1. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    In Japan, Kato makes a version of N scale trains for kids and collectors called the "Pocket Line" Most of the cars and locos have 2 axles and are shortened-scale and have less detail, but can run on regular N scale track:

    [​IMG]

    So how about this compromise:

    We should have two tiers of N scale: toy trains and model railroads. Toy train N scale can have 9 3/4" radius and truck mounted rapido couplers. Model Railroad N scale will have 12" radius minimum, and body-mounted uniform knuckle couplers.

    Both trains will be able to run on the same N-scale track, though the toy trains can only run on code 80. That way, the beginners will be happy and the serious modelers will be happy!
     
  2. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

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    Well on my HO, I use the Kadee coupler or the Mchenery coupler with the knuckle spring. On the N side, I use MT, Accumate and the McHnery that comes on the Athearn cars. I perfer the Mchernery style coupler on the N and after I do some testing when I have time, I may slowly start to convert to the McHenery and make that my standard.

    But I do agree that N scale needs to go to 1 style of coupler then have a 2nd style for the other folks who prefer. But all that I have work great with each other so far.
     
  3. ATSFCLIFF

    ATSFCLIFF TrainBoard Member

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    I have always hoped for standardized couplers for N scale as it was with the Rapido in the early years. I believe most modelers have sometime or other converted to MTL couplers (I could be wrong) on their engines & rolling stock. I wish manufacturers could come to some arrangement with MTL and use their couplers so it will be a standard. This will solve the compatibility problems we are having now with the various brands of couplers.
    It will, most importantly save modelers money!
    Cheers,
     
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cliff,

    I appreciate the way you so aptly put this.

    I agree and would be delighted if the above were to happen.

    Add my vote to this appropriate resolution.:thumbs_up:
     
  5. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think that will happen as long as MTL understandably charge royalties for using their couplers or make money themselves selling couplers for modelers to convert themselves. A few use MTL couplers, ie; IM, Trainworx, but most don't including some of the biggest names, ie; Athearn, Atlas, Kato, Bachmann, I notice the latest Exactrail covered hoppers have Mchenrys. Everything used to have Rapido couplers because Arnold Rapido allowed all manufacturers to use them free of charge otherwise they wouldn't have been a standard either.
     
  6. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yup...just what I figured...cant even get a few honest answers to a few simple questions. Sometimes the easy questions are the hardest to answer...thank you for your condescending attitude.

    "elitism"...look it up !


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  7. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I agree that all couplers should be knuckle couplers at this point in time. The specifics of that coupler will be hardest to address. All manufactures want their coupler to be the standard. Why cant they agree to at least make their individual couplers more compatible with each other? Building a coupler that wont work well with others is a manufacturer shooting ones self in the foot! I like MT's...but there is lots of room for improvement there too. For one...make the coupler itself more like the McHenery...taller to stay coupled...not bigger like a Rapido.

    I dont believe the solution is anywhere near being a reality. JMO


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  8. mucols

    mucols TrainBoard Member

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    I have to admit, I was interested in this discussion because I recently started modeling in N scale and I didn't know which was "the-best" coupler out there. My conclusion from reading this thread so far, is that I've got some research to do!

    Yes, it would have been quite a bit simpler to just hear Kadee is the modelers' coupler and the other is for everyone else. But it's good to know that the N-scale industry as a whole is alive with competition. After all, there wouldn't be so many different types if there weren't people who believed they could make money off selling them.

    It is possible to get a standard coupler someday, I think. One possibility is a manufacturer will have a coupler that is widely used and then overproduce it. This would make it cheaper for locomotive and rolling stock manufacturers to use the third-party couplers instead of their house brand. The only danger in that is we might not end up with quite the best coupler.... As long as the benefit of using a single standard outweighs the slight loss of quality, we'll probably take that as a win. :pbiggrin:
     
  9. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    My opinion, I just happen to have one...
    I think that is what happened to the X2f single piece HO coupler. It was cheaper than dirt, and is still included on most RTR and Kit rolling stock. It actually did work as designed and could be remotely un-coupled without having to get up or reaxch over and touch it with anything. It died the same death aa the most dependable coupler so far made; the Mantua Loop and Hook. We were glad to get the Mantua, because scale dummy couplers was all there was for a long while. So it was the "looks" that killed those two. My Dad wrote back and forth with Mr Tyler experimenting with a coupler that would look scale, and also "work" to scale like the real ones. Dad got the prints for a Baker Coupler and made working models. At the time the idea was to use the existing Mantua ramp for un-coupling, so Dad made what could be imagined as the brake hose, to operate up and down to lock and unlock the coupler knuckle. It worked with no more problems than a real one , so everyone was pleased. Then the NMRA set themselves up to "Standardize" the HO Industry and asked for everyone to send in ideas for a coupler.

    Tyler wanted the exposure by winning so he could claim patent rights for the first year's run. Dad was agreeable because he wanted to make the couplers, so they decided to send his best two working prototypes in to the NMRA for judging against others. Dad's met every stipulation the NMRA had on the design. The X2f was chosen because it was furnished free to Mantua, was not patented, so was easily copied and soon took over the market. Kadee nearly went the same way, but they came out with a more "scale" size/looking coupler body and saved their skin, so far.
    Pretty soon some young genius will come up with a radio controlledd coupler that will take over because it will operate off DCC using the same "remote" that blows the horn, and trips the track switch, excuse me, "turnout". Where's the coffee, 13° outside!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2010
  10. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, in retrospect, I may have been kinda harsh, so I apologize for that. Look, I just want a little more practical realism in my N scale equipment. I can live with the larger-than-scale couplers - as long as they mate reliably and consistently, and are not Rapidos, I'm cool with it. But the truck mounts still bother me.

    Look, when I was in HO, all the Athearn Blue Box rolling stock had body-mounted couplers. But they all ran on 18" radius curves! And the longer-than-normal equipment had some sort of swinging coupler pocket mechanism to facilitate the tighter 18" radius curves. So I don't see any reason why N scale can't do the same. Body-mounted couplers do not necessarily mean they cannot run on 9 3/4" curves.
     
  11. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Just a suggestion>

    Why don't you sit down and make a workable coupler in "N" scale, that will do what you want ?

    Several of us have done that, so design it so we can guess what you expect to find.

    WE are glad to help you, but how?
     
  12. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Hey guys, let's not go reinventing the wheel. We do not need a new coupler. The three automatic couplers we now have [Accumate, MTL and McHenry] all have designs that feature a shank with a hole in it to fit around a post. For lack of a better description I'll call it the KD#5 coupler pocket. There is a photo of all three couplers side by side on the N Scale Supply website. If you want to see here is the URL:

    http://www.nscalesupply.com/mch/mch.html

    By use of an after market frame with a standard coupler pocket that will accomodate all three couplers modelers could use their own favorite coupler as well as trucks. Anyone could use the car "as is" from the manufacturer. But for those who wish, they could replace the frame and use the coupler and trucks they preferred. This approach could be the answer to other issues besides the body mount coupler issue. It would eliminate the MTL "yoyo" effect present in their truck mounted couplers. The new frames would permit a more prototypical lower ride height. The new metal frames would add weight to a car and allow better tracking. The new frames could be applied to all existing cars that had a frame separate from the body. I realize this is not a universal "fix it" as there are some cars without a frame or some cars without a separate frame. But for the majority of rolling stock it could easily work.
     
  13. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

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    I have several MT cars that have frames that accept body mounted couplers. Not sure if they still do it, I haven't purchased a MT car in quite awhile.

    I'm happy with the current couplers and don't plan on changing, just to many cars!
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Don't be worrying about George, he's just having some fun with you. Grin

    When Inkaneer first submitted his ideas on this post he made some fine points. Points I would whole heartedly agree with.

    The history here is slightly distorted so allow me to take another shot at it. My first layouts had to do with HO and the horn hook coupler. The majority of us had no love for these couplers as they were nothing but trouble. Most of us wanted knuckle couplers, like you could find on Lionel's O scale. If memory serves me correctly there was a serious patent discussion as to whether or not someone could make these in HO. Eventually a family took heart and started what is known today as the Kadee Knuckle Couplers. It took a while before they got it right and satisfied the majority of us semi-prototypers. Along comes N scale, along with all the same basic issues and a lot of HO transplants. We wanted a knuckle coupler as well. It wasn't long and the same family now known as MTL, brought to us N scalers, a knuckle coupler that works very well and all but solved our problems. There in is our heritage and history. Not to forget, NMRA, has made attempts to standardize and the best they can do is recommend...and that's it.

    Now back to HO for a sentence or two. Seems the HO types got to liking the #5's and found it was easy to install them in the Athearn, Stewart and other brand names coupler boxes. HO came closer to a standard coupler pocket or box. Thus the popularity.

    In N scale there isn't a standard coupler box, requiring many customized installations. You can't just pick on one coupler and solve the problem. Although, the #1015 tends to come close to achieving this. It comes in a very short coupler box and you can body mount it to most shorter freight cars and locomotives. However, when we get out to the full length passenger cars and six axle diesels running on 9.75" radius curves you are going to have some serious problems. Run those same longer, six axle locomotives and full length passenger cars over my layout... with the wider radius curves and I promise you no problems.

    Which brings us to a discussion on tight radius curves. From what I can gather here we have the highest number of model railroaders operating with the tight radius curves on any model rail website. Judging from the flak, I've taken both privately and here on TB., most of you prefer operating with the tighter radius curves. Now, don't get me wrong...that's ok with me if... that's what you want. However, it's been my experience as it has been with others of us here that eventually you will tire of the tight radius curves. The clear advantage is you have a layout that will bring you joy and loads of fun operating your trains....in the meantime. Now there can't be anything wrong with that.

    When the right time comes, you can graduate or move to the larger radius curves and enjoy the pleasures of operating anything you want on your layout and watching how good it looks. Never mind how good you will feel about it.

    Elitism, very funny George. I've always wanted to be a part of a unique group of individuals and I'm not afraid of a title. I've been pigeon holed as worse then this name calling. If by having wider radius curves, MTL's knuckle couplers, body mounted and I outlaw 9.75" radius curves on my layout, if that makes me an elite type of individual then I'm going out to have me a bronze plaque made and hang it in my train shed, I said with a twinkle in my eye and a very big grin.

    Here is another perspective. Hobby shops wouldn't find themselves selling 9.75" radius curves in N scale, 15" radius curves in HO and or 027 in O gauge and any old coupler... if there wasn't a demand for such. At Christmas time, I used to crudgingliy sell out the tighter radius curves and found we needed more to meet the demand. All the customers wanted was a toy train to run either under the Christmas tree or to satisfy Johnnie's need for a train set. Who cares what it looks like?

    I should tell you about how many times the would be objects of these gifts came back to cash in the tight radius curves and buy the larger radius curves...naw, some would be bored to death.

    In time... we N scalers, starting with the newbies all the way out to us old farts, with way to much practical experience, will eventually set the standard. We don't need NMRA to do it, the local hobby shop to do it, the N scale guru's...WE WILL SET THE STANDARD...by what we buy.

    Now I'm guessing that some of the readers out there took a look at this and said, naw to much to read and passed over it, while other said "Darn I wish Rick would give it a rest". My response: Not until the day I die...will I give this a rest. I will lobby for wider radius curves, MTL's knuckle Couplers and a Common Sense Approach to planning train layouts. Why limit yourself to the minimums when you can have it all?

    Something else to consider: Club layouts generally operate with wide radius curves. The wider the better. With homes getting smaller and space a premium joining a club makes perfect sense. You can operate at home...knowing your limitations. Purchase train equipment that needs the larger radius and operate on the club's layout. Did I just say you aren't limited?

    Elitism, ba hum bug, just a bunch of pooey and balderdash. Don't smack down the guys that have made the real changes needed in N scale...we need them. Oh, and you can call me whatever the...well...you want. I've been called worse and survived.

    Now let's do what we can to set the standard and have some fun. I hear the whistle, two shorts, and that means my El Capitan is ready to get underway. Got to catch a train and I'm so glad I have the wider radius curves to run it on. Nice to be a part of the elite...grin.

    As a model railroader you are a part of a unique and elite bunch of fine individuals.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2010
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    In N scale there isn't a standard coupler box, requiring many customized installations. You can't just pick on one coupler and solve the problem. Although the #1015 tend to come close to achieving this. It comes in a very short coupler box and you can body mount it to most shorter freight cars and locomotives. However, when we get out to the full length passenger cars and six axle diesels running on 9.75 radius curves you are going to have some serious problems. Run those same locomotives and full length passenger cars over my layout with the wider radius curves and I promise you no problems.

    Now see...there sits the problem. Not the coupler itself...but the draft gear box! If the manufactures all made there style of coupler to fit a 'stamdard' box...more then half the problem is solved! You want to run MT's...I want to run McHenrys...someone else wants to run Acumates. The problem is...they arent interchangable in the draft gear box! Fix the box...fix the problem.

    Which brings us to a disucssion on tight radius curves. From what I can gather here we have the highest number of model railroaders operating with the tight radius curves. Judging from the flack I've been given both privately and here most of you prefer operating with the tighter radius curves. Now, don't get me wrong...that's ok with me if that's what you want. However, it's been my experience as it has been with others of us here that eventually you will tire of the tight radius curves. The clear advantage is you have a layout that will bring you joy and loads of fun operating your trains....in the meantime. Now there can't be anything wrong with that.

    The problem arrises when some cant run large radii. As an example...someone who only has room for a 2' x 8' layout. They are lucky to be able to run 10" max radius. Do we tell em to just give it up and run "Z" ? Those 9 3/4 radius pieces come in handy for them. The ruckus is that some people want/demand manufactures to quit making 9 3/4. Where does that leave the small layout guys?

    When the right time comes you can graduate or move to the larger radius curves and enjoy the pleasures of operating anything you want on your layout and watching how good it looks.

    Elitism, very funny George. I've always wanted to be a part of a unique group of individuals and I'm not afraid of a title. I've been pigeon holed as worse then this name calling. If by having wider radius curves, MTL's knuckle couplers, body mounted and I outlaw 9.75 radius curves on my layout make me an elite type of individual then I'm going out to have me a bronze plaque made and hang it in my train shed, I said with a twinkle in my eye and a very big grin.

    Ah Rick... You could never be an elitist simply by definition:

    e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism (ĭ-lē'tĭz'əm, ā-lē'-)
    n.
    The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

    I dont believe you think you have a perceived superiority. Or that you think you are smarter then everyone else. I know ya aint nothin but a good ol RR guy livin in a moble home...runnin trains in a metal shed. And you sure dont rub anyones nose in the fact you have money to burn LOL...thus making you better then anyone else.

    You an elitist Rick...sorry my friend...not by a long shot !!


    In time... we N scalers, starting with the newbies all the way out to us old farts, with way to much practical experience will eventually set the standard. We don't need NMRA to do it, the local hobby shop to do it, the N scale guru's...WE WILL SET THE STANDARD...by what we buy.

    Kudos there !!


    Elitism, ba hum bug, just a bunch of pooey and balderdash. Don't smack down the guys that have made the real changes needed in N scale...we need them. Oh, and you can call me whatever the...well...you want. I've been called worse and survived.


    I dont knock the guys who are the real innovators. I knock the guys who demand that some of the tried, true and still very much workable innovations of the past should be thrown out with the rest of the garbage (like rapido couplers)!!

    And Rick...Like I said...you elitist?...never.

    A grumpy old man like me...yup!


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  16. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Let's all be clear on this. First, this is not for everybody. Second, no one is forced to do anything they don't want to do. What this does is offer everyone a choice and that choice need not be such that there is no going back or no going forward. Those who want to operate on 9.75 inch curves with Rapido couplers can still do so. But for those who want to operate on larger curves with body mount couplers and who want their rolling stock to have a lower ride height as well as being heavier to track better then the retrofit frames offer a convenient way to do it. With a frame like this I could take an ordinary Atlas boxcar that I may have bought 20 years ago, remove the floor/frame then add the retro floor/frame. I now have a car that weighs more and has built in body mount coupler box. I can now add my choice of coupler, say a McHenry. For trucks I might want to try out those new BLMA 70 ton trucks with the metal wheelsets that are coming soon or I might want to keep the Atlas trucks and clip off the coupler extension. Alternatively, I might want to go with MTL trucks with Fox Valley wheelsets. Whatever I want the flexibility to do it is built in.

    And flexibility is a key item. Lets face it all of the current auto couplers have detractors. MTL has the "yoyo" and their trucks are not all prototypical plus there is the whole pizza cutter thingy. Accumate has the "exploding coupler", the lost trip pins and the scale 10 foot coupling distance [to accomodate those who run on 9.75 inch curves]. McHenry has that visible spring that some object to. But the one good thing they all have in common is they all have the same shank length. The McHenry's shank is the same length as the Accumate and the Accumate is the same as the MTL. Someone on the A forum reported placing an Accumate into a MTL coupler box and the coupler extended the same distance as the MTL coupler. The same shank length along with the same shank design means the coupler box can be a standard design that will accept all three couplers.
     
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Inkanner,

    Well put! My compliments.

    George,

    I'm so disappointed.

    LOL Phew! :prolleyes: Rolling my eyes.

    I will have to cancel the order for the bronze plague.

    According to that definition, it would be one out a million in model railroading that would comply with that definition. So, why are we using it?

    A grumpy old man like me...yup! That be us.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2010
  18. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ohhhhh..."one out a million"...you are just being way to generous...shall I email you my never to be completed list?..:tb-wink:

    .
     
  19. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Remember, there's 6 billion people on Earth, so if you're "One in a million," that still means there's about 6,000 other people JUST LIKE YOU!
     
  20. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

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    The small layout guys don't need to give up on N scale, just show a bit of common sense with what they expect to run. If you have 8'x2' and want to run six axle diesels and 89' autoracks then maybe Z scale is what you are looking for, the same as if you only have 8'x4' you can't expect to model heavy duty mainline railroading in HO. The strange desire to run stuff on tight curves that doesn't belong there is not reserved for N scalers, a HO modeler at work was complaining to me the other day that he was having trouble with his DDA40X on his 18" curves. Lets get real, tight radius curves=short rollingstock, in any scale.
     

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