Re: Couplers ...


William Keene <wakeene@...>
 

Jim,

I concur with your thoughts that any new couple should be have coupling
capability with what is considered the norm or standard in operation.
But, I am not so sure that the market works this way. History has a
different story to tell.

When the 5s first were introduced, a then much younger me, managed to
talk my father into a trip 50 or so miles down the highway to Tulsa for
the single reason of purchasing a few pairs for a try. At that time, my
layout was populated with various versions of the X2F coupler. And the
thought of converting the entire fleet of freight cars was
mind-boggling.

The 5s soon became my standard coupler and over time, and it was not
that long, most, but not all, of the fleet was converted. There were
those cars that were believed to be just too toy-like or just not that
good of models to warrant the time, money, and effort of conversion.
Some of these are still in a box out in the garage.

So when the thought of converting to something as great looking, and as
prototypically operational, as the Sergent coupler came up, it was a no
brainer. Convert I will. Granted, I now have a layout on which a total
of two dozen cars will fill every need for operation. And even then
only about half of these would actually be on the layout at one time,
so conversion is not the issue it would be if there were several
hundred cars lined up at the RIP track.

Most of us did convert relatively quickly to the 5s when they became
available. And there was no compatibility with the X2F at all. What
there was was a better coupler. That was enough. Yes, I can think of
"improvements" to the Sergent, and I am still wondering about use on
passenger cars with diaphrams, but as none of the passenger
accommodations on my layout had diaphrams this is most likely a
non-issue. The lack of my personal "improvements" is not enough to stop
the conversion.

While the Sergent is not perfect, it does look real good. And from what
I have been reading in this thread, it appears to operate well. What it
does not have is the big pin thingy. That is the big selling point to
me along with the prototypical operation. I am looking forward to
having some in-hand and into operation soon.

Back to the original theme... we will convert when we see there is
value in the use of the product. We did this many years ago and we will
do it again.

Just my two cents worth. Thanks for reading.

--- Bill Keene
Irvine, CA


On Oct 11, 2005, at 7:09 AM, Jim Betz wrote:

  There are several aspects of couplers and most of these have
been discussed in the previous posts:

    Appearance, coupling distance, reliability, size, size of draft
    gear box, whether or not they have a magnetic pin, how strong
    they are, how well the train stays together during operation, etc.

  If my memory serves me correctly in the following of this thread
no one has mentioned the topic of "interoperability".  If you are
building a contest/shelf model you don't care.  If you have a layout
where all the freight cars are "controlled" and you -can- all have
the same couplers on them then you don't care.  If you don't do
any ... or very much ... switching then you don't care as much.  But
if you are talking about a layout that has lots of different guys
bringing their equipment to operate then you care - a LOT.
  On layouts where lots of people are contributing the current
"standard" coupler is the Kadee #5.  Simply because that is what is
on most of the cars in most of the train cases.  Not necessarily what
we might like to admit but it is "the truth".

  So my point is that if a new coupler is going to be accepted ...
rapidly ... it needs to operate well with the #5.

  And, regrettably, none of the "better" couplers we have out now
operates as well with the #5 as they should.  That's probably due to
a design aspect of the #5 (that little 'lip' on the very end of the
face?).  But the bottom line is that if a new coupler doesn't play
well with the existing #5 then its acceptance is going to be slower
than it would if it did - considerably.

  BTW - the #58s and #78s don't seem to couple and uncouple with
each other as well as the number 5's do either!  They're "acceptable"
but they aren't as reliable as the #5's when using an uncoupling
ramp -and- they take quite a bit longer to uncouple using a pick.

      - Jim ... dreaming of an HO car with operational cut levers
                that 'interfaces' with the #5 ... I've always been
                a -big- dreamer ... but I still have a large supply
                of #5s and continue to install them on all but a
                few cars.


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