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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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Hi Everyone
This is my second post on this subject but as a 72 year old computer illiterate I probably did something wrong and my first reply is probably zooming about in cyber-space some where.
Anyway ,back to business,I have tried the 1mm magnet method and it is showing great promise.If this message gets onto the forum this time I would be pleased to expand on my findings thus far.


Hi Pete

Thanks for your reply, yes it would be good if you could expand on your findings, every little bit of information is appreciated not just by myself but all who read this thread.

Cheers Spottydog
The problem with the knuckle coupler for European outline is that it is about as prototypical as a Rapido! I believe that the best solution for all manufacturers is a NEM socket with close-coupling mechanism, supplied with the standard ubiquitous coupling for the relevant market, i.e. Rapido in Europe and Knuckle coupler in the US. Then people have out-of-the-box compatibility with what has gone before but can change to something more suitable at their leisure, using Fleischmann Profi, Kadee's etc. etc.

Also worth considering for N scale rakes of coaches with NEM sockets is the Tillig TT rod coupler. Cost per coupling made is less than when Profi's are used, you can still put Profi's at the end of the rake. The rod coupler is great because it gets rid of the slack in a pair of Rapidos that cause coaches to oscillate together and away from each other slightly, and is of course worse for an entire rake.
Hi Spottydog

It's pretty obvious that coupling and uncoupling in N gauge is a big problem,especially if any serious shunting needs to be done.I first started in N in the early eighties when I bought a Farish pannier and mixture of new and second hand rolling stock both Peco and Farish thinking that because the couplings looked the same shunting should be a fairly simple operation.As we all know I was horribly wrong!!
Fast forward to earlier this year when I decided to actually build the layout before either arthritis or the trembles set in!
With base board built and layout finalised(Another sad story but not for today) I built a section of test track to try out various techniques including uncoupling etc.that was when I realised just how big the problems were.
It was obvious that the only trucks that would couple satisfactorily were Peco.As for uncoupling, Peco ramps did work after a fashion but looked absolutely horrible,add -on kits were going to be very fiddly to fit and too pricey for my pensioners budget.also electro magnetic devices were far to costly.But then came the article in Model Rail and there was light at the end of the tunnel!
I emailed David Wytham at e-magnetsuk and he kindly supplied with samples of 1mm and 2mm magnets for me to experiment with.
I cut thin strip of double sided carpet tape and fitted it under the drawbar of Peco coupling so that I could move the 1mm magnet on the drawbar to find the optimum position to give maximum deflection of the coupling.I also put some tape between the rails so that the position of the 2mm magnet could be changed.
With the small magnet positioned at the tip of the drawbar and the larger on the top of a sleeper the couplings stand up like little Meerkats!
With a good controller the truck can be left over the magnet with the coupling raised ready for re-coupling.
I think this method shows great potential although further experimentation will be necessary but I feel confident enough to carry on laying track.
The biggest problem has been handling the small magnets(Theyare plated and very slippy) so I made up a pair of brass drop nosed tweezers with a small groove at the tip to make life easier.
I am afraid I've rambled on a bit so I'll cut it short but with one query- I want to convert my Farish GWR brake van to Peco couplings because the standard ones are rubbish-any ideas?

Happy Modelling

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Hi, Pete.

Sounds a great system, but are the magnets not strong enough to lift an empty truck off the rails? And won't they be strong enough to overcome the springs on the Farish couplings? I'll probably give them a go myself, using superglue once the right spot on the coupling is found.

Another Pensioner Pete
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Hi Oscar (Pete)-(Makes me sound like an air traffic controller!)

No,with Peco couplings the combination of 1mm magnet at the tip of the drawbar and 2mm on the sleeper is just right.

As far as I can see the possibilities are tremendous;for instance if the polarity of the 'sleeper' magnet is reversed it will have the effect putting the brakes on!

There are two problem areas up to now.Firstly the splitting up of a train on arrival for shunting purposes does involve some un-prototypical movements over the uncoupling magnets but I think I can put up with that.Secondly,and this is the biggest problem,is Farish stock.The 1mm/2mm system will not overcome the spring tension and I think that stronger magnets would derail the truck.

The obvious answer is to sell the Farish stock and replace it with Peco but a)That could be expensive,and
I love the guards van ,hence my my question re coupling replacement.

If you already have a layout give it a try,as it doesn't involve any permanent changes.

Good Luck

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Hi Pete.

I'm an idiot! I know they're strong, but I misread the pull as .5kg instead of .05.

I have about 100 Farish wagons, so I won't be replacing them.

I'll try the magnets out on loaded wagons and see if they work. BTW, I presume you only fit them to one end and make sure they're trained-up magnet to non-magnet?


Pete 2
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Hi Pete (1) & not to be left out Pete (2) also

Yes I have the exact same problem as you, Peco stock and a GF Brake Van which I too really like, so your question on changing the coupling on the GF is relevant.

Regarding the 1mm magnets are you going to recess them as suggested in the article in Model Rail or just glue them underneath the coupling when you find the correct position of course, also the 2mm on the sleeper same question applies, recess them or on top. I know you have been conducting your experiment with them on top of the sleeper, have you tried them recessed and do you think they will still repell alright if both are recessed?

I'm glad someone is on the same page as me with this perplexing problem, but maybe very soon a problem of the past (fingers crossed!!!!)

Cheers Spottydog
Hi Spottydog ,Hi Pete

Thanks for your comments,with reference to the positioning of the magnets, I have tried drilling the sleeper so that the magnet is flush but it didn't repel the coupling far enough to uncouple.I even tried pushing a 1mm I/D tube over the dropper arm with a magnet inserted but it just didn.t have enough leverage to lift the coupling.

Regarding your comments Pete ,about your 100 Farish wagons; I had another look at my solitary Farish wagon and I notice that the coupling is not sprung and it has a 'half arrow-head' cross section that appears to be more compatible with Peco couplings. Is the the current Farish spec.?

Finally reference G/F guards vans,I've looked at the Peco catalogue and I see that they do a brake van chassis kit .It's 15 ft. wheelbase against the prototypes 16ft. but I might just try a 'body swap'.


Your wagon has the "NEM pocket", fitted to all new Farish wagon designs launched in the last couple of years. The coupling doesn't have a spring but seems most unwilling to lift up for uncoupling. It is designed to allow interchangeable coupliings but there aren't many available to choose from.
No, the coupling is an early Farish type from about the eighties. If you take it out, you'll find it's secured by a pin through a ring.

QUOTE (oscar @ 19 Nov 2009, 09:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>No, the coupling is an early Farish type from about the eighties. If you take it out, you'll find it's secured by a pin through a ring.

Oops, never seen one of those, must be before my time. Thanks Pete for clearing this up and apologies for any confusion I have caused!
it's all good and well having these new couplings, but as we have said, it will be a pain for converting, i own 16 n gauge engines (3 are multiple units) and about half of them are bachmann era farish and two are dapol. the only engines fitted with NEM pockets are my dapol M7 and Hymek, so as you can see, it will be interesting trying to convert the others.

stock as well, how many of us have still got 20-30 year old wagons and carriages in our stock? i for one have many, question is how do i convert them
although with todays modern standards for detail is it worth it?

on the topic of brake vans, does anyone know which couplings fit the peco kits? i have some Graham Farish couplers but they need trimming down, will they be adequate enough?

thanks in advance
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the peco coupler is pivoted without a spring on the wagons, the farish stuff is sprung loaded. if you go to the microtrains site, there are LOTS of conversion options available, some of which are designed to fit in pockets very similar to farish ones and have a little coil spring. for converting peco wagons some serious bodgery may be required and the fitting of a complete coupler with its draft box. the catch may be that the shortest coupler with the smaller type draft box may be as good as touching the axle but the buckeye itself may still be to far forward of the buffers to look acceptable. i have fitted microtrains buckeyes on a farish ( poole built ) 37, and also on a pannier tank. i also fitted the type that fits into the farish pocket on the wagons, but they do need modding to fit the box and work ok. i only converted a few things to test them, things worked ok, but they are a fiddle to get right. by which i mean they are easy to fit and not work well if you rush things. considering how much stock i have i lost heart in the concept, i also did the same with DG's, same lack of enthusiasm with those and they are fragile in use to boot.

but with the new bachmann offering due out to fit the N gauge nem fittings i may revisit the buckeye route as they are allegedly compatible??!. if so i may make up fixed rakes with buckeyes on the outer ends and just have a few rakes all converted for shunting. some of the real awkward jobs to convert ( that may prove impossible ) are the loco's with couplings on bogies like a prarie or pacific, though it could be argued that a pacific won't really need a front coupling
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Hi Pete

Sorry I didn't come back to you ref. coupling magnet to non-magnet.Actually on my trial set-up I have a magnet under the draw bar at both ends of the wagons because the draw bar is offset to one side the 'sleeper magnet'is positioned so that only affects the appropriate coupling this enables you to uncouple the loco from the train and shunt into any 'kick back'sidings you might have.

Returning to the subject of G/F couplings;How do you get them to couple easily?I find that to couple individual trucks you either have to hit them hard or pin them to the buffer stops!

It was an interesting comment about my elderly G/F truck.I've got a couple of small magnets left so I'll stick them on the drawbar to see if it uncouples as well as it couples to Peco stock.

This is all getting far too complicated for me.

I think I'll just stick to my D&G Couplers.
Cheers for that, Pete. I did not think the magnets were so 'directional'?!
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