A draw bar between ore cars?

Bourkinafasso Oct 18, 2010

  1. Bourkinafasso

    Bourkinafasso TrainBoard Member

    Guys, :tb-biggrin:

    I'm thinking of replacing these *#!!@GRRR :ru-mad:accumate couplers by home made drawbars...

    The general idea is to make several 4 unit ore car groups. all groups of 4 will have MT couplers at each end. I think i can insert the drawbar in the accumate coupler box but have never done that before.
    Any pictures, ideas or experiences welcome
  2. ArtinCA

    ArtinCA TrainBoard Member

    I've seen people use Rapido couplers and cut them to form an I then use that as a drawbar.
  3. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

    I tried this and could never get the cars to stay on the tracks. I even changed all the wheel sets to MT, and still no good. I finally changed all the trucks to MT and now my 32 car ore train is a joy to move, with Alcos of course.
  4. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    I seem to remember a real railroad doing this in 4 car sets. It was successful, but the railroad had the same problem you will have. If something goes wrong with one car, all the cars in that set are out of action until fixed.
    A small flat piece of black styrene would make a drawbar, pinned through the coupler pocket with almost anything, even track nails, and the pins glued in place.
    I've found a discussion about them in another forum:
  5. Delamaize

    Delamaize TrainBoard Member

    [​IMG]I did this years ago, Easiest ways to accomplish this is like you were saying, go get some strip styrine that is about .02-.04 smaller than the accumate couplers. figure out your desired coupled leignth, and have at it!! attached is a bad MS paint rendering, since I don't have pictures of the real thing.
  6. raysaron

    raysaron TrainBoard Supporter

    I seem to recall that railroads that used drawbars between ore cars then painted the vertical frame members on the end cars with a contrasting color (white?) to show where the couplers were.
  7. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Member

    Somebody makes a drawbar that looks like 2 T-shank couplers put together minus the coupler. Walthers or Con-Cor perhaps? Meant to be used with their multi-unit double stack cars.
  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    Seems to me this would be an outstanding product opportunity for a small company to produce. There must be 100s of 1000s of them out there. I know I have about 40. At least 15 of them are from the 70s with the metal wheels.
  9. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

    But why?

    If a regular coupler breaks, just replace it. Less rustration, less cost, less time and effort. Admittedly, I like the easier way to do things, but is there an artistic or esthetics reason to do it?
  10. Kenneth L. Anthony

    Kenneth L. Anthony TrainBoard Member

    One of my "thinking about it" projects- haven't done it yet. My change of layout theme has made ore cars once more usable. I have been thinking of putting my old ore carts back in service in 4 car sets, putting MTL couplers on the end cars and replacing the old Arnold Rapido style couplers on the middle cars with inexpensive Accumate couplers GLUED TOGETHER so they function like a drawbar.

    How to make a plastic (ie non-conducting) drawbar strong enough (ie not cobbled together from thin styrene): go to a craft store, get some plastic mesh made for needlepoint grid, cut out a piece with a shaft and a T-piece on each end.
  11. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    I think the key is, less (zero) chance of uncoupling, and cost. (assuming you are going to replace the coupler anyway for some reason, like uncoupling/exploding/ugliness) For unit trains that seldom get split up, having sets of cars makes sense.

    I think it would be cool to have a close couple draw bar, with the couplers molded into the middle. So, a single chunk of plastic that functions as a drawbar but look like two couplers connected. You could do the same thing by just gluing some of the RC couplermate couplers together I guess, but they don't look quite as good as what I am envisioning.
  12. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    Not entirely sure what the issue is here....

    Are you irritated at the 'exploding coupler' syndrome or pull-aparts?

    The exploding coupler issues I've seen are linked to the box design and I don't think a drawbar will help, just fewer pieces to find... I've seen enough situations where a truly hard couple would knock everything apart.

    Pull aparts are another animal entirely.

    I'm using Red Caboose unimates between powered units dedicated in MU service, and on some freight and passenger cars that weren't worth converting to MT's - either rarely used or too difficult - replacing Rapidos with those.
  13. MioneRR

    MioneRR TrainBoard Member

    I think the drawbar was Mocalava's first product. I tried them, but they didn't work for me; too fragile, too much flash.
    The biggest reason for me to drawbar them is for closer spacing. With Rapidos or knuckle couplers the spacing between cars is enormous.
  14. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    There was an article in one of the N scale RR mags about creating a drawbar out of a "T" shank Rapido coupler so that it formed a double "T" sort of like this: l-l
    I tried it and it worked very well. I have been trying to find the magazine it was in but no luck.
  15. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Well as luck would have it, I found a reference to it. It is the March/April 2005 issue of N Scale Railroading.
  16. GaryHinshaw

    GaryHinshaw TrainBoard Member

    I have made drawbars between MT coupler pockets for a set of Walthers well cars, the same concept as show in Delamaize's drawing. Below are some photos that are hopefully self-explanatory. Aside from "exploding" couplers, this scheme makes it easy to close-couple the ore cars, but the articulated sets are a bit tricky to handle. They operate very reliably though.


  17. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

    There's always the option of using a Unimate or the new ConCor coupler in place of the drawbar, and those operating MTs on the ends of the 4 car units.

    That would allow easily removing specific cars for maintenance.
  18. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I use the cut-down rapidos. Works well and is pretty close coupled. I once tried eight-car units--it doesn't work, especially with 70s era cars. I tried super-gluing Accumates once--it doesn't work. The cars are still far apart, and there's not enough play. As Accumates are acetal plastic, they will still explode--perhaps even more so, given the restriction in play.

    I've used body-mounted drawbars on coal hoppers. The biggest problem is ensuring enough vertical play, at least on my railroad, which had some abrupt vertical transitions at first. There's nothing flimsy about .020 styrene--too tight in the vertical dimension and the drawbars threw cars off the transitions. Painted black, they are pretty inconspicuous.

    BTW, the 70s era ore cars have king-pin or bolster holes that disintegrate over a long period of time (what, just 35 years?) when I tried to swap out new trucks. A little epoxy and body putty reinforcement fixed those problems.
  19. Bourkinafasso

    Bourkinafasso TrainBoard Member

    In my opinion, the main goals of drawbars are :
    - Avoid unwanted uncoupling with accumate
    - Spare some money by not replacing every accumate trucks by MT trucks
    - closer coupling

    What you've done is exactly what i'd like to do:thumbs_up:.
    Although, i want to keep the accumate trucks (and coupler box) i'm pretty sure it will work well to.
    Can you give us any others info's and tips. Especially how you drill the holes without ruining the drawbar?
  20. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

    I use cut down Rapido couplers in five car groups, with MT's at the end of each group, mainly to replicate the close coupling between the cars (see proto pic; there's hardly any room between them). Of course the cars need to be weighed, they come way too light, especially the early runs. About .8oz per car works for me.
    Regards, Otto

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