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Type H Tightlock couplers are a variety of Janney coupler, typically used on North American mainline passenger rail cars. They are designed with mechanical features which reduce slack in normal operation and prevent telescoping in derailments, yet remain compatible with other Janney types used by North American freight railroads.
Like all Janney couplers, the Tightlock is "semi-automatic" with the couplers on cars or locomotives automatically locking when cars are pushed together. However, most tightlock couplers are not fully automatic, as workers still need to go between cars to hook up the air lines for the pneumatic brakes, and connect cables for head-end power and other communications. Also, to separate cars, a worker needs to use a lever to move the locking pin that keeps the coupler closed.
In Europe, some operators experimented with making fully automatic tightlock couplers by adding integral pneumatic and electric connectors, but these connections experienced reliability issues. Most operators who experimented with fully automatic tightlock couplers have now switched to the more common fully automatic Scharfenberg coupler.
Janney Type H TightLock coupler standards were established by the Association of American Railroads. Management and development of the standard was transferred to the American Public Transportation Association in 1971 when passenger service was nationalized in the United States from most private railway companies to Amtrak.
On a standard-gauge railway, the nominal mounting height for the coupler (rail top to coupler center) is 33 inches (838 mm), with a 34 1⁄2 ± 1 inch (876 ± 25 mm) maximum height on empty cars and 31 1⁄2 ± 1 inch (800 ± 25 mm) minimum height on loaded cars.
Janney Type F InterLock couplers, often mistaken for the Type H Tightlock, are another variety, typical on North American gondola wagons that go through rotary dumpers.
Type H couplers are in widespread use on multiple unit passenger trains in the UK built from the mid 1970s onwards. The previous generation of slam door units fitted with Buckeye couplers had required a shunter to get down onto the track and stand between the two units to manually trip the coupler mechanism as well as connect or disconnect the air pipes and electrical jumper leads. In order to reduce staffing costs and cut down station dwell times, British Rail looked to incorporate an automatic coupler mechanism in its new power-door trains. Class 313 units were the first stock to incorporate this. Air-operated Tightlock couplers were chosen, together with underslung electrical connector boxes controlled by a Drum switch, and this allowed drivers to single-handedly attach or split a train without having to leave the cab.
Classes of train equipped included:
The Tightlocks were generally a success in the UK, but there were reliability issues and some notable incidents occurred where trains divided in service. The constant couple-uncouple cycles of heavy London commuter services caused the couplers' mechanisms to wear out faster than expected. Connex South Eastern's Networker fleet was particularly susceptible to this and the company blamed its drivers in the media,then changed its coupling instructions to drivers to include a "push-on, pull off" power test and visual inspection to ensure that the knuckles had engaged fully.
By the early 2000s the first batch of Bombardier Electrostar Class 375s had been built with Tightlock couplers for Connex South Central and Connex South Eastern, but it was quickly decided that Dellner couplingswould be preferable. All subsequent units were built with these, and their earlier examples were eventually modified.
All multiple-unit trains built for the UK since then have been equipped with Dellner couplings.
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The British Rail Class 377 Electrostar is a British dual-voltage electric multiple unit train (EMU) built by Bombardier Transportation at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works, from 2001 to 2014. The Electrostar family is the most numerous type of EMU built in the post-privatisation period of Britain's railways.
A coupling is a mechanism used to connect rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard, and is almost as important as the track gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together.
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A rotary car dumper or wagon tippler (UK) is a mechanism used for unloading certain railroad cars such as hopper cars, gondolas or lorries. It holds the rail car to a section of track and rotates the track and car together to dump out the contents. Used with gondola cars, it is making open hopper cars obsolete. Because hopper cars require sloped chutes in order to direct the contents to the bottom dump doors (hatches) for unloading, gondola cars allow cars to be lower, thus lowering their center of gravity, while carrying the same gross rail load. The "Double Rotary" coal gondola or coal hopper is required in this consist. The "Double Rotary" referring to these cars that has rotary couplers on both ends instead of one end.
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An electric multiple unit (EMU) is an electric train capable of operating in multiple with other EMUs that does not have a separate locomotive, typically passenger trains with accommodation in every vehicle and a driving position at each end. The term can also be used to describe a train such as the Advanced Passenger Train that was a permanent formation with a non-driving power car. As of December 2010 two thirds of the passenger carriages in Britain are formed in EMUs.
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple-unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages. An EMU is usually formed of two or more semi-permanently coupled carriages, but electrically powered single-unit railcars are also generally classed as EMUs. The great majority of EMUs are passenger trains, but versions also exist for carrying parcels and mail.
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The Scharfenberg coupler is a commonly used type of fully automatic railway coupling.
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SA3 couplers are railway rollingstock couplings used primarily in Russia and states influenced by the former Soviet Union, such as Finland, Mongolia, Ukraine,...
The railcar couplers or couplings listed, described, and depicted below are used worldwide on legacy and modern railways. Compatible and similar designs are frequently referred to using widely differing make, brand, regional or nick names, which can make describing standard or typical designs confusing. Dimensions and ratings noted in these articles are usually of nominal or typical components and systems, though standards and practices also vary widely with railway, region, and era. Transition between incompatible coupler types may be accomplished using Dual or Compromise couplings or a Barrier wagon.
The C-AKv is a fully automatic coupler design, also known as the Faiveley#Transpact (Brand#Model); it is a hybrid compatible with both European Buffer Chain and Russian SA-3 couplers, intended as an option for the long delayed EU transition to center buffer couplers. C-AKv is an abbreviation of Compact Automatische Kupplung vereinfacht in German, translating to Compact Automatic Coupler simplified in English.
The Rhaetian Railway Be 4/4 is a class of 11 kV 16.7 Hz AC metre gauge railcars operating under the traffic numbers 511–516 on the so-called core network of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB), which is the main railway network in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.
Janney couplers are a semi-automatic design, also known as American, AAR, APT, ARA, MCB, knuckle, or center-buffer couplers, which were first patented in 1873 by Eli H. Janney. Andrew Jackson Beard was amongst various inventors that made a multitude of improvements to the knuckle coupler; Beard's patents were U.S. Patent 594,059 granted 23 November 1897, which then sold for approximately $50,000, and U.S. Patent 624,901 granted 16 May 1899.
From time to time, a railway decides that it needs to upgrade its coupling system from one that is proving unsatisfactory, to another that meets future requirements. This can be done gradually, which can create many problems with transitional incompatibilities, or overnight, which requires much planning.
Dellner is a Swedish manufacturer of rail vehicle and other industrial components including couplers, dampers and brakes.