Sergent couplers

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by KCS, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    Any one using Sergent couplers on The-Gauge? I'm just curious as to how good they really are before I buy a bulk pack next week to replace all my Kadee's with. They look geat but I'm concerned about operation.
  2. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I have never heard of them and why would you want to replace Kadees?
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I haven't used them, but based on their appearance and the company literature, I'd check them out if I was just starting out. If I get to the point where I decide to downsize, and they work as good as they look, I'd definitely go with them.
    Les, they're a true scale operating coupler, very realistic in appearance and available in several prototype variations. I believe that they're uncoupled with a magnetic wand, not with a remote uncoupling ramp. Great for a walk-around type of layout.

  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I decided against Sergeant couplers after investigation (no actual use) - but my reasons may not apply to you. Almost all of the "pros" turned into "cons" upon examination of my situation.

    1) Scale appearance - this turned into a con for me because the Sergeant couplers are scale size for modern equipment (as is the Kadee #58 and other "scale size" couplers. My prototype era (1900) used a coupler 3/4 the size of today's. In 1900, some narrow gauge used the same size as the standard gauge (3/4 of today's) and some used 3/4 of the standard gauge (1/2 of today's). In HO scale, the closest to scale size knuckle couplers for my era is the N MicroTrains line. However, the gathering range (vertical alignment and horizontal swing) of the N couplers may be too small to be practical in HO/HOn3.

    2) Operated by magnetic wand. Great if you can reach in to uncouple at all spots. Not so great if you want uncouple 2 or 3 tracks back in a reasonably spaced yard or need to reach around delicate structures/scenery to uncouple. I prefer to use some kind of uncoupling ramp for these situations.

    3) Knuckle has to be open to couple, just like the prototype. Kadees couple automatically anytime they are lined up. Again, the benefits depend on how you operate, and how difficult it is to wave the wand to open the knuckle.

    4) Does not appear to have a centering mechanism. Just as in #3, you must ensure coupler is open and centered for coupling, same as the prototype.

    5) No fake "air hose" needed. A real plus for Sergent couplers. The same can be done for Kadees if you use bamboo skewers to uncouple.

    6) Not compatible with other knuckle couplers including Kadees.

    From what I can see, these are perfect if you model post WW2 or later, and use or plan to use bamboo skewers or similar uncoupling devices. I am very glad that we have these choices available to us. Try a few if you are at all unsure.

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. I've purchased a couple of pair to play with, and they're very cool. If I were planning on building a P:87, narrow shelf layout, I'd definetly go with these. But for the railroad I'm planning (and tentatively starting), the aforementioned automation of Kadees in tough to reach places wins out. If I ever scratchbuild rolling stock for a contest, I'll equip it with the Sergents. Also, their site mentions, that with enough demand, they may produce Type H tightlocks. If this ever becomes reality, I would equip my passenger fleet with them, as I would not be breaking up the trainsets often.

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    From what I seen of these couplers on a friends Proto 87 layout they look superior to the KD..One has to do the work of a real brakeman when it comes to switching..These couplers would be a pain to uncouple if the car(s) to be uncoupled or couple is barely in arms reach.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I haven't bought any, yet; but when I get my home switching layout started, I plan to buy a couple of sets to test. From what others have said, the main issue is whether or not you can reach all of your tracks to uncouple with the wand. I would suggest you buy a couple of pair and equip a couple of cars or a car and a locomotive with them and then test them. The other test to make would be to get three pairs, and do two cars and a locomotive and then see if you have any problems keeping a train coupled over your entire railroad. Since the couplers are exact scale for modern post ww2 couplers, any vertical curves in your track work may cause cars to come uncoupled.
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Russ,When I operate on my bud's layout I really enjoy those couplers.Of course the layout is a around the walls 18" wide shelf layout so everything is in easy reach.:thumb:
  9. abutt

    abutt Member

    It seemed to take me forever to change all my rolling stock and engines to Kadees. I'll be damned if I'll go through that again.

  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    My planned L.A. Junction will be on "L" shaped benchwork 7' x 9' x 2'-2.5' wide. The layout will be @ 50" above the floor and I'm 6' tall with a 35" reach, so I think I'll be ok. As I said, I'm going to try two 4 packs first, before I build everything for the home layout with Sergent couplers.
  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  12. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    I am intrigued by the scale appearance, but I have to ask the question: how prone are they to uncoupling on uneven track. Everything has to be within some sort of tolerance - even when using big No.5 Kadees as I do - but tracklaying is not an exact science; particularly on modular layouts that are taken apart after the show and reconnected at the next show. So, I wonder how exact the track must be laid to reliably run Sergent couplers?

  13. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    What in the Blue-blazes does a sergent coupler look like?!?!
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

  15. trainboyh16-44

    trainboyh16-44 New Member

    Almost exactly like a real one, it puts the Kadee #58 to shame..but at least the latter can couple with my fleet!
  16. Art67

    Art67 Member

    I will be changing to Sergent in the near future, as well as going to semi- scale wheelsets {much to the dismay of my track laying gang}. Since I am a dyed in the wool shelf layout guy, reaching them to uncouple will not be a problem. I have never really cared for the Kadee uncoupling ramps wich can have their own share of problems as well. The fact that you actually have to center the coupler is nice in my opinion as it more fully replicates prototype train handling. I am at the present time using nothing but Kadee #58's and I love them, however, those metal "break hoses" have always bothered me. I realize they would not be suitable for everyone, but I would recommend them to someone who is starting a highly detailed shelf layout to give them a try. One of my main druthers with my current switching layout is its 30" depth. In the future I will be trying to have all my shelves at about 18" for better reach and maintenance purposes.

  17. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I placed a $200. order yesterday along with enough etched cut levers to go along. I like Kadee's because they operate in a great manner but I ant more prototype apperance than anything. If any problems with uneven track then it'll just have to be fixed. I
  18. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I placed a $200. order yesterday along with enough etched cut levers to go along. I like Kadee's because they operate in a great manner but I ant more prototype apperance than anything. If any problems with uneven track then it'll just have to be fixed. I saw another
  19. Art67

    Art67 Member


    Please keep us posted on the sergent couplers performance. I think they will look superb with the cut levers and no out of scale uncoupling pin. Thanks in advance.

  20. Here's a tangentally related question: On the prototype, in a hump yard, how are the couple centered for coupling? Does it work out that, with the approach track being straight, the couplers are centered when the pin-puller releases them, and therefore generally in alignment when the car coasts through the yard so that a connection can be made with the cars already in the bowl? Do some of the cars not automatically couple, and the car knockers and brakemen keep an eye out for this as the train air line is connected, then the trim engines assembling the outbound trains couple the cars? This is how I imagine it, but I know a few of you out there are far more knowledgable of prototype practice than me.


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