switching question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by BC-RAIL, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. BC-RAIL

    BC-RAIL New Member

    Hi all, this is probably a dumb question, but I have searched everywhere on this board and can't find an answer. When you are running cars around a layout, and doing some switching, how do you un-couple your cars from your engine? I have seen the uncoupling magnets at hobby stores, but it doesn't seem right to only be able to uncouple cars at very specific points on a layout. Do you use a special tool? Do you lift the cars apart by hand?
    I have recently began an expansion of my first layout, and am working to incorporate some sidings and spurs and this question has been bugging me for quite a while now.
    Any info would be much appreciated.
  2. stdguage

    stdguage Member

    Coupling Picks

    Coupling and uncoupling cars manually can give you a feel for a brakeman's job. Using the giant hand and actually touching the cars is not reccommended. Not just because the mystic of the operation can be lost, but delicate details may not survive the touching.

    Rix Products makes a portable magnet to uncouple the Kadee style couplers without using buried magnets.

    628-0014 Rix HO Uncouping Tool (Kadee) 2.99

    You can also use any small stick-like device to manually pull the couplers apart as long as the tip has a flat shape. Just insert into the couplere set and gently twist the couplers apart. A toothpick can work. Some bar swizzle sticks can also work. Your LHS should also have some commercial picks for a modest price that are proportioned correctly and have

    Manual uncoupling with a pick will need close access, not just reachable. You may also find problems from poor lighting. If reach and lighting are OK, go for it! It can add to the operational enjoyment.

    Manual switch throws such as those from Caboose Industries will also get closer to the action, but that's a topic for another time.
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Wooden Bamboo Skewers. The kind you use to make shishkabobs with. Rub some graphite on the pointed end to help lubricate it. Place the pick inbetween the center of the couplers and carefully twist. The couplers will open up and release from one another. A low tech solution and it gives you that hands on feeling without touching the cars to uncouple them.
  4. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    BC here is another option if you want to stay with magnetic couplers. The uncoupler is stationary but allows you to push the car/cars where you want them. Dont know how good they work I have never used them but will try them out some time.
    Kadee® Quality Products Co. - Sample Prices
    If you go down to the animation you can see how they work
    Kadee delayed magnetic uncoupling
  5. BC-RAIL

    BC-RAIL New Member

    Thanks guys, that helps alot. I tried the skewer/pick method and that works great. My layout is not to big (4 X 10 1/2) so I should be able to easily reach anywhere.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    yep. The skewers work remarkably well. That's what I use.

  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    I use a plastic Rix uncoupler, but it's basically just a barbecue skewer with a clip on it so I can stick it in my shirt pocket or my wheel-report clipboard. I use a couple of Kadee remote uncoupling magnets but a skewer is easier once you get the hang of them--and for those of us who would rather be brakemen than engineers, more fun.
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    the rix magnetic wand doesn't always work that well, i really think you'd have to do alot of tweaking of the coupler trip pins to make it work.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The Rix h shaped device tends to grab at metal details on the ends of cars: ladders and such.
    Our group uses bamboo skewers and similar, but these have problems with passenger cars with diaphragms (corridor connections). I like a little wire with a small right angle bend at the end to pull on the air hoses. You can also use the skewers for this.
  10. BC-RAIL

    BC-RAIL New Member

    Thanks. that sound like a good idea too. I will give that a try as well, though I don't run passenger cars so the skewer should work fine for everything I do.

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