Re: Coupler/Bolster 'Standards'/RPs and the NMRA

Doug Brown <g.brown1@...>

We all have to look at this objectively. A standards body is useful mostly
for fine tuning details. Typically several vendors introduce something new
with differing designs. In some cases the customer decides the standard with
their checkbook. VHS comes to mind. I other cases vendor experts meet as a
standard committee to determine the outcome. Most standards are the result
of fine tuning a vendor's de facto standard. Standards only work when the
vendors see more gain from working together than from fighting each other;
or when a powerful interest (government, a major customer, etc.) forces it
upon them.

In the early years of the NMRA none of the model vendors were large. NMRA
standards were welcomed because they made each vendor's products more
valuable when they worked together. While they were not perfect for today,
they enabled vendors to succeed better.

The X2f committee could not come up with the perfect solution. The vendors
adopted as a de facto standard because it met their need of something that
would work interoperable with other products. It did not meet many modelers'
needs. But how many modelers did not buy a model because it did have X2f
couplers? Far fewer than those who bought them because they did!

P87 and P48 are effective because they are not trying to make everyone do
things their way. Standards that benefit only a subset of consumers are
fine, but they must be applicable only those who benefit from them.

Doug Brown

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 2:09 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Coupler/Bolster 'Standards'/RPs and the NMRA

Paul - The "NMRA coupler" was never adopted as a standard by the NMRA.
Designed by Paul Mallery, it functioned well and was cheap to make at a time
when there were real problems with interchange between manufacturers' kits.
However, at just about the same time Kadee came out with their product which
became the de facto standard - exept that it was costly and not sold to
other manufacturers. The horn hook coupler was instrumental in bringing HO
scale to the forefront of the hobby. - Al
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul
To: STMFC@yahoogroups. <> com
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 11:46 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Coupler/Bolster 'Standards'/RPs and the NMRA


You have to be careful of what you ask for. You are just liable to get the
"X2F" NMRA Coupler back.

Paul C. Koehler


From: STMFC@yahoogroups. <> com
[mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups. <> com] On Behalf
Of Jim
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 9:02 AM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups. <> com
Subject: [STMFC] Coupler/Bolster 'Standards'/RPs and the NMRA


There is one thing that we could do that would really help all of
us - both the MS and LS modelers amongst us.

If we would all lobby the NMRA to produce two new standards/recommended
practices we can make a lot of this stuff a lot easier.

Specifically, if the NMRA would specify a size and placement for the
bolster and mounting -pad- for the truck mounts and coupler mounts that is
relative to the top of the track and nothing else. Then any manufacturer's
truck or coupler box would be a drop in replacement for any other
I will not address other scales, but in HO scale it would be easy to
specify that the trucks and coupler boxes will be mounted with a single
2-56 screw thru a flat level place that is a specific distance from the
top of the track. I am also certain that the same thing can be done
in other scales ... I just don't know what size screw to recommend.
I'm not focused on the specific size of the screw - I just picked 2-56
because it works for HO from my perspective.
Please note that I am specifically not recommending that the NMRA
specify stuff like the size and shape of the coupler box itself - only
the size and shape of the place on the car that it mounts to and the
size screw that will go thru it.

If all cars were built to this spec/RP then changing out any brand
coupler or truck with any other would be a snap - and the NMRA would
also get itself out of the way of the manufacturers in terms of saying
any thing about the shape and design of the couplers and trucks.
Yes, this would mean that the bolsters of some trucks might not
be 100% prototypical in terms of size and shape - but all of that
would be way up underneath the car where it doesn't matter and the
stuff that you can see when the car is finished and on the track
would be able to be as prototypically correct as the maker of the
truck or coupler wants to make them.

I call this "The level playing field RPs". *G* - Jim in San Jose

P.S. Yes, I've sent this in to the NMRA. No, I didn't ever receive
anything other than an acknowledgement of the receipt of the

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