The new automatic railway coupling illustrated below is the invention of Mr. Richard Hill, and has been practically developed by Mr. B.H. Thwaite, of Liverpool. It will be seen that the system is somewhat similar to the parallel motion when in action.
The catch and peculiarly shaped hooks slide over the cross and catch bars. These latter turn horizontally on a central pivot attached to the jaw end of the drawbar. The cross catch bars adjust themselves to the direction of the line of pull in the drawbar. The cranking of the drawbar allows for the deflection of the buffer springs.
The arrangement of uncoupling, or throwing hooks out of gear, is extremely simple and effective. The cranked part of the rod passing across the end of the wagon, and with handles at each end workable from the 6 ft. way, is attached to the catch hooks by means of a light chain. On throwing the handle over, and against the end of the wagon, the crank moves over and below the center, lifting up the catch into a position out of range of action, and from this position it cannot fall except it is released by the shunter. A shackle and links hang from the end of the drawbar for attachment to ordinary wagons.
After a long and costly series of experiments the form of coupling shown in illustration was adopted. Part of the experimental couplings used were made by the Hadfield Steel Foundry Company, but the couplings used at a recent trial at Gloucester were forged by the Gloucester Wagon Company.
AN ENGLISH CAR COUPLING.
The trial couplings were applied to old and worn-out coal wagons, varying in relative heights and widths of buffers, and the tests were:
1. Coupling and uncoupling, and passing coupled round curves of less than two chains radius. 2. Coupling under rapid transit movement and violent shock. 3. Coupling under slow movement, the wagons being shunted together by two shunters. 4. Wagons brought violently together while the coupling hooks were lifted out of action, to test the rigidity of the hooks in this position. 5. Tested in competition with the ordinary coupling stock.
The trial was a success. The new automatic coupling satisfactorily underwent the various conditions, and it was proved that: 1. It can be lifted out of action with one hand and quite easily. 2. It can be coupled and uncoupled six times as fast as with the pole hook in the daytime. At night this advantage would be considerably increased.
The coupling is strong as well as elastic in its parts, and adjusts itself to the various conditions of traction.--Engineering.
[Continued from SUPPLEMENT, No. 597, page 9539.]