Coupling pole for scale couplings

martin goodall
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby martin goodall » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:30 pm

I could never get on with magnetic shunter's poles - the magnetic link at the bottom of the coupling chain always seemed to get itself tangled up, and was almost impossible to detach from the end of the shunter's pole.

I have also avoided shunter's poles attached to torches, as they are clumsy if you want to turn the hook to engage or disengage the coupling. Twisting a length of copper or brass tube between your thumb and forefinger is much easier.

I do accept, though, that without the light provided by a torch, you do need good layout lighting in order to be able to see the couplings clearly.

The other requirement for using 3-link couplings is a layout where all the places where you may wish to couple or uncouple are easily accessible and don't involve an awkward reach. Having successfully used 3-links on my Crichel Down layout (which was very compact and accessible, and also brightly lit), I decided to go over to auto-couplings on the Burford Branch, not least because of the train shed, goods shed, distance of the back road of the goods yard from the front of the layout and lighting that is reasonably bright but not bright enough to illuminate three-link couplings.

However, if using 3-link couplings I do recommend the shunter's pole I illustrated earlier, which I found to be completely reliable in use. One thing that is absolutely certain is that an ordinary J-shaped hook on the end of the pole just won't work, and you will end up fishing about for hours trying to pick up the coupling links and then dropping them before you can get them over the coupling hook on the next vehicle.

Rhobat Bryn

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:07 pm

martin goodall wrote:I could never get on with magnetic shunter's poles - the magnetic link at the bottom of the coupling chain always seemed to get itself tangled up, and was almost impossible to detach from the end of the shunter's pole.


Well it's all a matter of taste and what suits us personally. But it was just that scenario that prompted my question regarding a magnet that you could switch on and off. Rather than having to go through elaborate hand manoeuvres, wouldn't it be a lot easier to switch the magnet off once the coupling was in place?

My reason for purchasing the hook however is primarily for fiddle yard work. I unashamedly belong to the "don't spoil the illusion" school of model railways. Having the hand of God descend into a miniature world reveals its true scale and the connection with all those happy steam memories is broken and the pleasure recedes.

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Tim V
Posts: 2430
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Tim V » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:19 pm

I used to get on quite well with the Studiolith magnetic shunter's pole with torch, I replaced the original torch. It's still around somewhere. The trick was to make sure the magnetic link was only at one end of the vehicle. You couldn't turn the vehicles around.

It "might" be feasible to have an electro magnet but keeping your finger on the switch and the light.....
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

Rhobat Bryn

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:52 pm

The Hook I have is a click on/click off mechanism so doesn't need to be held down but I take your point. It would be tricky having two switches on the same torch.

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Paul Townsend
Posts: 848
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby Paul Townsend » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:30 am

Recent local conversations about poles for 3-link coupling led to Gordon producing the real thing so here are 5 piccies of the business end which may help bods make theirs.

Shunter's pole1.jpg
Shunter's pole1.jpg (127.59 KiB) Viewed 5020 times

Shunter's pole2.jpg
Shunter's pole2.jpg (106.57 KiB) Viewed 5020 times

Shunter's pole3.jpg
Shunter's pole3.jpg (131.68 KiB) Viewed 5020 times

Shunter's pole4.jpg
Shunter's pole4.jpg (114.08 KiB) Viewed 5020 times

Shunter's pole5.jpg
Shunter's pole5.jpg (59.64 KiB) Viewed 5020 times

martin goodall
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:20 pm

Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby martin goodall » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:14 pm

See my previous post (with photos) on this other thread:

http://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=95#p21743
Last edited by grovenor-2685 on Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: URL changed as topics now merged. Keith


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