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Coupler Question
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Author:  Jim Baker [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Coupler Question

Attachment:
Coos Bay knuckle.jpg
Coos Bay knuckle.jpg [ 326.96 KiB | Viewed 2757 times ]


Attached is part of a 1956 photo we have in our collection of Coos Bay Lumber Co #11. The engine itself still has the knuckle shown on the photo in place (actually the ones on both ends are the same). I have wondered about the slot in the mid point of the knuckle, but then I noticed the pin in the knuckle in the photo. I'm now assuming that this type of knuckle is designed to be used with either knuckle couplers or with link and pin couplings. Am I correct?

Thanks

Jim Baker, Pacific southwest Railway Museum

Author:  b. barry [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

The slot is to connect to link and pin. A lot of the remaining Maine two foot knuckles have slots for the same reason.

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

True as far as it goes, but slotted knuckles were obsolete on the mainline railroads before WWI... there simply were no more link and pin drawbars that needed to be accommodated.

Logging lines, on the other hand, used a variety of long shackles to connect disconnect style trucks, or loads with overhanging logs, so the slotted knuckles lasted pretty much to the end.

One other interesting thing to point out is the overly tall knuckle, which helped prevent the knuckles from overriding on rough track and abrupt vertical curves. Traction lines also often used tall knuckles due to abrupt vertical curves.

Author:  J3a-614 [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Dennis Storzek wrote:
True as far as it goes, but slotted knuckles were obsolete on the mainline railroads before WWI... there simply were no more link and pin drawbars that needed to be accommodated.

Logging lines, on the other hand, used a variety of long shackles to connect disconnect style trucks, or loads with overhanging logs, so the slotted knuckles lasted pretty much to the end.

One other interesting thing to point out is the overly tall knuckle, which helped prevent the knuckles from overriding on rough track and abrupt vertical curves. Traction lines also often used tall knuckles due to abrupt vertical curves.


All absolutely true--and on top of that, at least one logging road still had some cars with link and pin couplers into the 1970s!

This was the Meadow River Lumber Company at Rainelle, W.Va., perhaps best known today as the road where Cass Scenic's Heisler No. 6 and long out-of-service Shay No. 7 came from.

This road was the last working logging railroad in West Virginia, operating with a pair of GE 70 tonners at the end. Most of the equipment had knuckle couplers, of course--but the road still had some very old camp cars around with links and pins. Those cars weren't moved much at all later on, which was why they never got newer couplers. I don't think they had been moved in years before their last move, from the woods to the scrap line, at the time of the road's closure and abandonment.

Author:  DJSullivan [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

When attempting to date a photograph, the first place to look is the coupler--link/pin, slotted knuckle, or smooth knuckle? Obviously one has to pay attention to whether its a logging railroad or not.

Author:  philip.marshall [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

DJSullivan wrote:
When attempting to date a photograph, the first place to look is the coupler--link/pin, slotted knuckle, or smooth knuckle? Obviously one has to pay attention to whether its a logging railroad or not.


Yes, but it's not always so simple. Consider for example this Art Huneke photo of LIRR G5s No. 24 at Port Jefferson, NY (my hometown) in August 1954. The engine's front coupler clearly has a slotted knuckle. Maybe the shop guys at Morris Park had some old parts they wanted to use up? :)

Image

There are also some 1950s photos of LIRR No. 35 with a slotted knuckle on the front coupler, which leads me to wonder if it's still with the engine today in Oyster Bay.

-Philip Marshall

Author:  Steve DeGaetano [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

In 1955, when Walt Disney was building the locomotives and rolling stock for his 3-foot gauge park trains, one of his staff purchased equipment from a company called C.M. Lovsted Co. out of Seattle, WA. Lovested was a supplier of railroad equipment for logging lines. The couplers Disney purchased for the trains from Lovsted are small AAR couplers, with the slot as shown above.

One of the Disney engines has a pilot with a drawbar, which can be and sometimes is used with the couplers.

Author:  Kelly Anderson [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Also very handy around the shops. Our #9331 always had slotted knuckles while here, and they made it very handy for switching the drawbar end of steam locomotives as needed.

I wanted to save them when we sold the engine to Walkersville, but these knuckles wouldn't fit in #8618's couplers.

Attachment:
small IMG_6868.jpg
small IMG_6868.jpg [ 222.09 KiB | Viewed 2374 times ]

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Kelly,

Looks like the coupler head of an ARA type D... I assume this is a short shank, pin in the pocket coupler. The spotting feature of the D (as opposed to the later type E, still standard) was the small knuckle; 9" tall, as I recall. Since the D was the first standard coupler after all the proprietary designs, dating to 1913, stands to reason they offered the slotted conversion knuckle in the early years. The ARA type D was was superseded by the type E in the thirties. The E had an 11" tall knuckle, which is visually the same height as the coupler head. I'm not sure a slotted E knuckle was ever offered.

Author:  Jim Baker [ Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Thanks for your comments.

Author:  airforcerail [ Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

The former USN 50 ton porter at the SCRM had a torch cut notch in one end and I believe a cast one with a notch in the other. I have seen pictures of hausers placed in the notches and they used the locomotive to pull ships and boats down the length of the pier. There being link and pin equipment still in use in a shipyard setting in early 1941 is not outside the realm of possibility either.

Author:  Alan Walker [ Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Use with on rail trailers used for Maintenance of Way purposes is also common. TVRM's weed spray train used a notched knuckle to couple the tow bar of the trailer that had the spray booms mounted on it.

Author:  Gord M [ Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Slotted knuckles were very common on interurbans. One of the reasons was that a Victor type (or similar) drawbar could be installed to couple to cars not equipped with knuckle couplers. At the Halton County, we have used this feature on our London & Port Stanley interurban from time to time.

Author:  HudsonL [ Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

Slotted couplers come in handy when you are trying to move two steam locomotives nose to nose and the pilots interfere with making a normal coupling.

-Hudson

Author:  weekendrailroader [ Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Coupler Question

I suppose another question concerning these couplers would be are there any FRA restrictions on using slotted knuckles and/or link and pin couplers or towbars? If you run an insular museum operation, or if your gauge is under three feet (2 foot gauge mining equipment) perhaps you're outside of jurisdiction and the FRA doesn't care? What if you are connected to the general system? What if your tourist operation serves a freight customer or two during the week? Trolley/streetcar/interurban lines often use solid towbars/drawbars (not quite as delicate a process as link and pin) but not all trolley lines are under FRA if I understand correctly.

In all of these instances, the equipment would be "non interchange", obviously, and wouldn't be used in intercity passenger or in active freight service. Does being under either full FRA jurisdiction or under "FRA Lite" place any restrictions on using link and pin (or towbar/drawbar) on historic equipment?

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