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Model Railway Express

Hints and Tips - Couplers and Couplings

Updated December 26th 2008

The following Hints and Tips were contributed to Model Railway Express Magazine as a service where readers have been invited to submit "things they do" to keeps costs down, techniques they use to build their items and manage their railways in general.

These pages show the Hints and Tips categorised in the order they have been received by MRE mag. I am not promising "perfection" but as of the creation of these pages, these Hints and Tips page are also shown in order on Page 1

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Hints & Tips No.9 – Close coupling

By Brian Macdermott

If Roco close-couplers prove to be ‘too close’ on your layout, here’s a tip. Put a Hornby close-coupler on one coach and a Roco on the adjacent one. This gives a very good compromise.

Hints & Tips No.13 - El Cheapo uncouplers

By Trevor Gibbs

For Hornby uncoupling, rather than buy specialised ramps, and old friend of mine used the covers from shirt boxes cut into strips to fit into the track and given a slight arch. All he did was pin the ramp onto the board through the track and the system works well. I intend to use this for the memorial layout I have built.

Hints & Tips No.28Couplings

By David Chappell

The newer, small Bachmann type couplings are much less obtrusive than the earlier bigger ones. For Dapol wagons (if the modeller doesn’t like the larger style which Dapol use) all one has to do is pull the coupling out (a clip fit) and push in its place the flexible Hornby type. It is the same clip fit. The couplings are sold in packs of 10, code R8099 (I think!)



A SIMPLE WAY TO FIT KADEES TO NON-NEM STOCK David Temple, Barry and Penarth MRC

For most older Bachmann wagons going back to Mainline days, the hook & bar coupling is fixed by a single bolt or self tapping screw. Some Hornby stock is similar. In these cases I use a Kadee No 20, the longest of the type which are made to fit NEM pockets.

However, I drill a small hole into the shank of the Kadee, about where the 20 is embossed on the plastic. I use the original bolt to fix the Kadee in place, usually with a small washer to spread the pressure across the side ribs of the shank. This has thadvantage of not damaging the wagon at all, such that the original hook & bar can be reinstated at any time. One disadvantage is that only the pressure of tightening the screw keeps the coupling centred.

For the short Hornby wagons such as the Thomas Meakins 5 plank coal wagon, it is necessary to clip off the end of the shank (i.e. the bit which fits into the NEM pocket) in order to clear the axle. I have fitted similar truncated No 20s to Hornby Terrier locos as well as L&Y Pugs. It should be possible on several others as well.

I have created a web page on the Barry & Penarth MRC's website to illustrate this idea.

I have not yet got a reliable solution for the former Airfix type couplings, which are found on most Dapol wagons and several Hornby types.

Editors note - This Clubs web page has a few extra hints and tips which readers may find very useful...


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