Body mounted couplers on 85' passenger cars?

jbonkowski Oct 17, 2022

  1. jbonkowski

    jbonkowski TrainBoard Member

    Dees anyone have experience with body mounting couplers on passenger cars?

    I was hoping to improve the couplers without having to replace the entire truck, but I worry that the curve radius would have to be too large for this to work.

  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    I found that body mounts work better on my 85' cars on tight 22" radius curves in HO. And not just in reverse.

    Of course, I have very carefully and studiously avoided any reverse curves in their route, except for a single crossover of number eight switches. Everywhere else passenger trains change tracks either happens at the start of a curve, or involves crossing an intermediate track straight across a double slip, so reverse curves aren't necessary.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2022
  3. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

    As you seem to be aware.....the radius of the curves is a big factor. Another factor is the articulation of the couplers (some move side to side better than others). Also the length of the couplers will have an effect. As septulsa notes, S curves (including crossovers) can cause issues. In N scale I would say you need at least #6 turnouts and 19" radius curves ........and more would be better. I did 21.5" curves and #10 turnouts.
    DeaconKC likes this.
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    The problem with Body Mounted couplers on the full length passenger cars, 85 + ft cars is you need to be able to run them on a minimum of 18" radius curves. Anything sharper and they will pull each other off the track. So, you are stuck with truck mounted couplers.

    To be more specific your Auto Racks, Auto Parts Box cars, long Tank Cars and of course your full length passenger cars.

    I can't believe I just said that but it's true. I have some 15" radius curves in my yards. The body mounted couplers manage to make it through. They don't like it . Little troublemakers.

    Still, you'll hear me say... oh what the neck, I catch flak every time I say it. I changed my mind. Here it comes: Wider curves are the best curves. Body mounted couplers are best mounts.

    Ducking and running for cover.

    You'll learn, you'll figure it out. Try it out for I had to do.

    The guys and gals who could of shared the above with me were operating trains in clubs where they could afford Wide Radius Curves. Help came in the form of hints from time to time in the MR wig wags. The ones I bought at the local Newstand.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2022
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  5. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    First of all, allow me to state that I am not a fan of body mounted couplers anywhere, passenger or freight. I have a 15 car passenger train comprised of Concor corrugated passenger cars. I did not like the coupling distance between cars so I experimented with different couplers and settled on Unimate medium shank truck mounted couplers. The cars couple extremely close to where they are almost touching. These cars are always run as a train and are never uncoupled. I run them on an Ntrak layout with 27 inch radius curves. I have also them on my Kato Unitrack setup with curves of 315mm (12.4in) where they would bind on curves and derail. They could probably handle an 18 inch radius and probably a 15 or 16 inch radius. They do handle #4 switches in the yard though. My MT heavyweight cars have body mounted couplers and I really don't care for them. The coupling distance is far too wide even of you add a diaphragm. They just look bad. Look for them on Ebay in the future.
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  6. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

    My MT HW cars will have no problems on seventeen inch curves. There is only one place on the entire pike where the MT coaches/pullmans are on anything sharper. The trains that run there have only one MT coach. Usually, the train is one MT coach or Pullman, one head end car and a locomotive. The locomotives are all body mount. If the head end car is an MT, it is a body mount. The MT head end cars are sixty or seventy feet. The curve is Kato thirteen and three quarters. I have yet to have a tracking problem. When the train hits that curve, it is not running at track speed, anyhow.

    There is one part of the mail/express facility that has two Kato #4s and a Kato thirteen and three quarter curve. As a rule, only head end cars or shorty coaches go through those. The full length coaches/Pullmans do not often go through them. the station switchers are all body mounts. I have yet to see any derailments because of a curve that is too sharp.

    The only head and cars that I operate that are eighty feet are the RR baggage and combines. Those, as well as the WOT baggage cars (sixty or seventy foot) are all truck mounts.

    I have seen the MT coaches and other full length cars go through a fifteen inch curve without climbing or de-railing. Still, if you are going to body mount full length passenger cars, it is best to run them on seventeen inch or higher main line curves. The standard that I learned for HO was that full length passenger cars should run on thirty inch or more curves. In N scale, this reduces to sixteen-point-three, or so.
    Doug Gosha, BarstowRick and DeaconKC like this.
  7. Kisatchie

    Kisatchie TrainBoard Member

    I'll have 12-3/8" radius Unitrack on my N scale layout (if it ever gets built). My MT heavyweights don't give me any trouble with that sharp a radius. They'd look better on larger radius, but I can't fit anything larger.

    Hmm... fatso Kiz has
    enough trouble squeez-
    ing into the layout room...
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I'm so glad to read this Kiz. 12-3/8" curves are a necessity on my new railroad too and I was beginning to think that I'd not be able to enjoy M-T's heavyweight cars.
  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    I have several sets of 85" passenger cars, all the old Atlas Rivarossi ones and some others and all of them have truck-mounted couplers except for the CNW set, which is a mixture of Atlas and Con-Cor, and they operate fine on 19" and various other radii, including being backed into storage tracks through switches. The CNW set with body-mounted couplers are a problem backing. The ends of the cars hit and derail although that's probably due more to the couplers allowing the cars to be so close rather than them being body-mounted.

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  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Originally Atlas and Arnold teamed up to put out some Streamline shorties. About 75 or 76 ft in length. These ran fine on 11" radius curves but didn't perform well backing up. Seems to me Kato came out with some Streamline shorties. I had a set of those and my Dad enjoyed operating them for years. I replaced them with Kato's full length 85 or longer passenger cars and sold off the shorties.

    I don't like the truck mounted couplers on any of my passenger cars. My big project was to get rid of the Rapido Couplers and replace them with Knuckle Couplers. Not to worried about body mounting the couplers at this time.

    You'll find with a lot of the longer freight cars and passenger cars the coupler pocket or coupler itself sits out and away from the train car. This is to allow you to run those tight radius curves. Not very pretty or realistic but gives you guys with space restrictions the ability to run trains.

    I've heard more stories about guys who moved on to built larger layouts with wider curves. Then those who stick with the dreaded 9 3/4" radius curves. Again, I've heard where the guys who stuck with such eventually destroyed their layouts and switched to another hobby. RC flying as an example. I'm not suggesting that but look at the fun they are having.

    My thoughts from Idaho, this a.m.!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2022
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  11. Kisatchie

    Kisatchie TrainBoard Member

    I have some 11" radius Unitrack, and I decided to see if the MT 85' heavyweights could handle it.

    They did, but they didn't look so hot doing it.
  12. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    Body mounted couplers are a bit enigmatic. Either the coupling distance is unrealistic due to the extended box, or, the close coupling versions will require 19" radius or larger. Many of us have asked for these body mounted couplers without realizing the consequences.
    BigJake and MK like this.
  13. woodchip

    woodchip TrainBoard Member

    I may be mistaken but all the Rapido passenger cars from the Canadian Rapido are body mounted and work on 11” radius curves. It ain’t pretty to watch but they work.
  14. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    Sometimes "beauty is as beauty does"...
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm not the History Guy, but here's a little history. From the For What It's Worth Department.

    Early warning this will covers most of the scales or gauges out there. But ends up bringing it all home, for us N Scale enthusiast.

    In the late 50's or early 60's. I was playing with S-Scale. It was impossible to get the curves I wanted. No room in the house for such and none in the garage. My Dad heard about HO and took me to a bicycle shop to see a make shift set-up. Christmas display. Athearn, GP7 in the Zebra Stripe livery. 18" radius curves and being that everything was short, 40' freight cars, it looked good on 18" curves.

    Here's the problem. Most of us in the hobby and i don't care what Scale you were modeling-in the real rub was the couplers. The question of the day: Why can Lionel have knuckle couplers and the rest of us can't. Something about a patent and Lionel didn't want to license anyone else. Declaring that no one could use their knuckle couplers on any-other scale.

    Well, Club Layouts being what they are and who they are. A few took liberties and purchased up old Lionel train sets . Taking the knuckle couplers and adding them to their S-scale, American Flyer train equipment. It caught on and despite all the bantering that went on. I think there was litigation. Someone stuck their neck out an made knuckle couplers for S=Scale, HO, N, and more. Thank-you Kadee and then Micro-Trains for N and Z scale much later on.

    On my daily operations in HO-Scale. The horn hook couplers left much to be desired. To add insult to injury NMRA decided the Horn Hook couplers would be the official coupler. All while most of us in the hobby were hollering for Knuckle Coupler.s Why should Lionel be the only one with them oversized knuckle ouplers?

    I couldn't back-up those truck mounted couplers in any of the shoves I made without derailing them. Oh wait Atlas made re-railers. So off to the local LHS to buy rerailers. They looked like miniature railroad crossings and didn't work all that well. Those horn hook couplers were determined to push the cars off the track You know the one it was shoving. If you know me that's cursing time. Although my Puritan mother wouldn't allow me to curse. So, like all good boys I made up my own cursive language. More on that at a later time.

    In one of the Wig Wags (Model Railroad Magazines) of the time I read about Kadee #5 knuckle couplers. The move was on. Although, I have to admit that for a 12-15 year old boy this wasn't going to be easy. Cost was an absolute factor.

    So why did I go into all this? Heck if I know. Oh yes. The point was. It's been a long time coming with the knuckle couplers and having them body mounted;. as a bonus. Very pleased the hobby is finally moving in that direction. Took long enough!!

    Never mind the quality of operations. There's your premium benefit. Unless you happen to like being the Claw and putting your train cars back on the track all the time.

    I gave up on my HO, I still have boxes of the stuff. I found N Scale can give me all the things I wanted in a Model Railroad.

    Do I dare say my love of trains started with Toy Trains, but that didn't satisfy and didn't last very long. For me and it was off to better and bigger things. Okay, you got me. N Scale isn't bigger but I can do bigger things with it. Do I need to explain.

    So can you! That's been my point all along. So can you!!

    Get'r done. Thanks Larry the Cable Guy.

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
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  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Not to be critical. Those high quality, todays brand of Rapido Passenger Cars, don't deserve to run on 11" radius curves. Give them something they can strut their stuff on.

    Take a minute to think of what you could have. As I run and duck for cover.
    DeaconKC likes this.
  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Yes by all means...if you only have room for a 24" wide all means make some 48" radius turns. You can always prop up the curves that hang over the edges with 2x2's propped under them down to the floor !! :LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::whistle:
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  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Some fine folk just don't get it.

    I know a fella who did prop up his curves but with a Trestle and widened his curves out. HawHawHaw. So There.

    To funny George, just tooooo funny.
  19. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    As I don't really have a home layout, just a Unitrak test track on a hollow core door, I primarily run on NTRAK layouts at train shows. I get to run my long passenger trains with close coupled body mount couplers. This is great except every now and then, someone sneaks a non-standard module in with wonky trackwork and tight curves. I remember at the 2008 N Scale convention in Louisville, Kentucky, that one group was hooked into the mega-layout who's modules were absolutely horrid. Word got out rapidly that a trip along that peninsula was death to any long cars, even truck mounted coupler ones. Fortunately there was a bypass interchange that allowed you to stay on the spine and skip that trek to disaster.
    IMG_2474.JPG My Texas Special running on some excellent trackwork.
  20. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    Are those Texas Special cars from the currently available Lowell Smith 'Railsmith' models or your own creations?
    Either way, they look great in the photo.
    BarstowRick and BNSF FAN like this.

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