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Class Loco

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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 However, these types have all since been withdrawn and replaced with modern types that use one of three different types of autocoupler that provides both the physical connection between MU's together with the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:

Bachmann Spectrum PWV Class G 5 2 8 0 Loco Custom Paint Lettering
Bachmann Spectrum PWV Class G 5 2 8 0 Loco Custom Paint Lettering
$75.00
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
$167.49
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
$187.67
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
$120.40
HO Brass Sunset Boxed GN Great Northern Class O 1 Heavy 2 8 2 Mikado Loco Tender
HO Brass Sunset Boxed GN Great Northern Class O 1 Heavy 2 8 2 Mikado Loco Tender
$154.50
Roco 4130 HO Class E 144 509 7 DCC Digital Diesel Electric loco NR MINT
Roco 4130 HO Class E 144 509 7 DCC Digital Diesel Electric loco NR MINT
$131.12
Fleischmann 1381 HO Class V200 035 DCC Digital Electric loco NR MINT
Fleischmann 1381 HO Class V200 035 DCC Digital Electric loco NR MINT
$83.34
Fleischmann 1351 HO 0 8 0 Class BR 55 2875 Steam loco in its box b
Fleischmann 1351 HO 0 8 0 Class BR 55 2875 Steam loco in its box b
$99.58
Piko 6317 HO 0 8 0 Class BR 55 3763 Steam loco in its box NR MINT c
Piko 6317 HO 0 8 0 Class BR 55 3763 Steam loco in its box NR MINT c
$76.73
Fleischmann 1350 HO 2 6 0 Class BR 24 001 Steam loco b
Fleischmann 1350 HO 2 6 0 Class BR 24 001 Steam loco b
$76.01
HO Santa Fe ATSF Brass Steam 2507 class 2 8 0 Loco by Hallmark models
HO Santa Fe ATSF Brass Steam 2507 class 2 8 0 Loco by Hallmark models
$177.50
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
Westside Model Co HO BRASS SP Class A 6 Steam Loco Tender Pro Paint LN Box
Westside Model Co HO BRASS SP Class A 6 Steam Loco Tender Pro Paint LN Box
$753.99
Custom NJ Brass HO BRASS New Haven Class R 3a 48 2 Steam Loco  Tender 3557 EX
Custom NJ Brass HO BRASS New Haven Class R 3a 48 2 Steam Loco Tender 3557 EX
$599.99
Westside Model Co HO BRASS CO Class T 1 2 10 4 Weathered Steam LocoTender Box
Westside Model Co HO BRASS CO Class T 1 2 10 4 Weathered Steam LocoTender Box
$624.99
Roco 04122A HO 2 8 2T Class 93 374 DCC Digital Steam Tank Loco in box NR MINT
Roco 04122A HO 2 8 2T Class 93 374 DCC Digital Steam Tank Loco in box NR MINT
$173.36
Roco 4112 HO Class DRG 58 2059 2 10 0 steam loco  vfc
Roco 4112 HO Class DRG 58 2059 2 10 0 steam loco vfc
$116.17
Jouef 8742 HO Class DRG 044 170 9 2 10 0 steam loco  for hobbyist
Jouef 8742 HO Class DRG 044 170 9 2 10 0 steam loco for hobbyist
$87.29
ROCO 436441 SBB DIESELLOK AIROLO AG CLASS V100 LOCO mc
ROCO 436441 SBB DIESELLOK AIROLO AG CLASS V100 LOCO mc
$133.85
VINTAGE MARKLIN HO SCALE No 3053 ELECTRIC LOCO Class E03 103
VINTAGE MARKLIN HO SCALE No 3053 ELECTRIC LOCO Class E03 103
$99.99
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
$100.22
HO LILIPUT Streamlined 1936 Olympic 4 6 4 Steam Loco Tender DRG Class 05 2 of 2
HO LILIPUT Streamlined 1936 Olympic 4 6 4 Steam Loco Tender DRG Class 05 2 of 2
$58.00
HO LILIPUT Streamlined Pre War 4 6 4 Steam Loco  Tender DRG Class 05 1 of 2
HO LILIPUT Streamlined Pre War 4 6 4 Steam Loco Tender DRG Class 05 1 of 2
$81.00
Fleischmann 4064 HO Class BR 64 389 2 6 2T steam tank loco in its box  vfc
Fleischmann 4064 HO Class BR 64 389 2 6 2T steam tank loco in its box vfc
$118.40
PIKO 6300 HO Saxon Class VT KSachsStsEB 0 6 0T tank loco in its box
PIKO 6300 HO Saxon Class VT KSachsStsEB 0 6 0T tank loco in its box
$73.71
PIKO 6300 HO Class BR 69 0 6 0T tank loco in its box
PIKO 6300 HO Class BR 69 0 6 0T tank loco in its box
$68.90
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
$106.95
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
$503.80
Tenshodo 164 HO BRASS Great Northern 4 8 4 Class S 1 Steam Loco
Tenshodo 164 HO BRASS Great Northern 4 8 4 Class S 1 Steam Loco
$399.99
GN 1 C+C 1 Class Y 1 Electric Loco w box Collectors Quality Condition
GN 1 C+C 1 Class Y 1 Electric Loco w box Collectors Quality Condition
$625.99
FULGUREX DR DRG BLACK 0 8 0 CLASS BR 92 289 TANK LOCO MINT BOXED ne
FULGUREX DR DRG BLACK 0 8 0 CLASS BR 92 289 TANK LOCO MINT BOXED ne
$571.06
FLEISCHMANN 4320 LENZ DIGITAL SPARES REPAIR DB CARGO CLASS BR 145 002 2 LOCO ng
FLEISCHMANN 4320 LENZ DIGITAL SPARES REPAIR DB CARGO CLASS BR 145 002 2 LOCO ng
$86.77
FLEISCHMAN 4171 CLAUSS MAFEI HO CLASS BR 03 1001 DC ERA II STEAM LOCO
FLEISCHMAN 4171 CLAUSS MAFEI HO CLASS BR 03 1001 DC ERA II STEAM LOCO
$281.35
Microscale Decal HO 87 75 Southern Pacific Steam Heavy Class Locos Steam Lo
Microscale Decal HO 87 75 Southern Pacific Steam Heavy Class Locos Steam Lo
$7.50
PIKO LOCOMOTIVE ONLY DR 2 10 0 CLASS BR 52 2006 LOCO SPARES np
PIKO LOCOMOTIVE ONLY DR 2 10 0 CLASS BR 52 2006 LOCO SPARES np
$63.90
Rare Roco 43444 HO Austrian OBB Class 1670 Electric Loco with Blackened Wheels
Rare Roco 43444 HO Austrian OBB Class 1670 Electric Loco with Blackened Wheels
$69.99
HALLMARK MODELS HO BRASS SLSF Class 1306 2 8 0 Steam Loco Tender Unpainted Box
HALLMARK MODELS HO BRASS SLSF Class 1306 2 8 0 Steam Loco Tender Unpainted Box
$299.99
PFM SKI HO BRASS SOO Line N 20 Class 4 8 2 Dual Pump Steam Loco
PFM SKI HO BRASS SOO Line N 20 Class 4 8 2 Dual Pump Steam Loco
$854.99
Custom NJ Brass 801 X HO Scale Brass Reading Class T 1 4 8 4 Steam Loco
Custom NJ Brass 801 X HO Scale Brass Reading Class T 1 4 8 4 Steam Loco
$649.99
LILIPUT L112408 DCC READY NS MAK CLASS Ep IV V DIESEL LOK LOCO 6485 MIB nj
LILIPUT L112408 DCC READY NS MAK CLASS Ep IV V DIESEL LOK LOCO 6485 MIB nj
$113.67


Recently Purchased Class Loco:


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tender drg class 05 1 of 2, ho liliput streamlined 1936 olympic 464 steam loco tender drg class 05 2 of 2, vintage marklin ho scale no 3053 electric lococlass e03 103 , custom nj brass 801x ho scale brass reading class t1 484 steam loco , pfmski ho brass soo line n20 class 482 dual pump steam loco , pittman united ho brass southern ry pacific class ps4 462 steam loco wtender, ho santa fe atsf brass steam 2507 class 280 loco by hallmark models, ho brass sunset boxed gn great northern class o1 heavy 282 mikado loco tender, bachmann spectrum pamp;wv class g5 280 lococustom paintlettering, piko 6300 ho class br 69 060t tank loco in its box, piko 6300 ho saxon class vt ksachsstseb 060t tank loco in its box, fleischmann 4064 ho class br 64 389 262t steam tank loco in its box vfc, jouef 8742 ho class drg 044 1709 2100 steam loco for hobbyist, roco 4112 ho class drg 58 2059 2100 steam loco vfc, roco 04122a ho 282t class 93 374 dccdigital steam tank loco in box nr mint, westside model co ho brass camp;o class t1 2104 weathered steam locotenderbox, custom nj brass ho brass new haven class r3a 482 steam loco amp; tender 3557 ex, westside model co ho brass sp class a6 steam locotender propaint lnbox, fleischmann 1350 ho 260 class br 24 001 steam loco b, piko 6317 ho 080 class br 55 3763 steam loco in its box; nr mint c, fleischmann 1351 ho 080 class br 55 2875 steam loco in its box b, fleischmann 1381 ho class v200 035 dccdigital electric loco nr mint, roco 4130 ho class e 144 5097 dccdigital diesel electric loco nr mint, sunset limited ho brass atamp;sf 280 825 class loco excellent unpainted, fleischmann ho db class 103 loco 4375, mrklin ho 37282 digital db class br v 188 rail diesel loco set nbx 1998, ho max gray brass ktm southern pacific 4102 5000 class steam loco , metrop ho sbbcff class de 44 1680 rare brass electric loco metropolitan, mrklin ho eloco class ce 64 from sbb article ccs 8003 top, mrklin ho diesel loco class v 200 db repainted in nsb colors unique specimen, mrklin ho diesel loco class v 200 db repainted in sj colors unique specimen, mrklin ho diesel loco class v 200 db repainted in ferrari color unique specimen, mrklin ho diesel loco class my 1100 repainted in dsb colors unique specimen, great northern gn 2003 2880 class n3 steam loco tenshodo ho 161 pfm crown, ho vintage marklin hamo 8392 class s36 kbaystb loco 2 rail dc, mrklin z scale item no 8857 eloco class 151 of the db green, pennsylvania rr 2104 steam loco class j1aho train co brass painted, mrklin ho e loco class 1100 from ns article seh 8003 with seal and box, mrklin ho e loco class bb 9200 from sncf article 30592 instructions and box, mrklin 34112 ho delta digital drg class br181 steam loco amp; tender newbox , sunset limited ho brass atamp;sf 280 1950 class loco excellent unpainted, nj ho custom brass class l7sb camelback loco 460 reading lines ob, mrklin 34375 ho delta digital db class br101 starlight express loco newbox , roco 43629 swedish state railways class rc5 electric loco wpantographs mint, ho scale micrometakit 03601h class 58004 freight loco sdbahn kksrb, bachmann norfolk amp; western j class 484 steam loco 611 w dcc amp; sound nib , mrklin ho 37963 drg class 96 mallet steam tank loco gt2x44 dealer incentive, mrklin ho 37962 drg class 96 mallet steam tank loco gt2x44 nbx 1997 to 2000, northern pacific np 2674 class a5 steam loco 484 fujiyama ho painted brass, great northern class k 442 steam loco custom nj brass ho unpaintedst228, mrklin ho 33185 bavarian class s 36 steam loco amp; tender 462 nbx 1998 only, marklin digital ho dampflokomotive class 400 digital sound steam loco 37991 f36, mrklin ho 3093 db class br18 steam loco amp; tender lnbx 1977 to 1987, marklin ho 39100 and 41100 german db class vt 105 senator loco set unused, bli 202 cnj class m1s 282 steam loco 858 wdcc amp; sound ho 187 , fleischman 4171 clauss mafei ho class br 031001 dc era ii steam loco, tenshodo 164 ho brass great northern 484 class s1 steam loco



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