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Old timer cars and couplers

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Old timer cars and couplers
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 3:34 PM

    I have some Rivarossi and Bachmann old timer cars with Kadee compatible couplers. I was wondering what year this style couplers started being used on freight or passenger cars.
    Are there other couplers available which would be more appropriate for these cars? I don't want to use the horn hook couplers which were factory installed.
    Thanks.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 3:48 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe

I was wondering what year this style couplers started being used on freight or passenger cars.

 

The Janney coupler was patented in 1873.  So, shortly after that, I would say.

 


    Are there other couplers available which would be more appropriate for these cars? I don't want to use the horn hook couplers which were factory installed.
    Thanks.
 

Your choice is some sort of knuckle coupler, or link-and-pin.

Link-and-pin couplers are available in HO:

https://www.walthers.com/link-pin-couplers-metal-1-pair

If you go with knuckle couplers, it would be best to go with the smallest heads you can find.  With Kadee, you could go with the "scale" head or maybe the HOn3 couplers.  Sergent would look great if you used their Sharon version.

Someone may make small HO dummy knuckle couplers.

 

Ed

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 5:19 PM

Knuckle couplers were required by 1906.  So there would be a mix of link and pin and knuckle couplers between the 1870's and 1906.  There were several dozen different coupler designs created, not all were compatible.  By the 1890's the Master Car Builders Association had come out with standards for couplers.  William Voss's 1892 treatise "Railway Car Construction" (available on Google Books) showed freight car plans with link and pin couplers.  The plans for passenger cars showed knuckle couplers. Probably most cars had knuckle couplers by the 1900 era.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 10:35 AM

Dave, is 1906 correct?

As far as I know the Railroad Safety Appliance Act was passed in 1893. It required automatic couplers on all cars in interstate commerce by January 1st, 1898. In reality the law took effect in 1903.

The second RSAA of 1903 required all railcars equipped with automatic couplers.
https://web.archive.org/web/20090731183723/http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/safety/rail_safety_program_booklet_v2.pdf

Please correct me if got something wrong.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 10:55 AM

It appears that these rules did not apply to railroads not involved in interstate commerce.  Thus many/most narrow gage, logging and other "freestanding" railroads could continue to use link-and-pin.

I bring this up because of recollections that link-and-pin were still used in later years.  I could, of course, be misrecollecting.

 

Ed

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 11:07 AM

7j43k
It appears that these rules did not apply to railroads not involved in interstate commerce. Thus many/most narrow gage, logging and other "freestanding" railroads could continue to use link-and-pin.

You are right. As I understood the first safety act only applied to interstate traffic.

I think this loophole was closed in 1903 with the second safety act. If there still were excemptions I can't say.
Regards, Volker

Edit: The text in above link states, the law of 1903 made the first Safety Appliance act applicable to all vehicles over highways of interstate commerce within the scope oft he Safety Appliance Act.
I think there were railroads left that didn't fall under this jurisdiction. The Safety Apliance Act of 1908 excepted special classes of cars, e.g. logging cars with coupler height up to 25''.

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 11:16 AM

I went with Kadee 58 scale couplers on my old timer coaches and they have worked out nicely in both looks and operations.  Because of my steep grades (3½%) and using more than 5 cars I have had problems with intermittent uncoupling with the 58.  The 58 works great on level tack with a dozen or more cars.
 
For my longer old time passenger trains I use the Kadee 119 scale shelf couplers and that takes care of the uncoupling problems.  They interchange OK with all of the Kadee couplers.  I use the standard Kadee 148 on my freight and scale 119 on my 72’ passenger cars again because of my grades.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 12:41 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

Dave, is 1906 correct?

As far as I know the Railroad Safety Appliance Act was passed in 1893. It required automatic couplers on all cars in interstate commerce by January 1st, 1898. In reality the law took effect in 1903.

The second RSAA of 1903 required all railcars equipped with automatic couplers.
https://web.archive.org/web/20090731183723/http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/safety/rail_safety_program_booklet_v2.pdf

Please correct me if got something wrong.
Regards, Volker

 

My understanding was that while the act was passed in 1893, it allowed time for the conversion of existing equipment.  I saw in an old Rock Island employee magazine reprint an item that on a certain date in 1907 they would no longer accept in interchange cars not equipped with automatic couplers or air brakes.  

Jeff

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 1:25 PM

Thank you all for the informantion. I plan on using the equipment in the turn of the century era,  on cars in interchange service.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 7:54 PM

There were several extensions and that so 1903 could have been the time for couplers and 1906 for air brakes.

Lots of options for 1900.

Link and pin and no air brakes.

Link and pin and piped for air but no air brakes.

Link and pin and air brakes.

Knuckle coupler and no air brakes.

Knuckle coupler, piped for air but no air brakes.

Knuckle coupler, air brakes.

The SP was bad about installing air pipes on cars without air brakes.  I was looking through some old MCB annual reports and they had summaries of car repair disputes and several of the ones I read were due to the SP putting air pipes on cars (some not their own) and then the car owner being billed for repairs to the pipes, even though the car was stenciled "no air brakes" and the owner had not installed air brakes.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 8:09 PM

I use KD #58 type 'semi-scale" couplers on my 1900-1905 era equipment.  Based on a drawing in Whites's "The American Railroad Freight Car" (get one if you want to model the wooden car era) a knuckle coupler was about 14" wide and 10" high.  About because there were several different designs from different manufacturers.

A KD 58 is about 18" wide and about 12" high (rounded up to the nearest scale inch).  To me that is close enough.  A KD #5 is about 20" wide and 14" high, so is even larger.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 8:55 PM

dehusman
Lots of options for 1900.

To aid in the transition there were some Janney style knuckles that would accept the link and pin of the former coupler system.

 Syracuse-malleable_1899 by Edmund, on Flickr

I can not attest to how widespread the use of this style coupler was but I have seen them on equipment photos of the era.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 03, 2018 9:23 AM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe

    Are there other couplers available which would be more appropriate for these cars? I don't want to use the horn hook couplers which were factory installed.

Just to be clear....Horn-hook couplers, sometimes called "NMRA" or "X2F" couplers, were entirely an invention of model railroading. There never was anything comparable in real railroading.

Stix
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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, May 03, 2018 9:26 AM

wjstix

 

 
Lone Wolf and Santa Fe

    Are there other couplers available which would be more appropriate for these cars? I don't want to use the horn hook couplers which were factory installed.

 

Just to be clear....Horn-hook couplers, sometimes called "NMRA" or "X2F" couplers, were entirely an invention of model railroading. There never was anything comparable in real railroading.

 

Yeah, somebody dropped the ball on THAT one.  A real missed opportunity.

Though I doubt they would have been able to stay with plastic, so the price would have gone up a bit.

 

Ed

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:45 AM

Well to be fair, what they were trying to do was replace the various different manufacturer's couplers with one that every manufacturer could use. Many modellers used various hook-and-loop couplers, some of which kinda looked like something rigged up with bent paper clips.

http://hoseeker.net/mantuainformation/mantuacatalog1953pg05.jpg

If nothing else, the horn-hook couplers recommendation created a standard sized mounting box, which Kadee designed their couplers to fit in.

Stix
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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, May 05, 2018 7:44 AM

And it was not an NMRA "standard", only a low cost alternative when KDs were under patents. Horn hooks on low cost train sets got a lot of us into the hobby...

Simon

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:24 AM

IIRC (increasingly "iffy" as time goes on) the horn-hook / X2F coupler was developed by an NMRA committee looking into creating a standard HO coupler in the 1950's, but indeed it was never formally made an NMRA standard or recommendation.

BTW, although MR did something like this as their April Fool's joke one year, there was a company in the 1980's that developed a plastic HO coupler that would mate with either Kadee or horn-hooks. I still have a few of them in the toolbox.

Stix
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Posted by richg1998 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 2:53 PM

I tried to model 1890 many years ago using Alexander Scale Models link and pin but the couplers I bought were at least S scale and maybe O scale. I think were advertised as HO scale. Huge.

I then figured about 1905. My 1855 Winans Camel was pushing it but the B&O kept one until about 1895 I believe. I have a photo of one they were pulling apart about 1895.

I finally went with Kadee old time couplers. I removed the glad hands.

I lost all my Photo Bucket photos. Too bad.

Rich

N

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 9:56 PM

richg1998

I tried to model 1890 many years ago using Alexander Scale Models link and pin but the couplers I bought were at least S scale and maybe O scale. I think were advertised as HO scale. Huge.

Now THERE'S a niche market:  scale HO link and pin couplers.

I then figured about 1905. My 1855 Winans Camel was pushing it but the B&O kept one until about 1895 I believe. I have a photo of one they were pulling apart about 1895.

I finally went with Kadee old time couplers. I removed the glad hands.

I lost all my Photo Bucket photos. Too bad.

Rich

 

 

Yeah, I'd like to see them.  Like mainline electrics, really early US railroading is extremely interesting to me; but I just don't have the energy to go that way.  But I surely do like to see what others have done.

 

Ed

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Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 4:07 PM

Alexander scale models stopped producing therm many years ago. The pins scaled out at about three feet long and easily lost on the layout.

I sometimes used stright pins cut shorter with links made from brass with car castings from Precisions Scale.

My Winans Camel pusher had a link made from a brass wire that was flattened and a hole drilled in each end to couple to a car.

A Google search might show them.

Prototypical pins were much smaller. Brakeman were known to carry a couple of them with them.

Rich

N

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