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Thread: Why does Australia have a different train coupling system than America?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MP242 View Post
    An acquaintance of mine is a carpenter, he runs a table saw a lot, the nickname we refer to him as: "Fingerless Bill", he is about as bright as a Box "O" Rocks, never uses a "pusher stick" around revolving table saw blades. I myself, got myself out of the RR, before I got seriously kilt' ! I have met many a 9 finger employees who "got it" from goosing the knuckle pin, and a one arm hump tower operator who "got it" from pushing a boxcar plug door closed, and the dang thing fell off the sliding door track.
    I was formerly an automobile mechanic by trade and a fleet truck mechanic in the army.
    I witnessed a small-engine-power-equipment mechanic in the army severe a couple fingers working
    near a running diesel power generator set in the shop. That treacherous exposed cooling fan!

    An army surgeon successfully reattached his fingers. I had the morbid task of searching for his fingers on the
    generator set right after a sergeant in a Humvee drove him to the hospital on post. It turned out his two fingers
    were still hung onto his hand by their skin and the loose fingers were cupped under his hand to hold them in place.
    I believe the soldier was discharged sometime after the hand operation for medical reasons. I don't know if he ever
    regained full use of those mended digits.The complex nerves and tendons.

    I'm so lucky to still have all ten fingers intact, both eyes that see, both ears that hear and all ten knuckles which aren't "literally" busted.

    Grease monkeys were reputed to "bust their knuckles" in their trade.

    A careful locomotive engineer doesn't bust his train's knuckles on steep grades.
    Last edited by JonMyrlennBailey; February 16th, 2020 at 12:52 AM.
    TANE SP2 Build 90945, downloaded Dec. 2017, TS12 Build 61388, downloaded Feb. 2018, American citizen, Lawton, OK

  2. #17
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    While we are on fingers etc......
    Had a butcher mate that lost a digit (a lot of butchers do I suppose) ….well after that he got the nickname "9 pin bowling". And he is still a butcher.
    butler57

  3. #18
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    The Victorian Railways adopted the American Westinghouse brake from 1884 then the American auto couplers from mid 1920's, in 1925 the American Car Foundry built two flat wagons for the Victorian Railways "known as S class flat wagon and I've got them on the DLS" and came with auto couplers, from then some Steam locomotives "C & K Class" where converted including new ones built "N, X and H Class" fitted auto couplers, wasn't until 1950 the auto coupler became a standard with most steam locomotives that where not converted scrapped and rollingstock that could not be converted where also scrapped, old Electric trains kept the screwlinks while new ones built like the "Harris sets built in 1956 (I've got a set on Victrainz)" where auto couplers.

    so it's to do with the time period that has the difference with the trainz ones, that's why Billegulla's are auto coupler and Zec's are screwlink, two different time periods.

    Cheers.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KotangaGirl View Post
    Where I live we would call that the 'right' side of the road, as in the 'correct' side of the road. But let's not start a flame war over that.

    With the Uk system of two buffers and a chain and hook the forces on the buffers and the forces affecting the couplings are kept separate. Remember this system was devised in the early days of the railways when techniques for make good quality iron and steel are not as they are now. It seems to me that the Janey coupling by combining buffing and coupling together with automatically moving parts is very much dependent on being made from high quality steel forgings if it's not going to break in service.
    My grandad and uncles worked on the railways and I can certainly appreciate that a coupling that works without anybody having to step between railway wagons to hook anything up is going to be a whole lot safer.

    No one has mentioned the 'Norwegian' coupling which is what we used here in New Zealand for a very long time. I travelled to school by train when I was a lot younger than I am now and watching wagons being shunted in the goods yard was a highlight of waiting for the train each morning and evening.

    That's a very curious arrangement! Looks like the wagons have to all be A-end forward. Though there is what looks like a transverse hole in the B-end coupling, you could fit a hook in that. The glad hand air coupling is what we use in this hemisphere. Is it customary to couple both sets of safety chains? A body would have to climb or crawl over...

    :B~)

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KotangaGirl View Post
    No one has mentioned the 'Norwegian' coupling which is what we used here in New Zealand for a very long time. I travelled to school by train when I was a lot younger than I am now and watching wagons being shunted in the goods yard was a highlight of waiting for the train each morning and evening.
    Good old Chopper couplers!

    These got a bit of use in Australia as well, from memory the South Australian Railways narrow gauge system used them till the garratts came along. And the Victorian Railways' 2ft6in system also used them, again till the garratts came along in the 1920s (the VR actually used the 2ft6in system to test automatic/knuckle couplers, before adopting them on the broad gauge!).

    For screwlink/chain couplers with buffers, a big part of their usage in Australia came from the early locomotives and rolling stock originating in the UK. This lead to the adoption of many UK practices in the early days, with a few changes to suit local conditions as we learned lessons during operation. But the screwlink couplers persisted till quite late in some areas (Tasmania I think still had screwlink wagons in use into the 80s or 90s?).

    The transition from buffers to entirely auto couplers on the VR in the 1950s actually bought forward some interesting information here. It should be noted that from about 1926 onward, the VR's auto coupler conversions were primarily 'transition' conversions (a 3link/chain coupler was fixed to the top of the auto coupler, so it could couple to both autos and hooks; with buffers permanently mounted to the wagon). This meant that even when using auto couplers, the buffing forces were taken up by the buffers themselves. Buffers were removed during the 1950s from all regular service wagons (the latest I've seen is about 1958 in photos from memory!).

    So, when buffers were removed, a change was noted by guards in the vans at the back of trains...

    On a train using all transition, or screwlink, vehicles (ie everything has buffers fitted) there was minimal slack action through the train. The buffers took up the 'compression' movement, so you only had the 'expansion' movement taken up by the auto couplers.

    On a train fitted with just auto couplers, without buffers, the slack action increased by a fair bit since the compression movement was now taken up by the auto couplers, which had a lot more movement.

    In the end the solution was to provide extra travel/cushioning on the auto couplers on guards vans.

    So for advantages/disadvantages, there's a few...

    Auto couplers are safer, for the most part, and can handle much heavier trains. But they have a greater issue with slack action at the rear of the train. They are much much faster to couple/uncouple.

    Screwlink with buffers is a bit more dangerous if treated inappropriately (basically, don't get between moving vehicles with buffers; but the same is said for autos as well really!), but the bigger drawback is that they take time to couple/uncouple, and can't handle the train lengths. But they provide much smoother operations.

    3-link with buffers though is a different matter. All the drawbacks of the screwlinks, as above, but they are a 'loose chain' so still have slack action in them! But they're cheap, and actually quicker to couple/uncouple (no need to wind/unwind the screw portion). Also very good for freight trains that run as a 'block' train where coupling/uncoupling isn't as important.

    Regards
    Zec Murphy

    Customer Support Rep
    N3V Games (Auran)

    *Please do not use Private Messages for support. Support can only be provided via the helpdesk, or via the forums.

  6. #21
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    Re chopper couplings, I mentioned it in my earlier post that a number of Australian systems used them, as Zec also noted above: the South Australian Railways and Commonwealth Railways narrow gauge networks used it as standard as Zec stated above in excellent detail, as well as the Western Australian Government Railways from about 1893 - interestingly the then infant WAGR only adopted it after acquiring three NZR S class Single Fairlie locomotives and a selection of rollingstock second hand from New Zealand in the early 1890s under General Manager of Railways C.Y. O'connor who had migrated to WA from New Zealand (and who later left the WAGR and went onto much bigger things). An irony to this is a hundred years later the WAGR's modern sucessor Westrail sold their fleet of ADK/ADB and ADL/ADC class diesel hydraulic railcars to the NZR in 1993 for Auckland suburban service, which had chopper couplings too!

    The Fairlies only lasted in WAGR service for a decade as the I class, but the chopper couplings were found to be much superior to the strange single buffer and link coupings the WAGR originally used, and it became their 'standard' coupling on Western Australia's narrow gauge lines for the next seventy or so years, with the not just the WAGR but the private Midland Railway Company of WA and the various timber railways of the state also adopting it too, thus allowing rolling stock to be easily interchanged between different systems. From the mid 1960s the WAGR finally introduced knuckle couplings to the narrow gauge network as part of the introduction of long, heavy, diesel-hauled block mineral trains (helped also by the Standardisation project featuring gauge convertable rolling stock as well).

    From my understand chopper couplings were only ever used on narrow gauge lines strangely, and originated in Norway. I have no idea why they were never used on wider gauge, but the general larger sizes of standard and broad gauge rollingstock probably required drawgear with far greater strength and reliablity, something that engineers probably considered beyond the capabilities of chopper couplings.
    Last edited by Enkidoh; February 17th, 2020 at 01:26 AM.

  7. #22
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    Posts #20 #21. Both posts are very much worthy of going into a Wiki. Excellent information and really great explanations of almost everything you might want to know about couplings.
    Narcolepsy is not napping.



  8. #23
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    US couples, 1830 link-and-pin first used, 1868 Janney coupler patented but by 1884 800,000 cars had link-and-pin. This was a mess as the pins came in all sizes and shapes. In 1884 a committee was set up to look at the 5,000 or so patented couplers and tested 42 of them, the Janney won but other makers could use the contour, this lead to each railroad needing to have parts for 80 some types. 1918 the M.C.B.A.(Master Car Builders' Association) came out with a standard Type D.

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