Trip pins keep them or cut them?

Nick Lorusso Dec 28, 2013


Coupler trip pins. Keep them or cut them?

  1. Keep

  2. Cut

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

    Need opinions. I don't do operations and the trip pins bug me. How many people keep them and how many cut them?
  2. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Well.....I have seen a LOT in various scales cut off. Kills all functionality, and why not go with old fashioned dummy fixed couplers?
    They are SUPPOSED to simulate air hoses.....if they snag, and the coupler height is right, two needlenose pliers will bend them properly.
    I won't use the silly things, so cut or no cut is immaterial to me.
    I figure Mantua couplers are just as "prototypical" as Kadees, so I use them!
  3. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Agreed. I don't usually cut them but in any case I don't use them.
  4. ratled

    ratled TrainBoard Supporter

    Cut em. They had their time and it has come and gone. The biggest dead give away of "It's a Model" is the trip pin.
    One less maintenance item and one less issue to deal with during ops

  5. Geep_fan

    Geep_fan TrainBoard Member

    magnetic uncoupling is cool and all, but I've always found it to be extremely picky about its operation. Murphys law dictates that a train that just happens to stop in the wrong place while switching will uncouple over the magnet, but the cars that you want to uncouple with the magnet will stick together like glue.

    At the local club, we usually leave the pins on because the layout was designed with coupling magnets in mind. We have a yard in the back with extremely close spacing between the tracks that extends beyond the reach of most humans, this kinda requires the pins to uncouple back there. However we do keep a fairly decent sized fleet of cars with the pins cut either on one end or both. Because me and the other long train modeler have engines with snowplows (and don't forget F units!) that just love to uncouple from the train when moving uphill. It actually makes a nice switching challenge when building a train, because if you know you have units with snowplows, you need to find an "idler" car to stick in the train at the front.

    At home I always cut the pins, I use bbq skewers to uncouple the cars from above. I operate trains that are heavy enough to cause coupler pockets to droop, and when they droop, the pins will usually find something that just happens to be of the height of the rails. Had a particularly nasty wreck that was caused when a drooping pin snagged a grade crossing mat while the car was being shoved during a switching move, this snag occurred at a speed that caused the entire coupler box to be torn out of the underside of the car, screw and all. since then I've been trimming the pins pretty regularly.

    Trimming the pins is also nice for modular groups, who sometimes won't have the worlds most level track or have modules that will not always conform to everybodys stuff.
  6. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Cutting them means you can never decide to use them in the future. Looks no more realistic since you don't have brakes. Install and adjust the couplers right and they won't matter.
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Lack of a trip pin looks much better, as the factory placement is completely wrong for any prototypical appearance. It is easy to install an aftermarket train line air hose detail part. Many of the HO people I know have not used magnetic uncoupling in a long time, preferring to use a pick instead.
  8. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Our club layout does both.
  9. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    I only cut them a little shorter so they won't snag on anything and I only cut them if they cause a problem. Trip pins are replaceable so if you want them in the future. I use BBQ skewers to uncouple in HO and Rix Pix in N.
  10. Flashwave

    Flashwave TrainBoard Member


    *ahem* sorry, i just couldnt help myself. Never met an uncoupling magnet i liked. The club has a few in a pax terminal, and theur great for when people simulatex cutting the engine and running a round in theterminal, AND KNOW HOW TO USE A MAGNET. But unfortunately, their spaced in such a perfect place that almsot ievitably, when you try to pull out, the last car usually gets left behind and you have to fish it out. And oh by the way, their is a second set of magnets at the other end of the platforms that also end up under a coupler, and shucks to be you if you wanted to leave in one piece.

    Me, i plan on switching to Sergent couplers just as soon as i get the balls ( ball bearings) to finish building the coupler kits ( i shot a few across an expo hall at a train show) so the first time a kadee trip pin on anything i run on the club gives ne a hassle, i hve no qualms with lopping it off.

    Sent from my LG-LS970 using Tapatalk
  11. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Still no clear direction here however the only functionality is for magnetic uncouplers? I wont be using them so i guess i will cut all mine as well
  12. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    That is their function.
  13. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    This is my policy. I don't use them, but like the look better with them than without. I usually bend them upward a bit to ensure there aren't any snags on some of my less than ideal grade crossings...and, have cut them on a few locomotive applications where they interfered with the front pilot on close coupling.
  14. RT_Coker

    RT_Coker TrainBoard Supporter

    I was about to bend or cut all the pins, when I discovered the technique of putting a slight down pressure on the coupler when checking and adjusting the pin height. I am now enjoying the using both static and electric magnetic uncoupling (well at least most of the time I am). Of course I am not yet into prototypical appearances and am still just in the initial “have-fun” stage.
  15. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    LOL. I am a firm believer in always staying in the "have-fun" stage!
  16. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    I have no couplers on my locos, or certainly none on the front coupler. Too easy to see it's a model in that one case...the trip pin. Bachmann Spectrum heavyweights are nice cars, 'cept for them dagnab crappy couplers they felt it was a great idea to burden their reputation with. :eek:hboy: Geez....

    I otherwise bend them so that they clear all the guard rails on my turnouts. I tend to leave them on rolling stock since they look like the glad hands from the side. In any case, I voted to cut since I do cut them in the case of the front couplers, some of the tender couplers, and on some heavyweight cars that end up snagging too much on the guard rails. BTW, this happens when Walthers heavyweights are run on curves tighter than about 28" least, that has been my own experience.
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Must be the same junk they used on their On30 rolling stock. Trip pins that fall out, Knuckles that over-center, and spread wide open...
  18. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

    I cut them off on cars equipped with more prototypical brake pipes installed. Otherwise I leave them on.

    Sent from my LG-P930 using Tapatalk 2
  19. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    It's a coin-toss, but in my opinion if the couplers are properly installed, and the trip pins have been properly bent using a trip-pin (or even just a small needle-nose) pliers, you should be all right. I have no uncoupling magnets on my layout, but after operating on one that used small neodyminium magnets installed on opposite sides of the track and clandestinely marked as to their location, I may give that a try if I can find the source. Otherwise, a wooden skewer or homemade uncoupling tool should take care of things. At worst, paint the trip pins black, with the tips brass or silver to resemble air hoses.

    I voted to keep 'em on, but this one looks pretty close, so it's a matter of whatever trips yer trigger.
  20. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I like the appearance better without the trip pins, but they can be used successfully and reliably if adjusted correctly and used with suitable magnets.

    Some years ago I built a layout specifically to be taken to shows around the UK. It was HO, but Belgian prototype. I used the large under track magnets mounted on the steel intensifier plate and fitted to small hinges. A thin piece of styrene was glued over a hole in the baseboard which allowed the magnet to fit close to the track underside. Normal position was for the magnets to hang vertically and they were only raised when needed for uncoupling, using brass rods in tube guides to the layout edges. The rod was bent at right angle under the magnet also at baseboard edge so easy to swing up the maget.

    Over a good many shows the uncoupling was faultless, a necessity, as much switching was carried out in industries.

    But for a layout with easy access for uncoupling by hand, I would rather cut the pins and fit 'proper' air hoses.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

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