On my current layout uncouping of wagons takes place by "the hand of god".
On my new layout I am planning I would like to automate uncoupling wagons so
that the hand of god can concentrate on other things.
In my box of bits I've got aout 10 peco electro-magnetic whatever there
called things that you place under the track. I've lost the instructions for
these and have no idea how they work and where to place them.
I remember reading something about some couplings that uncouple automatcally
when you revere a train over them.
I would really appreciate any advice (or links to sites) that explain how
automatic uncoupling works so I can plan how I am going to do it.
My new layout is a small( 4 foot) steam branch terminus with run around
loop, goods siding and cattle dock. At a minimum I need to be able to
drive trains to the platform, push back, uncouple the loco, drive round and
recouple. Ditto the same with freight. I also need to split freight trains,
remove a coal and cattle wagon and move them to the coal and cattle dock
Anyway, thats a rough idea of what I want to do. Any help appreciated...
Also, I ma on the look out for second hand N gauge steam (GWR) stuff...
locos, wagons, coaches and code 55 peco track if anyone as any for sale
The Arnold coupler (the big square plastic block fitted to UK N outline
stock) isn't a lot of use for automatic operation.
It can be worked remotely in a fixed place, but seems to need a fairly
chunky bit of plastic in the running line for this to work. I think Peco
used to sell a ramp which could be raised and lowered by rotating a piece of
rod - I had some 20-odd years ago.
Automatic couplers for N come in a number of forms.
All of these below will allow delayed uncoupling; ie. push the train over
the uncoupler and it remains uncoupled. Thus one can propel wagons to
required destinations and leave them.
Out of the box:
Microtrains (also called Kadee, though that is the name of the HO version).
These are American buckeye form. They can be worked by either a fixed or
electromagnet under the track. If you select the right type (there are
numerous variants of coupler), they can be fitted under UK N stock (though
you may have to cut off the old coupler pocket).
Fitting them to UK locos might be more of a challenge, possibly requiring
filing of some metal from the end of the chassis, though should be quite
The magnetic operation requires two poles at either side of the track (eg.
North to the left, South to the right). The standard Microtrains N fixed
magnets are designed to glue above the sleepers (and look a bit hideous).
One can work the N couplers with the O-gauge Kadee magnets below the track
(cut a hole in the baseboard, cover with card, then lay track over the
card). Alternatively, one can fit suitably shaped electromagnets which have
the poles arranged to be each side of the track (Microtrains sell them at a
quite high price, and I've seen articles on making your own).
Make up your own from kits:
DG and BB. These two are interworkable. They have a small loop which is
pulled by a simple electromagnet (one coil of a solenoid with a fixed rod up
through the track to just below sleeper top).
They don't work with fixed magnets (as they will uncouple when pulled over
The BB are slightly easier to assemble as they don't need soldering and come
ready blacked, but they are a little bigger and probably harder to fit to
locomotives. Some owners only fit the operating loop to one end of their
stock, thus saving time on assembly and reducing the problems caused by
inaccurate assembly of the loops, but one cannot turn stock around.
Pictures of the DG are here, including assembly tips:
And the BB are here pictured here (though missing winding some ferrous wire
around the bottom of the dropper):
DG and BB are available from a few specialist N gauge traders.
DG are also available from the maker (I have the address somewhere) and also
the 2mm Scale Association. Not sure if the maker of BB still deals direct,
its some time since I had contact with him.
You might find it easier to only fit the magnetic couplers to some of the
stock, and leave the remainder in fixed rakes (or for even better
appearance, remove the huge fat N block coupler from the fixed rakes and use
something smaller, such as some bent blackened wire).
There are few available from etched brass to Kedee Even a bent track pin
has been known to work. The better are delayed action there is a link in the
above or below post to the N Gauge soc. who no doubt have such items in
their shop same with 2mm Soc