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Discussion Starter #1
I'm "restoring" several Lionel 529/530 - 629/630 4-wheel passenger cars. Some think the consist would look better if the coupled cars were closer together, including me.

So does anyone have a solution? Modify the CP-7 couplers? Different latch couplers? Any ramifications to shortening the distance (e.g., no longer able to negotiate O-27 curves)?

Anyone tackle this issue before?

529 Cars.png
 

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Those are some really nice looking cars, and I can see your dilemma. Something you might consider though is how accurate your restoration will be with different couplers. You will significantly alter the value of the cars.

Many in 'tinscale' are particularly drawn to the toy like character of these trains and the bright colors. For them, like myself, the realism of the coupled cars is not necessary. Imagination is the essential key to 'toyscale.'

If you insist on closer couplers tab and slot is probably the way to go. Putting more realistic knuckle couplers on of any make is to my mind overkill.

But, what do I know?:dunno:

Good luck.
 

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I don't know how close is close for you, but if they are too close on a straight section, they may not negotiate a tight radius curve very well.

In European HO, cars are prototypically very close coupled. The bellows are almost touching on the straight sections. In a curve, the coupler arm is engineered to extend outward as it swings to allow close coupled cars more space in the curve. On the inside of the curve the bellows are nearly touching, but on the outside of the curve there is a considerable gap.
 

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You could try to see if a CP-9 would work. I’m unfamiliar with how the originals are attached. Possibly a photo of the bottoms, would help, to decide, if you are insistent on shortening the couplers.:dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Bob: Those aren't my cars, just a convenient pic that shows the distance between cars. I purposely chose cars on eBay that were already repainted, had major rust, etc. for a ground up restoration (e.g., sandblasted all the tin). More a renovation as I'm not using original Lionel colors. I passed on deals because the original was worth saving for somebody.

Doc: The CP-7: The end is bent up, inserted through a slot in the floor of the chassis, and twisted to keep it in place (left, below). I was thinking more of a new pivot point pulling the coupler in tighter (right, below). But the bend in the CP-7 doesn't allow much swing before hitting the chassis.

I think the CP-9 is flat (pic below -not sure). Without the bend, the CP-9 will allow a wider swing pulled in closer to the car than the CP-7. But I don't know how the shorter swing will react on curves. And I'll need 14 to 16 couplers. That may nix the whole idea.

coupler.png

coupler 2.png
 

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Mike, The CP-9 is listed on Olsen’s site as a “short” Coupler, that was typically used on the 1600 series cars, (027 size). The CP-7’s are longer, and have the compound bend, as shown in your upper photo. It’s a tough call, as to how the cars will react with closer couplers, and needing as many as you expect, it can be a pricey mistake. You might chance ordering 2, to experiment with just putting one on two of the cars, and coupling them together, for a trial run. It’s just an idea, worth a try. Olsen has them priced at $3.85 apiece, so I would check Jeff Kane’s or Brasseurs price, to find the cheapest.
Ttender.com= $3.00
Brasseurs=$2.50
Olsen=$3.85
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mike, The CP-9 is listed on Olsen’s site as a “short” Coupler, that was typically used on the 1600 series cars, (027 size). The CP-7’s are longer, and have the compound bend, as shown in your upper photo. It’s a tough call, as to how the cars will react with closer couplers, and needing as many as you expect, it can be a pricey mistake. You might chance ordering 2, to experiment with just putting one on two of the cars, and coupling them together, for a trial run. It’s just an idea, worth a try. Olsen has them priced at $3.85 apiece, so I would check Jeff Kane’s or Brasseurs price, to find the cheapest.
Ttender.com= $3.00
Brasseurs=$2.50
Olsen=$3.85
Lots of good info, thanks Doc.
 

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The main part of the original couplers is close to the design of the slot and tab couplers. I would attempt to make tab and slot couplers to replace the original, BUT KEEP THE ORIGINALS. Don't drill or modify the original cars in any way. JMHO.
If you search eBay you will find listings for Marx couplers that should work great. And from what I see should almost be a straight out exchange of the two. Earlier Joyline couplers have a round hole instead of a slot, they may give you the extra swing you need in tight radius'.

Dan
 

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Mike, The CP-9 is listed on Olsen’s site as a “short” Coupler, that was typically used on the 1600 series cars, (027 size). The CP-7’s are longer, and have the compound bend, as shown in your upper photo. It’s a tough call, as to how the cars will react with closer couplers, and needing as many as you expect, it can be a pricey mistake. You might chance ordering 2, to experiment with just putting one on two of the cars, and coupling them together, for a trial run. It’s just an idea, worth a try. Olsen has them priced at $3.85 apiece, so I would check Jeff Kane’s or Brasseurs price, to find the cheapest.
Ttender.com= $3.00
Brasseurs=$2.50
Olsen=$3.85
I'm liking 'Doc's CP-9 idea. I think that's the best option, though I do agree: try just a pair on mated cars, and see (via experimentation) how they work through turn radius, switches, etc.

Cheers,

TJ
 
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