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Coupler Modification on UK Passenger Coaches

 by John Tribe



I just modified all my J & M Pullman carriages. I'd got fed up taking forever to hook up the British style couplings under the bellows. They didn't always stay hooked up and they allowed too much slop between the carriages. For this mod I used Kadee type 821 couplings and adapted them to use the same 1/8in slot in the carriages so that I can always return the carriages to the as-built configuration. They work beautifully. I left the first and last coupling on my 6 car set as is so the Kadees can't even be seen. I use the remaining hook and coupler to connect to my Aster locos for a prototypical connection.


Here are some photos and a drawing of the mod to the Pullmans. The only materials I used were Kadee #821 couplings and K & S brass products. I didn't solder anything but used Loctite Super Glue for the guide - to fasten item 4 to item 3 and then item 3 to the base of the carriage. The latter can then always be popped loose downstream if necessary. The location for the hole for the split pin was based on how much pre-load you want on the tension spring and what radius of track the carriages are running on. The tighter the radius the greater the required gap between coaches to preclude buffer lock. In addition two of my carriages were manufactured with thicker end sections which also affected this distance.  The range of dimensions are shown in detail #2 (the dimension is not super critical). I had to use a Swiss file on the square carriage hole just a little for a smooth sliding action.



The greater the track radius the more the bellows can be compressed for a better appearance. On my 8 1/2 ft radius track I could use a distance of 0.65 in. with the bellows snug but on Norm Saley's 6 1/2 ft radius they were prone to buffer lock so I had to increase the distance to 0.85 in. with the bellows gap of about 0.2 in. They still looked good and worked well. The Kadee coupling centerline is right at the recommended height of 1 1/16 in. although the dimension is not critical for this application.





Appreciation is expressed to John Tribe for allowing us to post to the Southern Steam Trains website his original article with photographs on Coupler Modification on UK Passenger Coaches.





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