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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 However, these types have all since been withdrawn and replaced with modern types that use one of three different types of autocoupler that provides both the physical connection between MU's together with the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 3046 SNCF 2 10 0 CLASS BR 150 X 29 Steam Loco SMOKE AC 3 rail H0
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3046 SNCF 2 10 0 CLASS BR 150 X 29 Steam Loco SMOKE AC 3 rail H0
$149.00
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama S Class Loco HO Scale West Coast Railway S302
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama S Class Loco HO Scale West Coast Railway S302
$143.67
FLEISCHMANN 413801 K DIGITAL DR DRG GREEN 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 062 DAMPFLOK LOCO nl
FLEISCHMANN 413801 K DIGITAL DR DRG GREEN 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 062 DAMPFLOK LOCO nl
$417.63
HAG 205 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF GREEN CLASS Re 6 6 E LOK LOCO 11619 ARBON MIB nc
HAG 205 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF GREEN CLASS Re 6 6 E LOK LOCO 11619 ARBON MIB nc
$389.74
FLEISCHMANN 4016 WEATHERED DR DRG 2 4 0 CLASS BR 70 091 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ng
FLEISCHMANN 4016 WEATHERED DR DRG 2 4 0 CLASS BR 70 091 DAMPFLOK LOCO BOXED ng
$96.92
ROCO 43756 DIGITAL SBB CFF CIBA CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 016 9 MINT BOXED nl
ROCO 43756 DIGITAL SBB CFF CIBA CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 016 9 MINT BOXED nl
$152.69
HO 00 Scale HORNBY R577 BR 4 6 2 Coronation Class Loco 46251 City of Nottingham
HO 00 Scale HORNBY R577 BR 4 6 2 Coronation Class Loco 46251 City of Nottingham
$74.95
Empty Box Blister Insert for Marklin HO Loco 3496 and others DB Class BR96
Empty Box Blister Insert for Marklin HO Loco 3496 and others DB Class BR96
$4.00
Empty Box Blister Insert for Marklin HO Loco 3329 and others in DB Class BR191
Empty Box Blister Insert for Marklin HO Loco 3329 and others in DB Class BR191
$4.00
FLEISCHMANN HO 4303 ELECTRIC LOCO CLASS 169 OF DB MIB
FLEISCHMANN HO 4303 ELECTRIC LOCO CLASS 169 OF DB MIB
$39.95
TRIX 22023 DIGITAL KPEV 4 6 0 CLASS P8 DAMPFLOK LOCO 2458 MINT BOXED nl
TRIX 22023 DIGITAL KPEV 4 6 0 CLASS P8 DAMPFLOK LOCO 2458 MINT BOXED nl
$347.91
MARKLIN MRKLIN 33532 DIGITAL DB CLASS BR 120 ART LOCO 120 039 1 MINT BOXED ne
MARKLIN MRKLIN 33532 DIGITAL DB CLASS BR 120 ART LOCO 120 039 1 MINT BOXED ne
$124.80
FLEISCHMANN 80 4320 K DB BSAF CLASS BR 145 LOCO 145 CL 002 NEM COUPLINGS NEW mw
FLEISCHMANN 80 4320 K DB BSAF CLASS BR 145 LOCO 145 CL 002 NEM COUPLINGS NEW mw
$124.80
Fleischmann HO Scale 799 ESEA 1333 Class 1 C 1 Swedish Electric Loco
Fleischmann HO Scale 799 ESEA 1333 Class 1 C 1 Swedish Electric Loco
$250.00
Mainline Palitoy OO 4 6 0 GP Rebuilt Scot Class Loco LMS 6115 37 056
Mainline Palitoy OO 4 6 0 GP Rebuilt Scot Class Loco LMS 6115 37 056
$140.00
Polish PKP CLASS PD5 4 4 0 Steam locomotive Formerly Prussian S 6 loco HO DC
Polish PKP CLASS PD5 4 4 0 Steam locomotive Formerly Prussian S 6 loco HO DC
$299.00
HAG 160 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC SBB CFF GREEN CLASS Re 4 4 E LOK LOCO 11107 MIB nc
HAG 160 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC SBB CFF GREEN CLASS Re 4 4 E LOK LOCO 11107 MIB nc
$250.30
HAG 222 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF RED CLASS Re 4 4 I E LOK LOCO 10043 MINT BOXED 3 nc
HAG 222 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF RED CLASS Re 4 4 I E LOK LOCO 10043 MINT BOXED 3 nc
$264.24
ROCO 69720 MARKLIN MRKLIN AC DIGITAL DB CLASS BR 101 E LOK LOCO 130 3 MIB nc
ROCO 69720 MARKLIN MRKLIN AC DIGITAL DB CLASS BR 101 E LOK LOCO 130 3 MIB nc
$124.80
HAG 280 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 073 0 TSI TELEVISION nc
HAG 280 DIGITAL AC SBB CFF CLASS Re 4 4 460 E LOK LOCO 073 0 TSI TELEVISION nc
$347.91
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3422 DIGITAL 6080 DB BLUE CLASS BR 194 178 0 E LOK LOCO MIB nc
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3422 DIGITAL 6080 DB BLUE CLASS BR 194 178 0 E LOK LOCO MIB nc
$313.05
PIKO 50240 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB 0 10 0 CLASS BR 82 023 LOCO MINT BOXED nc
PIKO 50240 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB 0 10 0 CLASS BR 82 023 LOCO MINT BOXED nc
$166.64
ROCO 63422 DB BLUE CLASS BR 290 LOCO 290 188 2 LENZ DIGITAL DCC my
ROCO 63422 DB BLUE CLASS BR 290 LOCO 290 188 2 LENZ DIGITAL DCC my
$166.64
RIVAROSSI 10688 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 LOCO 39196 MIB nc
RIVAROSSI 10688 MARKLIN DIGITAL AC DB 2 8 2 CLASS BR 39 LOCO 39196 MIB nc
$138.75
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3447 PROTOTYPE DIGITAL DB GREEN CLASS BR E70 21 E LOK LOCO EG 2
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3447 PROTOTYPE DIGITAL DB GREEN CLASS BR E70 21 E LOK LOCO EG 2
$554.27
FLEISCHMANN 4124 DR DRG 0 6 0 CLASS BR 53 7752 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
FLEISCHMANN 4124 DR DRG 0 6 0 CLASS BR 53 7752 DAMPFLOK LOCO MINT BOXED ng
$117.83
Marklin HO Digital SBB Class Ee 3 3 Halbschuh Double Electric Loco 36332 KJC
Marklin HO Digital SBB Class Ee 3 3 Halbschuh Double Electric Loco 36332 KJC
$449.99
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama GM Class Loco HO Scale AN Green  Gold GM44
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama GM Class Loco HO Scale AN Green Gold GM44
$217.34
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama GM Class Loco HO Scale AN Green  Gold GM46
LATEST RELEASE TrainOrama GM Class Loco HO Scale AN Green Gold GM46
$217.34
HMK HO Scale Brass Missouri Pacific 6600 Class 4 6 2 Loco  Tender U P OB GOOD
HMK HO Scale Brass Missouri Pacific 6600 Class 4 6 2 Loco Tender U P OB GOOD
$222.50
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3003 DIGITAL 6080 BESIGHEIM DB 2 6 0 CLASS BR 24 LOCO LTD ED nc
MARKLIN MRKLIN 3003 DIGITAL 6080 BESIGHEIM DB 2 6 0 CLASS BR 24 LOCO LTD ED nc
$180.58
MINITRIX 207 KIT BUILT CROSTI BOILER BR 2 10 0 CLASS 9F LOCO 92023 MIB mz
MINITRIX 207 KIT BUILT CROSTI BOILER BR 2 10 0 CLASS 9F LOCO 92023 MIB mz
$389.74
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
$389.74
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
$173.61
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
$48.11
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
$208.47
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
$138.75
FLEISCHMANN 4178 SNCF 2 10 0 CLASS BR 150 225 DAMPFLOK LOCO BMULHOUSE MIB nn
FLEISCHMANN 4178 SNCF 2 10 0 CLASS BR 150 225 DAMPFLOK LOCO BMULHOUSE MIB nn
$152.69
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
$138.75
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


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