May 13, 2018

Modified Extended Links for Prototypical Operation

The recent episodes where operators were poling cars on my railroad convinced me that I needed to do something about the extended links on my locos. Up to now, I had a rule in the operator's instructions that prohibited the use of the extended links. However, the USMRR Aquia Line, and railroads in general in this era, used the extended links on the pilot beams routinely for switching. To be true to prototype, I needed to have operating extended links on the front pilots.
New link on Fury

The problem with my model locos is that the extended links did not swing left and right enough to operate reliably on my railroad. The clevis and pintle of the stock models were true scale size. While they looked great they didn't allow reliable operation. Furthermore, the link of Fury had disappeared. So that was the first modified link I built. I used a piece of 0.032 inch phosphor bronze rod with parts made from 0.010 inch stainless steel parts left over from one of my photo etched frets.
I was able to use the existing pintle on the pilot beam, I just had to drill out the existing hole to accept a .015 inch phosphor bronze rod. The design gave me adequate left and right swing.

New link on Fury showing how it
connects to a freight car
On Haupt, and Whiton I was able to use the existing links. I just had to modify the hole for the coupler pin by drilling it with a 1/16th inch bit and I drilled out the pintle and clevis to accept the 0.015 inch rod.  On McCallum, the clevis had a different design. All I had to do was bend the clevis jaws by using my fingers to achieve adequate swing.

The video above shows the new extended links in operation. These new links will improve the operational flexibility on my layout allowing operators to switch from both ends of the engines. This will also make the layout operate in a more prototypical manner. The only caveat will be when pushing long cuts of cars off the nose. We will have to do more testing to find the limit, but initial tests show 6 cars is not a problem.

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