I bought my first bachmann wagon yesterday, and noted that it had a
different coupling to the existing fleet of hornby ones. whilst they do
work for a little while, the wagon tends to get left behind occasionally.
What can I do - replace the coupling with a Hornby one, or replace all
my couplings. If the latter, what should I replace them with ?
Phil: Without wanting to reatart an earlier thread, I'd advocate changing
to Kadee couplings - made easier on recent Hornby stock (and some
Bachmann) by their use of NEM pockets so they can be plugged in.
Her speaketh a convert!
And having jsuut had to pack away all my stock, due to building work, I
can say agian that the ease of lifting the stock apart, as in the old
Hornby Dublo (Peco Simplex) days, that the Kadees also offer, made it so
much easier! The Kadees also offer delayed uncoupling, and uncoupling
without needing solenoid operation.
"Ian Cornish" wrote
Hornby are slowly moving across to a coupling similar in size to the
Bachmann unit, although the Hornby hook is slightly longer. I certainly
wouldn't consider retaining the older Hornby type as I suspect it will soon
be redundant on all of their new higher-spec locos and rolling stock.
Much of my older stock has Hornby type couplings that are part of the
how easy is it to upgrade this type of rolling stock to a more modern type
Has anyone tried this with success
"Bob Heath" wrote
I've successfully fitted the small Bachmann coupling to all my rolling
stock, including a variety of different Hornby items and some Lima too.
It's all about a bit of ingenuity - there's no set way of doing it, but a
mixing of self-tapping screws and differing glues usually produces a result.
The key is to mount the new couplings at a consistent height - I have a
wagon which I use as my height gauge and I aim to have them all match this
one piece of stock.
It's not difficult, just takes a bit of time.
I have just acquired some Kadee coupling and as my Bachmann stock all
have NEM pockets thought this should be easy. So I fitted the couplings
(#20) to a pair of intermodal bogie wagons, lined them up on the track
and oh dear the couplings are at differing heights! Same problem with a
brake van --- the coupling is much too low with the 'wire' bit extending
below rail level.
In message , Bob Heath
Yes, thank you.
It involves removing the old coupling with any of a combination of
knife, junior hacksaw and file, offering up the Kadee No.5 to the
bufferbeam to make sure the front of the coupler is in the right place
as regards the buffers, and drilling a 1.8mm hole through the chassis in
the right place, tapping this hole 8BA and bolting the coupler to the
item. You might want to remove the steel weight from the chassis first,
or you might be happy to drill and tap through it.
If the top of the coupler matches the bottom of the buffer beam it
should be the right height. You may need to add some packing material
behind the buffer beam to fix the coupler level with the chassis, and
you may need to remove some material from any bogies, to prevent them
snagging the couplers. Kadees seem to work better when body-mounted than
when bogie-mounted. (Be careful with buffer beams: some coach buffer
beams are deeper than wagon buffer beams and a bit may need filing out
Other Hornby conversions are easier: for example if you have a coupling
that is screwed in place, unscrew it, drill a 2.2mm hole through a Kadee
No.20 in an appropriate place, cut the tails off the Kadee, and use the
original screw to fix it in place. This again will be at the right
The worst Hornby item I have converted recently is the LMS / Palethorpes
/ 2004 6-wheel van.
Phil: That's why I said 'some Bachmann' - the Mk1 coaches, 4MT are at the
wrong height(s), and the coil wagon is correct if you take off the
supplied Kadees, and refit with the NEM pocket Kadees.
I was proposing submitting an article to Model Rail summarising all this,
as a result of having converted over 600 items recently, but possibly due
to overlapping with Chris Leigh's own article and/or email hiccups and
delays, this seems to have slipped off the agenda. Due to building work, I
have now had to pack the stock away, making taking the photographs of the
conversions a bit difficult.
PS Changing the moulded-to-chassis Hornby wagon coupling is very easy to a
Kadee type, more tricky on the bogies! The really-older type were
rivetted or screwed, and these are easy to convert.
Phil: 1/ I agree with you about the 6 wheel vans!
Phil: I disagree with you about using the Kadee No.5: For most
UK/European stock I find it is too short to avoid buffer lock, and the
larger, rectangular draft gear box and spring system is both easy to
assemble and fit to the underside of the typical wagon (rigid wheelbase)
(also assuming that the height was correct with a no.5 ./ centre shank.
I found that the longest availble versions (with under/centre/over shank
according to chassis) was needed because of the buffers.
No5 is fine for US style stock without buffers.
In message , Phil
Strange. I don't get buffer lock even when propelling through a
crossover of Peco short radius points. The minimum radius on the running
tracks of my layout is 3ft. 6in., so I suppose I'm OK.
I try to see if an imaginary line joining the buffers passes through the
middle of the Kadee "hook", because that means that everything will be
OK. The buffers end up separated by 2mm. on straight track, and by not
very much less on curved.
They don't (as far as I know) produce couplers with offset shanks for
NEM pockets --- these are 'supposed' to be at the correct height. It is
also extremely odd that the bogie wagons didn't match --- they ought to
be an identical pair.
Depends on the buffer length - considering the longer versions cost no
more (in the basic pack rather than bulk) their is no reason to use
5's when the others allow the draft box to be fitted behind the
Going back to the original message back in the 70s / 80s when we had
all sorts of different versions of tension lock from Airfix, Mainline,
Hornby, Lima etc I used a wagon card system for shunting with
different coloured dots for the different types of coupling. It was
then a case of marshalling a train with compataible couplings
adjoining, and having a number of wagons with different types of
tension lock on either end
"Mark Thornton" wrote
I thought they did but I might be wrong, but even so the fact that there's
an NEM pocket provided doesn't preclude you removing it and using any of the
other couplers in the Kadee range.
What would give the better result in looks and use, the Kadee or the
Bachmann. If using the Kadee, is there one with a longer shank than the no.
5 that would not be a problem on tight bends. I already have some stock with
the small Bachmann and Hornby type couplings, would it be better to convert
everything to this standard. What at the end of the day would be the most
In message , Bob Heath
No.26 (plastic) and No.46 (metal) are longer than No.5 but otherwise the
same (i.e. centreset)
That is for you to decide. I can only relate the experiences I have had
given the choices I made. However, if you want to run really long trains
(which, I agree, you might not) there are inherent disadvantages built
in to the tension lock coupler.
- Do nothing, i.e. leave your couplings as they are.
- Ask someone like me to send you all my old tension-lock couplings in
return for "expenses", so you can use them yourself. (I have a 1kg.
Olivio container half-full of the things, mainly Dapol, but there are
several dozen Bachmann and Hornby in there as well. I can't use them.
"Jane Sullivan" wrote
All couplers have inbuilt disadvantages, but overall the small Bachmann
coupling is not too unsightly and works for me in my current layout
I the past when I've used Kades, and others also appear to have the same
experience to some extent or other, I've had problems with items of stock
uncoupling and dropping off the end of trains. There are supposed cures for
this like ensuring that stock is operated with non-magnetic axles (the
uncoupling magnets attract the axles it seems), that all coupling are at a
totally consistent height and that each item of stock is weighted to an
approved formula (dependent upon length).
I'm not decrying Kadees - they would be my only choice on USA outline stock
where buckeye couplers are the norm, but I've not been happy with
experiments I've done with British outline stock.