I can't really join cars with them.  The problem is that the knuckles and the spaces behind them are  not designed to mate on those static models.  And, just being able to slide into each other in the vertical direction may or may not be sufficient to let them work properly to pull trains.  In functional model couplers, there is some slop in the fit between them that allows them to swing a bit to make an angle between the coupler shanks.  The dummy scale couplers would propbably not allow anywhere near as much swing, unless the space inside the knuckles was slightly enlarged.  That might make a pair or those couplers act more like a rigid draw bar when going around curves, which might be an issue on the unprototypically tight curves we necessarily use on our layouts (and that includes even 72" radius in N scale mainlines).  So, the coupler shank probably needs to be able to swing a lot in its draft gear box to make this work.

nkalanaga

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 01:52:33 PM »
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A 72 inch radius curve in N scale is equal to a 6 degree curve on the prototype, so shouldn't be a problem, even for drawbars.  Ten degree mainline curves are considered sharp, but unit trains run around them all the time.
N Kalanaga
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southernman

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 02:32:14 PM »
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Can I vote for both lol? My only unit train is a couple (see what I did there?) sets of Fox Valley silversides coal gons that never get switched.The couplers that they came with had a tendency to uncouple during operation. This has been documented and there was even an article in one of the N scale magazines on how to correct this. While that solution seemed as if it would work fine the process seemed tedious so I tried something else.My solution was to add a dab of Woodland Scenics scenic cement to the bottom of the trip pin where it goes into the coupler. This is invisible from normal viewing angles and the cement flexes ever so slightly allowing for easy coupling.  Everything now works as it should with the exception of magnetic uncoupling which was  never a factor for me anyway.

Bob Horn

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 08:30:59 PM »
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I nave 37 E&C hoppers with MT trucks and Accumate couplers. they were converted many years ago for a layout with a down grade and curve the MT couplers did not like. They run fine now, no grades on layout. Bob.

prbharris

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 03:43:58 AM »
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Do we spend dollars on unneeded items? What about operating knuckle couplers on unit train type cars, such as ... double stack well cars.

As someone who does not have an operating home based layout, I am unsure about how useful unit train consist are. However, in order to reduce costs [of four couplers] for the 3-car drawbarred 53' NWF33 double stack cars we have developed an etched drawbar. It will be interesting to see how this goes, when the consist [of three drawbarred 53' cars] is launched later this year.

For the welded rail train - that needs a continuous length of consist of at least 40" to look anything like a prototypical train with the length of welded rail snaking round the rails - drawbarring is essential. Given the number of lengths of rail that we have sold, it seems that folk are overcoming this difficulty, but they may not transport their cars but leave them permanently on their layout. I can transport mine to UK shows in the very long [60"]  poster tube, where it lives most of the time [without any rail in the tube, it lies on the cardboard nicely], securely and safely!

Peter

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Dirk Jan Blikkendaal

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Re: Unit Train coupler Type Poll - with or without operating couplers
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 11:02:33 AM »
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I agree with the second reply from Peteski and would like to add the main reason for me to apply "dummy" couplers (MTL True Scale): the more prototype short coupling, the appearance of the knuckle plus the added air brake line.
I did so with very satisfactory results on quite a few cars/trains which are almost never uncoupled on my layout. And simply reused or resold the removed operating couplers. There is one slight disadvantage when using the MTL True Scale couplers...... there is no slack whatsoever in them so all cars need to get moving at the same time  which on long trains can be a bit more difficult. 
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