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19659 Views 36 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  oscar
Can anyone provide pics or links to a site that show pics of all or most of the couplings available to "N" gauge?
Also can all rolling stock be converted from one type to another or are there some that are impossible to change?
Considering I will mostly be shunting, easy positive uncoupling & recoupling is paramount. I know there has been many posts on coupling before, but I am still confused comparing one type against another!
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[quote name='spottydog' date='3 Mar 2009, 08:19' post='81492']
Can anyone provide pics or links to a site that show pics of all or most of the couplings available to "N" gauge?

After more research I have found a site that answers my own question.

That article is a good summary but being American-based does't give the full picture regarding UK stock. I've researched this a bit but have yet to start changing couiplings, the situation as I understand it (and my understanding is not always perfect!) is as follows:

MicroTrains couplers can be fitted to the Farish stock that has the old-style coupling box. There are also Kato and Accumate knuckle couplers that fit in the same boxes, but these do not uncouple automatically so really only suitable for intermediate vehicles in fixed rakes (but they are cheaper and easier to fit). M G Sharp sells Microtrains and Kato but the Accumates are not available in the UK, which is unfortunate as these give closer coupling than the Katos.

However no MicroTrains product is available for the more recent Farish and Dapol releases which have NEM pockets. Dapol do a knuckle coupler but again it does not work automatically - I think it will just about couple to the other versions but the height is a bit different. I understand MicroTrains are considering a NEM version but haven't committed to producing one. Unless this happens there is no single solution for unrestricted coupling of NEM and non-NEM versions.

Tomix does some Scharfenberg couplers with mountings that increase separation on curves, but the mechanism appears too big to fit on UK bogie stock. These don't work automatically either, and judging by the force they need you'd probably have to take both vehicles off the track and pull apart or push together by hand. They also do a knuckle coupler with the same mechanism but I've never tracked down any info on what it will couple to.
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If using microtrains couplers try replacing the whole truck/ bogie long as you dont mind the sideframes looking a little different ...... it is a way to have microtrains without the headaches of converting the NEM type.
Hi Edwin
It would appear that there is no EASY solution for auto uncoupling in "N" gauge, although the article does mention that Microtrains are ok and I do fancy them really as in "OO" they appear to work a treat.

HI Upnick
What do you mean..... Replacing the Truck/bogie.....I don't understand, do you mean fitting a new bottom half to each wagon?

Yes I agree that MicroTrains looks the best but is not a universal solution in N. That's why I'm soldiering on with Rapidos hoping to hear MT will definitely do a NEM version.

Hadn't thought of replacing the trucks/bogies, I must look into whether any of the MicroTrains ones resemble those on my bogie wagons. Not so easy on four-wheel wagons or locos though...
Hi Spottydog,

Microtrains make whole truck assemblies.......... you can remove the retaining pin on for example a coach and replace with the assembly in minutes.

Many different type trucks are shown on this link.
Hi Spottydog.

The N Gauge Society Shop sells at least 3 alternatives to the ubiquitous Microtrains (Kadee) couplers and, although I had just about settled on the DG Couplers from Model Signal Engineering, I have been carrying out trial assemblies of them.

I have tried MBMs, MBDs and B&Bs (don't ask me what all the initials stand for. I haven't a clue) The MBM is a simple hook and catch coupler without any autouncoupling facility whereas the other 2 are both variations on the D&G theme. i.e they are all made up from brass frets and require the attachment of some ferrous wire in order to provide the magnetic coupling/uncoupling function. The difference between these and the D&G is that they, theoretically, do not require any soldering. However, without soldering they rely on a mechanical grip between the brass and the fine ferrous wire. Of the 3 I think the B&Bs, which are incidentally ready blackened, come closest in terms of both loooks and functionality. They are all, however, extremely fiddly to put together with a lot of pushing and pulling to get the pre-formed brass loop installed. I can put together a D&G coupler, including the soldered connections, in about 5 minutes but the assembly times for the others I tried varied between 10 minutes and half an hour.

OK so that would probably improve over the learning curve but I would always have a niggling doubt about the reliability of the connection between brass and steel and have therefore decided to carry on using the D&Gs which, with the soldered connection, will give me peace of mind that the bit of steel wire won't come detached at the most inopportune moment.
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Following my post above, the couplings that fit within Farish coupler boxes are Unimates not Accumates. They are manufactured by Red Caboose and Model Junction stocks them in the UK - or at least they did until I cleared them out. These are good for close coupling within rakes but don't have any auto-uncoupling. I intend to experiment to see if they are any less likely than the Rapidos to uncouple spontaneously - usually near the front of a long goods train as it is nearing the top of a gradient.
Thanks for your imput guys

When I started this project last year I really didn't think it would be so complicated! I mean how hard can it be to devise a coupler for "N" gauge that actually works. I find it difficult to believe that if these manufacturers can produce it in "OO" why not in this day and age, and with its growing popularity of "N" why it can't be reproduced only smaller.
It reminds me of the story of the American drill bit manufacturer who produced the Worlds SMALLEST drill bit and presumably just to show off sent it to one of their rivals in Japan. Weeks later they received a parcel back from them and inside was the drill bit they had sent weeks earlier. It wasn't until they looked at it under a microscope that they saw a hole drilled right through the shaft of the drill bit. Touchee!!!
So what I'm saying is surely its possible for these manufacturers to do it if we shout a bit louder. On the other hand I might have to sit down and design one myself.
Mmm very interesting!

Just going through this little problem myself.
My next layout will have a shunting yard area, so I will need to have a play about with the couplings.

I've test fitted some spratt&winkle couplings to a couple of wagons, and they do actually seem to work quite well.
I do like the idea of the delayed coupling, which did appear to work on my bodged up bit of track, with a bit of magnet wedged below the track.
I really need to make up a proper test track with the magnet located correctly to set the loop heights up and make sure everything works ok.

Will post pics when I actually get that far.
Hi Wiggy.

The only problem with the Spratt & Winkle is the length of wire stuck across the buffers which is, in my opinion, rather unsightly. Have a play with the D&Gs which work well, are very neat and, when they are blackened up, become almost invisible.
Hi all,

I'm coming up to the point where I'll have to sort this out for my layout also.
I've just had the new 'Red Death'* by email and there's an interesting item on modifying Rapido couplings with track pins and using a powerful magnet which is raised and lowered when you have your wagon positioned to be uncoupled (there was an article in the September 2008 Railway Modeller covering the installation of a moving magnet system, the author of that had bought in his couplings). It won't, of course, allow you to propel the uncoupled wagon as some of the more specialised alternatives do, but you don't have to buy and then try to assemble and fit those types of replacement couplings, you pays your money...

* 'Red Death' is another benefit of being a member of the N Gauge Society. It's the NGS Modern Area Group Newsletter, as a member of the society you can sign-up online here:
(it's FREE then, my favourite price
) and you receive the latest copy to your email address

I hope this may be of some interest to those wrestling with this ever problematic topic.

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As well as track pins Gaugemaster SEEP sell electromagnets and metal frets for converting wagons to magnetic uncouplers (and you can make mechanical ones). I use Fleischmann Profi couplers for some stuff as it does properly delayed uncouple and is an easy fit for both NEM and Rapido pockets. Not as nice looking on modern stock as buckeyes though.
first time i have managed to get into this section as a new n gauge modeller. I notice much discussion about reliable uncoupling for farish stock. I have purchased a gaugemaster EM2 with peco lift ams. I ever so slightly shortened the farish spring and trimmed the farish coupling to approximately resemble a peco ELSI coupling (minute trim required). 100 per cent a success. Peco stock uncouples from farish, farish from farish, wagons from carriage, carriage from carriage. I have left the couplings on the loco untouched. It works with all the forgoing stock. Interestingly both forward and reverse. Interested in any comments. Perhaps I have missed an essential requirement, not really knowing too much about the subject.

Hi all,
Just noticed this announcement on the Bachmann website:

"New N Scale Couplings
Graham Farish are pleased to announce that after considerable development a new working buckeye coupling will be available for use with US and UK N Scale models. The magnetically operated coupling allows prototypical operation when uncoupling e.g. shunting rolling stock and is another first for the UK market. The coupling will be available as part of next year's range of new items when Graham Farish celebrate 40 years of manufacturing in N Scale."

There's an image also, at first viewing it looks a touch chunkier than the couplings on my US outline stock but if it offers the remote functions and fits modern British models...

Regards, Gerry.
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I am very excited about this. I have lots of old stock on my 'main' layout but have made one small shunting layout (and have another planned) that I purchased new stock for but currently use a shunters pole for uncoupling.
I have followed all coupling threads on various sites but have not made the jump in fear that the small suppliers would stop production requiring the change over of lots of couplings. if I wish to add something new. A NEM replacement is what I have been waiting for. Will other manufacturers now follow?
Hello all

My guess is that Micro-Trains' patent has run out and Bachmann have planned to fit M-T / Kadee style couplings on their American stock. They are now adapting that for their British range.

My understanding is that the Rapido coupling is all but dead in the American market - if it is true that the M-T patent has run out then it may not be long before the Rapido coupling is phased out in Europe as well. Although with an NEM box both might survive, one for the serious market, the other for the toy market.
QUOTE (paul stapleton @ 1 Oct 2009, 13:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Although with an NEM box both might survive, one for the serious market, the other for the toy market.

As the NEM part of the coupling generally refers to the stock end (how the coupler is attached to the stock) while the MT/KD knuckle coupler is the fitting on the opposite business end (the one that joins up to the coupling on the next bit of stock) there is no reason why a MT/KT coupler cannot be made with a NEM fitting on the other end of the shank (to fit in to the socket/pocket box on stock giving push-in-pull-out changeability with a fully functioning coupler).

That would make it of interest to both the 'toy' and the 'serious modeller' market in Britain where buck-eye knuckle style couplers were not common (and still are often not fitted) on British locos and rolling stock prototypes. Modellers could then simply temporarilly pull the knuckle coupler off the front end of trains (perhaps replacing with a dummy shackle coupler) leaving it looking more realistic.

And as much British N gauge stock is now fitted with NEM socket/pockets, a MT/KD coupler with NEM fitting would provide an easy upgrade path for existing rolling stock in all market sectors.

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Whilst over in the UK for the last couple of months I bought the "Model Rail"magazine August edition, and lo & behold there was a great article on page 66 by Mike Harvey on uncoupling in "N" gauge.
From reading the article it would appear that my uncoupling/coupling problem might at last be solved after starting this thread some months ago!
It basically works by using "Fleischmann Piccolo Profi" couplers AND very small 1mm magnets embedded in the coupler that operates by repelling from a 2mm magnet in the track.
According to the article it works extreemly well and to quote Mike Harvey 'It has made an N gauge shunting layout a practical &potentially very enjoyable possibility'
Has anyone else used this method and if so what are your findings?

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