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It has been many weeks now that I have tried to source the tension lock couplings, either straight or cranked short type. Apart from some Ebay , profiteering pirates, no one seem to have them in stock. I wonder why it is, that on several occasions, these spares/accesseries disappear into a black hole? Surely with stock bought up by traders and individuals alike, I would have thought that Bachmann would cotton on to the fact there is a constant demand for these products?! Frustrating and annoying that after spending many hours building stock, I can't get the couplings to run them together! Yes I know there are alternatives, three/screw link, Kaydees, even Hornby, but not the ones I want. Come on Bachmann, you can flood the market with many different locos and rolling stock, but important couplings? Illogical!!!!

Right, rant over now. Back to my darkened room to sulk.....................! I suppose I could use a bit of string.......nah!

 

Tod

 

 

 

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Preaching to the choir, Tod!  I think that what probably happens is that Bachmann make them available in cycles, so we are expected to stock up on each type long cranked short cranked long straight short straight, so that there are never full stocks of all types in the shops, which is annoying.  My local shop has long cranked, but I am in need of straight, both long and short, which I have not seen there for over 2 years, and not for several months on line either, and I know the proprietor has had them on order for more than the 2 years.  

 

Looking at it from Bachmann's pov will be a bit bleak; it is not economically viable these days for any company to stock spares, because of the cost of storing them, producing lists of what is available, and managing the storage facility.  Models are produced in production runs of x amount, no more no less, so an order for, let's say, 5.000 21ton minerals will result in 10,000 couplings of whatever configuration being produced, no more, no less, which will of course all be put on the wagons by deft-fingered Chinese ladies in an assembly facility.  They are produced to order to match individual model orders; there is no warehouse full of them in huge bins anywhere.  

 

This is what is known as 'just in time' production, in which the aim is to reduce costs and thus maximise profits (never think you are the customer; that would be the shareholders) by ordering components to be brought to the assembly facility so that they are fully assmebled just as the cardboard arrives for the packing, which is completed just as the container you booked is emptied and brought to the facility.   In turn, this is taken away on the lorry and arrives at Shanghai or wherever just as the booked space on the container ship is about to become free, as the ship needs to be back out at sea to make money.  The Chinese are very good at this complex procedure across a large country with many small almost cottage industry producers producing to a CAD online.

 

Selling packs of 10, enough for 5 vehicles, is something they are probably trying to phase out in the hope that we won't notice and buy new vehicles.  The attitude behind this can be summarised as 'why do you want couplings, what happened to the ones on the vehicle we sold you', which does not allow for fair wear and tear breakages, the loss of the occasional hook, or using Bachmann's couplings on kit or resuscitated older stock. 

 

I find it advisable to standardise on a type and make of coupling, and as I have more Bachmann stuff than from any other manufacturer (not out of brand loyalty, but they are usually a quality product, but because Bachmann happen to make more than anyone else of the stuff I want for my location and period), the standard on Cwmdimbath is Bachmann NEMs.  NEM tension lock couplers are alleged to be standard but in reality there are a variety of shapes, profiles, mounting methods, distances from buffer beams and heights above rail level, and materials used which make standardisation outside one producer's range impossible, and some vehicles are particularly difficult to fit NEM couplings to.

 

An advantage to Bachmann NEMs is that they come complete with the NEM pocket on it's 'waggler' dove tail fitting.  The mounts for these can be got from Parkside, and glue to the underside of the vehicle; a combination of trimming or packing the mounts and the use of Bachmann couplers with pockets means that it is possible using one of the 4 forms of Bachmann NEM couplers to establish a standard bar height above the rail, vital if you need to propel anything or have sharp enough curves to cause 'overrun' buffer locking as you slow your trains down, and a standard distance of the coupling bar from the buffer beam.  I have set mine to a Bachmann 'control' vehicle, a Southern PMV van.  It does not matter if the 'control' vehicle is not set up correctly, but it is vital that all the other vehicles conform to it.

 

Bogie vehicles and locos present different problems, and here you are likely to need straight not cranked couplings, and if they are unavailable you will have to be patient until they are, which is not what you want to hear!  Like you I would like to be able to access all 4 types whenever I need them, and it is surprising how quickly a few kits or modifications to eBay bargains runs your stock down!  Hornby couplings are a different profile and in any case do not come with pockets, which are another thing hard to source.  The answer is to stock up with whatever you can when you can and console yourself that it's a first world problem, but that is, I accept, no help to you in your current predicament and justified frustration.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, SweenyTod1 said:

Thanks for the info, but I was after 36-037, short cranked version and 36-061 short straight version.

 

Tod

36-037 is actually a B4 bogie in the Bachmann catalogue, are you sure you don't mean 36-027 ? If it is the latter you require, they look to be available and your local Bachmann retailer should be able to order them from Bachmann

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Thank you all for your responses. Most informative indeed. I have checked that number Blue Max , it is 027 as you say I was a bit steamed up so an easy typo mistake to make. As it happens I have just enough couplings to complete a current project thankfully, but now no reserve.

Johnster, you covered all the commercial side of things very well, but still very annoying for end users, such as myself and many other modellers . So when they send a  container full of couplings, I hope I can grab a few packs to keep me a happy bunny again. gwrrob, I will pm you.

Thanks again

 

Tod

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As an addicted kit builder I've not been able to buy any Bachmann short (Preferable), or long narrow tension lock couplers since the end of last year. I use loads of them as one may expect from someone with 500+ wagons.

 

My latest kit builds have had their couplers removed from other wagon in my collection. I need to test all new builds for running qualities. Again the Bachmann coupler is my base standard, as previously mentioned I also have more Bachmann wagons than any other make as in fact is the majority of my traction. I do have a few spare hooks due to some wagons being equipped with Kadees for use on specific layouts, but rely on the NEM pockets that are part of the Bachmann package.

 

Are they made by an in-house Kadar company ? If not I wonder if someone can bring in from China themselves.

 

Geoff T.

Edited by Dad-1
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3 hours ago, Dad-1 said:

...Are they made by an in-house Kader company ?...

Pretty certain they will be made from Kader/Bachmann tooling, even if not an in-house production. Dimensionally different from all the other maker's types I have seen so far; even if only slightly so, both coupler and pocket.

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The idea that NEM couplers are standardised and makes are compatible with each other is highly suspect; bar and hook profiles, material, pocket position mounting type all vary considerably and the differences will have an impact on running and coupling reliability .  I have found it advisable to standardise as far as possible on one make so that at least dimensions, fitting, and the way the material behaves under load is predictable, but I am beginning to be sorry I standardised on Bachmanns as poor and unpredictable availability is becoming a serious issue for me.  At the moment I am effectively being denied access to second hand and kit stock because I have run out of suitable couplings.  I can buy a new locomotive to the highest standards with amazing detail and precision, but I can't build a Parkside wagon for it to pull because I can't source couplings; ridiculous, isn't it?  I mean come on, this is basic stuff!  Who knows how long I'll have to wait for short straights or long straights, and when they are available there will be shortage of cranks for several years.  

 

I appreciate that Bachmann have no interest whatever in selling me couplings to put on Parkside kits, but they are not making any friends with this attitude.  They used to be a not very funny joke when it came to lead times, but now the unfunny has transferred itself to couplings.  There is, I contend, a continual and steady demand for all 4 types of coupling which, having established that they need 4 types of coupling for reasons which seem to be due to Bachmann's own errors when they initially began to provide NEM couplings on their stock, apparently, I contend Bachmann have a moral duty to satisfy.  Nobody at Barwell's going to listen to me, though...

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9 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Nobody at Barwell's going to listen to me, though

 

They've heard you and wouldn't necessarily agree with comments about 'attitude', especially when it's respect to a need to supply an item for a different manufacturers product. They were quite happy to advise that they've got all couplings on order and are awaiting delivery.

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9 hours ago, The Johnster said:

...I contend Bachmann have a moral duty to satisfy...

But consider this. Surely all model railway manufacturers should likewise deliver with respect to spares? Yet to the best of my knowledge it is only Bachmann out of the whole tribe of UK RTR OO suppliers that actually make the essential NEM pocket readily available as a retail spare. (That quite possibly makes the demand greater than Bachmann anticipate.)

 

Annoying as the irregular supply may be, it is superior to 'nothing' from elsewhere.

 

There must be NEM pocket supplies from HO-land. Never been to look...

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You may have missed the point adb.

Because some of us more exacting types have standardized on the Bachmann product.

Simply because they tend to be of a more consistent quality.

I saw couplings and their base attachments off some Lima, Mainline, Wrenn, Hornby

and Dapol wagons to set to the highest standard basic tension lock available in the market place. That is in praise of the Bachmann product - But oh how we need some now.

 

Even if I had the money I wouldn't go Kadee, or any other 'specialist' couplings I know

what works for me and my running

 

Geoff T.

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5 hours ago, AY Mod said:

 

They've heard you and wouldn't necessarily agree with comments about 'attitude', especially when it's respect to a need to supply an item for a different manufacturers product. They were quite happy to advise that they've got all couplings on order and are awaiting delivery.

Fair enough, Andy; I let my irritation get the better of me yesterday and was being unfair.  Sorry.   As 34 says, they are due praise for at least providing us with pockets!  I did mention that they have clearly no interest in supplying parts for other manufacturers' products, but I think most of us would be quite happy to pay a purchase price that recognises this and makes it a worthwhile exercise for them.  Who knows, it might even encourage other companies to provide boxes, and maybe even mounts, which would be a much improved situation!  Their wheels end up underneath all sorts and they don't seem to mind that...

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4 hours ago, adb968008 said:

https://railsofsheffield.com/products/13272/Dapol-coup4-oo-gauge-20-pairs-of-couplings
 

cheap at half the price.

 

36 different versions when I did a search on Kernows website plenty of options out there.

 

 

 

 

Those from Rails are not NEM couplings, or even to NEM profile,  Dapol do NEM couplings but the mounts are a different sort, a pocket that has a body that screws to the underside of the vehicle.  The sideways play is pivoted at the screw, and the coupling is frankly an inferior design,  There is little chance of packing or trimming the mount to achieve a standard bar height above the railhead as there is with the Bachmann/Parkside mount combination.  

 

Dad-1's point is valid, though I'm not sure I'd describe myself as 'more exacting.  My back story is that, back in the days when tension lock couplings were truly hideous and massive beasts that kept your stock about a scale 6 feet apart at the buffers so that a train in motion looked like a series of individual wagons in a sort of loose procession, I sawed them off and gave them the opportunity of an exciting new career in the landfill industry, replacing them with 'scale' screw and instanter couplings.  

 

When I came back to the hobby 4 years ago following a 3 decade 'lifestyle hiatus' (divorce), I quickly found that my deteriorating eyesight, hand-eye co-ordination and steadiness of hand meant that I could no longer reliably use these scale couplings in some locations on the layout where this was required,, and that I would have to revert to some sort of proprietary device.  I realised that NEM tension locks, still not the most realistic looking device, were all the same a massive improvement on the t/ls I remembered.  I gave the matter some consideration, and specified that my trains would be capable of being coupled or uncoupled at any position on the layout, like real ones are, and that none of the alternatives looked anything like scale couplings.  Kaydees were considered but rejected on the principle that I really couldn't be *rsed with all those different numbers, and observation of the 'Kaydee Shuffle' inevitably followed by a hand from the sky at shows had never endeared me to them on British outline models.  Spratt and Winkle and similars were rejected as too fiddly to set up; if I could accept that degree of fiddly I'd rather have stayed with scale couplings.

 

British outline models of the steam era and of some time after that used 3-link, Instanter, or Screw Couplings, which are impossible to create in 4mm scale as automatic couplings for either uncoupling or coupling up purposes, though uncoupling with a shunting pole is easier than coupling up.

 

By this time the number of Bachmann products on the layout was increasing, along with one or two Hornby, all with NEM t/ls, and I decided to make Bachmann NEM t/ls my standard.  There followed several months of retrofitting them to older stock and locos and becoming aware, or rather reminded, that tension locks are anything but standard between manufacturers and that it is not easy to establish a standard mounting on British outline stock, which varies between long locomotives and coaches with couplings that have to mount to bogies, and long wheelbase 4 wheelers like the Hornby LNER CCT which has a very non standard coupling mounting to cope with the sideplay.  

 

But I persevered, and have very good running.  Stock remains coupled so long as I correctly examine that the trains are properly coupled in the fiddle yard or before departure when they are made up 'on stage', and can be propelled, hauled, coupled, and uncoupled anywhere on the layout  at any time.  I have a shunting pole which is a piece of bent wire attached to a bent piece of rail attached to an led 3W worklight which is used to uncouple, and the stock will autocouple reliably except on some awkward curves in the fy throat, in which case the shunting pole can come to the rescue.  

 

I am thus absolutely and irrevocably convinced of the value of standardising on one make of coupling on a layout, and of imposing such a standard in the case or club or joint layouts, and of standardising wheels as far as possible as well, at least on rolling stock.  Incidentally the 'reversion' to tension locks has enabled me to use a setrack 4th-3rd radius curved point and some 4th radius setrack curves to enlarge the yard from it's original 4 roads to use scale couplings to 7, and still maintain space between them to get my fingers in.

Edited by The Johnster
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With kits, I've used Bachmann screw on type couplings, both short and long, in the past - 36 025 and 36 026, however in a recent surge of kit building, Cambrian, Parkside, Ratio and Red Panda, I tried a different approacvh, to use an nem coupling with it's greater side to side flexibility. I had to buy three components:

Parkside PA34 nem style mountings

Hornby X6354  nem pockets

Hornby R8219  nem couplings

 

These fit together very solidly, with no up and down play. The Parkside PA34 does come with some of their kits, otherwise that ref number is for 10 mounting blocks. It may be not deep enough, as its designed for Bachmann cranked nem couplings, for some reason, so where necessary I deepen the mounting with plasticard and test until the correct level is obtained. I've checked and all of these are freely available.

The wagons I've fitted these to couple well to earlier ones fitted with the fixed 3 hole Bachmann coupling and the nem style in Bachmann rtr stock.

Edited by rembrow
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The 'depth' of the Parkside dovetail mount can be adjusted as follows:-

 

1) fit the coupling you are going to use, complete with the pocket, into the PA34 mount.

 

2) Using a vehicle on which you know the coupling bar height to be correct for your layout (check it, don't assume), make a bar height gauge (any material that does not expand and contract with temperature will do).  It needs to be long enough to sit across the rails, so more than 16mm for 00, and the height needs to be sufficient to just pass beneath the 'known height' buffer bar without light visible between gauge and bar but without the bar deflective upwards,  Put the gauge somewhere you aren't going to lose it from, not 'somewhere safe', and paint it a bright primary colour.

 

3) Using gum, Tippex, or such. attach the coupling assembly you build at stage 1) in the required position to the floor of the vehicle you are fitting the assembly to, filing off any protrusions that prevent it from sitting level.  It needs to be central, and I sometimes score a mark down the centre line of wagon floors between the drawhooks as a guide, which can be lined up with a similar scratch on the PA34.  The outer edge of the coupling bar needs to be out proud of a line between the centre of the buffers by about 1.5mm; you can get away with less if there are no setrack curves on your layout. 

 

4} Put the wagon on a piece of track and check the bar height against the gauge.  If you are lucky it will be correct.  If not, and it is too low, take the PA34 mount off, remove the pocket and coupling, and cut the top off the PA34; don't worry about the raised bars, they are to engage with reliefs on the bottom of Parkside kits that have these couplings, and not relevant here.  You need to take off an amount of plastic equal to the difference between the actual bar height you've just measured and discovered to be too low, and if you cannot measure this accurately, make small cuts until you are at the correct height.  If the coupling is too high when measured against your gauge, you need to pack it.  Cut a piece of material to shape and trim it to the correct thickness and glue it to the correct position (remember, centre line and so that the coupling ends up with the bar proud of the buffers).  Then, glue the PA34 to the packing piece/shim.

 

5) Attach the pocket dovetail to the PA34, and fit the coupling to the pocket.

 

6) Open a can of beer, you've earned it!

 

PA34s are a very useful piece of kit, and can be used in this way on most rigid framed vehicles, even possibly some small locomotives.  Bogie vehicles are a whole nother ball game; the coupling mounting has to be grafted in the correct position on the outer bogie frame stretcher.  Many currently produced bogies have the pockets moulded in, as do GW 3D printed bogies from Stafford Road Works/Shapeways, but there is no 'waggler' so no side play; bogie movement accounts for the how the coupling behaves.  This had led to some complex arrangements on RTR stock as the need for the coupling to not only have sideplay but also to be extendable on springs to preserve realistic buffers spacing on sharp curvature, and I would doubt that it is within the capacity of an average modeller to replicate this.  In some cases NEM couplings can be grafted on to older mounts, but it's hit and miss, and may lead to buffer locking on sharp curves or reverse curves.

 

Older, s/h, or some Hornby Railroad locomotives are much harder to deal with. Steam locos either have a mount for an older type of coupling cast into the chassis block or, if they have leading or trailing ponies or radial trucks, integrally with the end of the truck.  Diesel or electric locos usually have the coupling mount similarly mounted on the bogies, and multiple units will use similar methods to coaches at the outer ends.  

 

So, it may not be possible to completely standardise couplings on older stock, but it is still worth the best effort you can make.  My practice where I cannot replace couplings on older locomotives is to remove the hook, but in one case I have had to fit an 'overrider' to the bar to prevent it from overlapping and bearing down on NEM bars.  It's metal, so I could have just bent it downwards, but found that the NEM hook was reluctant to engage when I did this.  The large size of the older type of couplings is an advantage in this case as it allows freedom of movement between the NEM hook and the older bar!

 

 

Edited by The Johnster
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47 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Wasn't aware of these, thanks.

 

Cue shortage of Hornby NEM pockets...

Not readily available, as they are treated as a part/spare, hence the 'x' number, Peters Spares seems to have quite a few in stock

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2 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Those from Rails are not NEM couplings, or even to NEM profile,  Dapol do NEM couplings but the mounts are a different sort, a pocket that has a body that screws to the underside of the vehicle.  The sideways play is pivoted at the screw, and the coupling is frankly an inferior design,  There is little chance of packing or trimming the mount to achieve a standard bar height above the railhead as there is with the Bachmann/Parkside mount combination.  

 

Dad-1's point is valid, though I'm not sure I'd describe myself as 'more exacting.  My back story is that, back in the days when tension lock couplings were truly hideous and massive beasts that kept your stock about a scale 6 feet apart at the buffers so that a train in motion looked like a series of individual wagons in a sort of loose procession, I sawed them off and gave them the opportunity of an exciting new career in the landfill industry, replacing them with 'scale' screw and instanter couplings.  

 

When I came back to the hobby 4 years ago following a 3 decade 'lifestyle hiatus' (divorce), I quickly found that my deteriorating eyesight, hand-eye co-ordination and steadiness of hand meant that I could no longer reliably use these scale couplings in some locations on the layout where this was required,, and that I would have to revert to some sort of proprietary device.  I realised that NEM tension locks, still not the most realistic looking device, were all the same a massive improvement on the t/ls I remembered.  I gave the matter some consideration, and specified that my trains would be capable of being coupled or uncoupled at any position on the layout, like real ones are, and that none of the alternatives looked anything like scale couplings.  Kaydees were considered but rejected on the principle that I really couldn't be *rsed with all those different numbers, and observation of the 'Kaydee Shuffle' inevitably followed by a hand from the sky at shows had never endeared me to them on British outline models.  Spratt and Winkle and similars were rejected as too fiddly to set up; if I could accept that degree of fiddly I'd rather have stayed with scale couplings.

 

British outline models of the steam era and of some time after that used 3-link, Instanter, or Screw Couplings, which are impossible to create in 4mm scale as automatic couplings for either uncoupling or coupling up purposes, though uncoupling with a shunting pole is easier than coupling up.

 

By this time the number of Bachmann products on the layout was increasing, along with one or two Hornby, all with NEM t/ls, and I decided to make Bachmann NEM t/ls my standard.  There followed several months of retrofitting them to older stock and locos and becoming aware, or rather reminded, that tension locks are anything but standard between manufacturers and that it is not easy to establish a standard mounting on British outline stock, which varies between long locomotives and coaches with couplings that have to mount to bogies, and long wheelbase 4 wheelers like the Hornby LNER CCT which has a very non standard coupling mounting to cope with the sideplay.  

 

But I persevered, and have very good running.  Stock remains coupled so long as I correctly examine that the trains are properly coupled in the fiddle yard or before departure when they are made up 'on stage', and can be propelled, hauled, coupled, and uncoupled anywhere on the layout  at any time.  I have a shunting pole which is a piece of bent wire attached to a bent piece of rail attached to an led 3W worklight which is used to uncouple, and the stock will autocouple reliably except on some awkward curves in the fy throat, in which case the shunting pole can come to the rescue.  

 

I am thus absolutely and irrevocably convinced of the value of standardising on one make of coupling on a layout, and of imposing such a standard in the case or club or joint layouts, and of standardising wheels as far as possible as well, at least on rolling stock.  Incidentally the 'reversion' to tension locks has enabled me to use a setrack 4th-3rd radius curved point and some 4th radius setrack curves to enlarge the yard from it's original 4 roads to use scale couplings to 7, and still maintain space between them to get my fingers in.


such a long response, it must have taken you ages to write it.

in less than 1 minute, Ive corrected my error to the right url, on the same website...

 

here NEM couplings..

https://railsofsheffield.com/products/20472/Dapol-coupnem00-oo-gauge-nem-couplings-pack-of-40-20pairs-

 

you can trim these in all kinds of ways, Ive used them regularly. The pockets can be cut, redrilled, bent, glued..indeed really useful, especially for the price.

 

you've expressed a lot of words on what you don't want, perhaps you can explain what it is you do want, or even better show us your project, its highly likely someone will have done it before or have a solution.

 

 

Edited by adb968008
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As you realise, I rather like writing long screeds; they are not much bother to me as I can rattle along at between 70 or 80 words per minute.  Almost as fast as I can read them!

 

I wlll thank you for the link to the Dapol couplins, which I believe come with pockets but do not have the dovetail fitting mount, which I find more adaptable.  They also don't have 'wagglers, so side play is a bit restricted on any vehicle longer than a 10' wheelbase.  It might be worth me investing in a pack to see if the screw fit Dapol mount can be adapted to situations where the Parkside one cannot be easily used, though.   I've already written about what I think's wrong with them, but can summarise that it's because they are Dapol, based on experience.  A set of these on a Dapol Fruit D were the worst performing couplings I have ever come across.

 

Brief enough for you!

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On 24/08/2020 at 17:55, The Johnster said:

 

 

This is what is known as 'just in time' production, in which the aim is to reduce costs and thus maximise profits (never think you are the customer; that would be the shareholders) by ordering components to be brought to the assembly facility so that they are fully assmebled just as the cardboard arrives for the packing, which is completed just as the container you booked is emptied and brought to the facility.   In turn, this is taken away on the lorry and arrives at Shanghai or wherever just as the booked space on the container ship is about to become free, as the ship needs to be back out at sea to make money.  The Chinese are very good at this complex procedure across a large country with many small almost cottage industry producers producing to a CAD online.

 

 


Models are batch production manufactured not ‘just in time’. That’s why we see images from producers of  large numbers of bodies etc in the same colours sitting on shelves waiting for a second colour etc etc. 

 

If it were JIT the stream and subsequent builds of other products would be affected by something like motors not arriving on time.

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I think The Johnster and myself have settled on the same standard, for the logical reason.

Couplers are a nightmare, the appearance of a standard NEM snap in hook is totally imaginary.

I've recently been sorting through an inheritance of 'stuff' going back to the early 1950's and the

variations amazed me

I want secure draw, secure reversing of up to 40 wagons at a time and easy uncoupling anywhere on my

layouts.

 

If anyone is interested my Bachmann BRASS hooks are given a sliver of magnetic steel superglued along the top of my hooks. This enables me to uncouple easily, much easier than any hook, or small spade on the end of a hook.

My slivers of metal amount to 1/4 of a No.56 paper staple, I get 4 out of each staple, the two legs with 2 made from the bridge piece. These slivers lifted by a 3 mm Dia by 3 mm thick neo magnet mounted in a 'shunters pole' has enough pull to lift couplings but NOT lift even the lightest of wagons. What you need to remember is to ease the train so the hooks return does not restrict the lift.

 

Although done in a rather hurried manner I have a 7 minute video on youtube the address of which I will try and add later.

 

 

 

Geoff T

Edited by Dad-1
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