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Class Loco

Do British railways (post privatization) still use the "hook and chain" or screw couplings, and if so why?

It's something I've always kinda wondered. Being a Yank, I don't know too much about British railways (meaning EWS, Virgin, etc) coupling practices. I know that for some time, screw and hook couplings (also called screw) and chain couplings were used; but I wondered if they're still in use or not?

If they are phased out, when did this occur and what took their place.

If not, what is the effectiveness of them?

There are many different types of coupler on the UK mainline network depending on the type of train.

The 3-link coupler went out ages ago (not sure when), but the screw coupler remains in use and is probably still the standard coupler. The advantage of the screw over the 3-link is that you can take out a lot of the slack between the vehicles which reduces the severity of a "snatch" (the jolt experienced as a train starts away and takes up the slack in the couplers) and the likelihood of a broken coupler. There are quite a lot of freight vehicles that use the screw coupler. Although some of the newer types of freight wagons now use a buckeye (knuckle...?) coupler, the standard way of coupling the loco will be using the screw coupler as that is the standard drawgear fitted to UK loco classes.

Loco-hauled passenger stock has, for some considerable time, used a version of the buckeye coupler known as a drophead. Where a coach is coupled to another coach the buckeye coupler will be in the raised position and in use. However, at the outer ends where the loco will be attached, the buckeye is dropped to reveal a coupling hook to which the loco's screw coupler can be attached in order to draw the train. Modern passenger locos, such as the Class 90 and 91 electric locos, have themselves been fitted with drophead buckeyes so that they can couple to passenger trains this way. However, at the outer ends of the train there is still the need to fit standard drawgear so that the train can be rescued by a conventional loco in the event that it fails.

Where things get complicated is with modern multiple-unit (MU) trains. Back in the 1950's and 60's these were generally constructed with either standard drawgear or a buckeye coupler. However, these types have all since been withdrawn and replaced with modern types that use one of three different types of autocoupler that provides both the physical connection between MU's together with the air and electrical connections that are needed for MU's to operate in multiple with each other. While these can be a bit temperamental from time to time, they are much quicker and easier to use and remove the need to get down between the MU's to hook up the air hoses and multiple-working jumper cables. Where they are not so good is if an MU needs rescuing by a loco (e.g. an electric MU "off the juice"), as you will need an adapter in order that the loco can be attached.

The other major type of coupler used in the UK is the bar coupler. These are generally found between vehicles formed into a permanent or semi-permanent set. This could be between the vehicles of an MU or certain types of freight wagon. These are not uncoupled in service but may require to be split for maintenance purposes.

I hope this helps. If you need more detail or clarification, just let me know.

Find Class Loco On eBay Below:

MARKLIN MRKLIN 3473 PROTOTYPE DIGITAL DB BAYER CLASS BR 211 WERKS LOCO V2 nc
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3473 PROTOTYPE DIGITAL DB BAYER CLASS BR 211 WERKS LOCO V2 nc
$389.89
MARKLIN MRKLIN SET 800 3011 DB GREEN CLASS BR E44 039 E LOK LOCO BOXED 1956 nl
MARKLIN MRKLIN SET 800 3011 DB GREEN CLASS BR E44 039 E LOK LOCO BOXED 1956 nl
$173.67
KLEINBAHN D52 BODY ONLY for OBB BB 2 10 0 CLASS BR 52 1719 DAMPFLOK LOCO nn
KLEINBAHN D52 BODY ONLY for OBB BB 2 10 0 CLASS BR 52 1719 DAMPFLOK LOCO nn
$48.12
FLEISCHMANN 4139 DR DRG 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 204 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
FLEISCHMANN 4139 DR DRG 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 204 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$208.54
RIVAROSSI 1358 DB 0 6 0 CLASS BR 89 638 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
RIVAROSSI 1358 DB 0 6 0 CLASS BR 89 638 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$138.80
FLEISCHMANN 4170 DB BLACK 4 6 2 CLASS BR 01 220 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
FLEISCHMANN 4170 DB BLACK 4 6 2 CLASS BR 01 220 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
$138.80
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3366 and others in Class BR152 EP5
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3366 and others in Class BR152 EP5
$4.00
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3323 and others in SBB Class Re4 4 IV
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3323 and others in SBB Class Re4 4 IV
$2.50
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3157 and others in DB Class BR160
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3157 and others in DB Class BR160
$3.00
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3093 and others in Class BR18
Marklin HO Styrofoam Tray for Loco 3093 and others in Class BR18
$3.00
GN 1 C+C 1 Class Y 1 Electric Brass Loco 168 Collectors Quality Condition
GN 1 C+C 1 Class Y 1 Electric Brass Loco 168 Collectors Quality Condition
$649.99
MEHANO 6607 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC SOUND SNCB DLC GREY CLASS 66 LOCO PB19 MIB nc
MEHANO 6607 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC SOUND SNCB DLC GREY CLASS 66 LOCO PB19 MIB nc
$243.41
ROCO 04141E OBB BB ORANGE CLASS BR 1018 02 E LOK LOCO MINT BOXED ni
ROCO 04141E OBB BB ORANGE CLASS BR 1018 02 E LOK LOCO MINT BOXED ni
$117.87
TRIX EXPRESS 2407 DB 4 6 2 CLASS 18 601 DAMPFLOK EXPRESS LOCO MINT BOXED ng
TRIX EXPRESS 2407 DB 4 6 2 CLASS 18 601 DAMPFLOK EXPRESS LOCO MINT BOXED ng
$124.84
ROCO 63201 DIGITAL SOUND DR DRG 4 6 2 CLASS BR 18 201 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ps
ROCO 63201 DIGITAL SOUND DR DRG 4 6 2 CLASS BR 18 201 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ps
$522.40
RIVAROSSI 1339 DB 4 6 2 CLASS BR 10 002 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
RIVAROSSI 1339 DB 4 6 2 CLASS BR 10 002 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$138.80
FLEISCHMANN 4169 DB BLACK 4 6 2 CLASS BR 01 164 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
FLEISCHMANN 4169 DB BLACK 4 6 2 CLASS BR 01 164 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
$152.74
RIVAROSSI 1346 DB 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 149 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
RIVAROSSI 1346 DB 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 149 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$117.87
SALE Bachmann NW J Class 4 8 4 Steam Loco 611 w DCC  Tsunami SOUND NIB
SALE Bachmann NW J Class 4 8 4 Steam Loco 611 w DCC Tsunami SOUND NIB
$269.88
SPECTRUM NORFOLK  WESTERN CLASS J 4 8 4 LOCO 611 DCC READY PLUS 8 CARS
SPECTRUM NORFOLK WESTERN CLASS J 4 8 4 LOCO 611 DCC READY PLUS 8 CARS
$300.00
TENDSHODO HO SCALE PAINTED BRASS GREAT NORTHERN 4 8 4 CLASS S 1 LOCO
TENDSHODO HO SCALE PAINTED BRASS GREAT NORTHERN 4 8 4 CLASS S 1 LOCO
$270.00
FLEISCHMANN 82 6350 K DIGITAL DR DRG 0 6 0 CLASS BR 89 7462 DAMPFLOK LOCO nl
FLEISCHMANN 82 6350 K DIGITAL DR DRG 0 6 0 CLASS BR 89 7462 DAMPFLOK LOCO nl
$173.67
HORNBY DUBLO ACHO 638 SNCF CLASS BB 16009 E LOK ELECTRIC LOCO BOXED nj
HORNBY DUBLO ACHO 638 SNCF CLASS BB 16009 E LOK ELECTRIC LOCO BOXED nj
$110.90
Marklin Digital HO Dampflokomotive Class 400 Digital Sound Steam Loco 37991 F36
Marklin Digital HO Dampflokomotive Class 400 Digital Sound Steam Loco 37991 F36
$940.00
MARKLIN MRKLIN 37370 DB CLASS BR 101 E LOK LOCO FUSSBALL DCC MINT BOXED ml
MARKLIN MRKLIN 37370 DB CLASS BR 101 E LOK LOCO FUSSBALL DCC MINT BOXED ml
$194.60
ROCO 43314 DR BLACK 4 6 0 CLASS BR 17 DAMPFLOK LOCO 17 1132 MINT BOXED ng
ROCO 43314 DR BLACK 4 6 0 CLASS BR 17 DAMPFLOK LOCO 17 1132 MINT BOXED ng
$124.84
MINT IN BOX HO BRASS NICKEL PLATE NYOW 2 6 0 CLASS U CAMELBACK LOCO  TENDER
MINT IN BOX HO BRASS NICKEL PLATE NYOW 2 6 0 CLASS U CAMELBACK LOCO TENDER
$300.00
PIKO 57212 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB CLASS BR 182 E LOK LOCO 001 8 MINT BOXED nc
PIKO 57212 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB CLASS BR 182 E LOK LOCO 001 8 MINT BOXED nc
$89.97
ROCO 62310 DIGITAL SOUND SNCF 4 6 2 CLASS 231 E 30 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ps
ROCO 62310 DIGITAL SOUND SNCF 4 6 2 CLASS 231 E 30 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ps
$766.51
FLEISCHMANN 4235 DB MAROON CLASS BR 221 131 6 DIESEL LOCO MINT BOXED nj
FLEISCHMANN 4235 DB MAROON CLASS BR 221 131 6 DIESEL LOCO MINT BOXED nj
$117.87
ROCO 436441 SBB DIESELLOK AIROLO AG CLASS V100 LOCO mc
ROCO 436441 SBB DIESELLOK AIROLO AG CLASS V100 LOCO mc
$138.80
FLEISCHMANN 4141 DB 2 6 0 CLASS BR 24 067 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
FLEISCHMANN 4141 DB 2 6 0 CLASS BR 24 067 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$103.92
pittman UNITED HO BRASS SOUTHERN RY PACIFIC CLASS PS 4 4 6 2 STEAM LOCO W TENDER
pittman UNITED HO BRASS SOUTHERN RY PACIFIC CLASS PS 4 4 6 2 STEAM LOCO W TENDER
$275.00
HALLMARK MODELS BRASS MISSOURI KANSAS TEXAS MKT 2 6 0 CLASS J5 MOGUL LOCO np
HALLMARK MODELS BRASS MISSOURI KANSAS TEXAS MKT 2 6 0 CLASS J5 MOGUL LOCO np
$382.90
NW CLASS J 4 8 4 STEAM LOCO W PARAGON3 SOUND IN SERV VERSION BY BROADWAY LTD
NW CLASS J 4 8 4 STEAM LOCO W PARAGON3 SOUND IN SERV VERSION BY BROADWAY LTD
$369.49
Custom HCB by AHM HO Brass ATSF 4 6 2 Class 4300 Loco DCC Tsunami Sound
Custom HCB by AHM HO Brass ATSF 4 6 2 Class 4300 Loco DCC Tsunami Sound
$425.00
Hallmark HO Brass ATSF Class 2507 2 8 0 Loco DCC Tsunami Sound Can Motor
Hallmark HO Brass ATSF Class 2507 2 8 0 Loco DCC Tsunami Sound Can Motor
$575.00
Sunset HO Brass ATSF 2 8 0 1900 Class Loco DCC Tsunami Sound Can Motor
Sunset HO Brass ATSF 2 8 0 1900 Class Loco DCC Tsunami Sound Can Motor
$450.00
FLEISCHMANN 4145 DB 0 8 0 CLASS BR 55 2781 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
FLEISCHMANN 4145 DB 0 8 0 CLASS BR 55 2781 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED nn
$110.90
HAG 280 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 079 7 CHEMOIL AG MIB nc
HAG 280 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 079 7 CHEMOIL AG MIB nc
$522.40


Recently Purchased Class Loco:


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tsunami sound nib , mrklin ho 3000 db delta digital class br89 steam tank loco 060 ln, mrklin ho 3099 special issue class br38 steam loco amp; tender lnbx 1999 only, rivarossi 1037 marklin ac digital db 2120 class br 59 038 loco mint boxed nc, pennsylvania rr 2104 steam loco class j1aho train co brass painted, bli 202 cnj class m1s 282 steam loco 858 wdcc amp; sound ho 187 , broadway limited 5465 ho up mt class 482 7011 steam locooil tender p3 tk , marklin digital ho dampflokomotive class 400 digital sound steam loco 37991 f36, sale bachmann namp;w j class 484 steam loco 611 w dcc amp; tsunami sound nib , graham farish 372380 br 462 class a3 loco 60065 knight of the thistle nq, graham farish 372652 dcc ready br 260 standard class 4mt loco 76020 mib nq, graham farish 372651 dcc ready br 260 standard class 4mt loco 76069 mib nq, fleischmann 413702 digital sncf nord 260 class c6 f4 loco valenciennes nq, marklin 39675 new mib mfx danish state railways dsb class my 1100 diesel loco, jouef djh e125 ho scale kit built sncf 462 pacific class 231 d loco tender 22c, jouef 8282 chassis only for sncf 280 class br 140 c 231 vapeur loco nantes nq, jouef 8282 tender only for sncf 280 class br 140 c 231 vapeur loco nantes nq, jouef 8282 body only for sncf 280 class br 140 c 231 vapeur loco nantes nq, jouef 8282 empty box only for sncf 280 class br 140 c 231 vapeur loco nantes, roco 51301 ho dr digital z21 start set diesel loco class 132 and passenger, marklin ho mohi nos 37834 2010 limited weathered dsb class n litra steam loco, graham farish n scale br gwr 462 coronation class loco with wrong tender pc, fleischmann 7033 dr drg 260 class br 33 dampflok loco 1908 boxed pc, fleischmann 887902 dcc ready kpev prussian 060 class g4 dampflok loco 3910 pc, fleischmann 715203 dcc ready obb bb 2100 class br 52 8000 dampflok loco pc, hornby ho br class 40 r2938 40152 loco 11977trainmallos, 36628 marklin ho eloco oceanogate class 483 mfx sounds new, mint in box ho brass nickel plate nyoamp;w 260 class u camelback loco amp; tender, marklin mrklin 3050 sbb cff class br ae 66 elok 11414 loco bern boxed np, athearn g97241 ho union pacific csa2 class 4664 oil tender steam loco with d, trx 2408 kbay 460 class p 35 dampflok loco 3894 boxed np, fleischmann 4010 dr drg 060 class br 89 7462 dampflok loco mint boxed np, trix 21218 kpev 040 class br t2 loco 6081 amp; goods wagon set boxed 2 rail , marklin mrklin f 800 db 462 class br 01 097 dampflok loco 1952 production nl, vintage rosebud kitmaster no11 ooho biggin hill battl of britain class loco, piko locomotive only dr 2100 class br 52 2006 loco spares np, mtc china railway brass jf class 282 steam loco with tender mao ze dong, piko 56333011 dr drg 282 class br 41 11472 dampflok loco mint boxed np, piko lima spares repair dr drg 2100 class br 18 5005 non powered loco boxed np



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