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Thread: Question about Couplers w/ MU Hoses

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    Default Question about Couplers w/ MU Hoses

    Guys -- ok, gonna show my ignorance about prototypes...

    Got some of these Kato couplers (10-721). It seems like these could possibly be used on locos as well as for passenger cars - is that correct?

    Is there any type of freight that they could be used for (wondering about what actually has MU hoses I guess)?


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    Locomotives** almost exclusively use MU hoses. The term is "multiple unit." Two functions -- braking control and electrical connectivity.

    In addition to the main brake pipe adjacent to the coupler, the smaller hoses are (from the coupler out) for the main reservoir, actuating, and either independent brake cylinder or actuating-and-release. I had an old head back in 1990 explain it to me as "I AM Brian" (outside in).

    The cable is for the 27-pin electrical connection between the locomotives. A whole slew of stuff there, from sanders to throttles to lights.

    ** I'm including subway, interurbans, and other rapid transit.
    Last edited by Paul Schmidt; 2nd Jun 2018 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Added more clarity
    Paul Schmidt

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    You'd also find them on MU electric passenger cars. NJ transit loco hauled cars or any push-pull consist. That's how the cab car runs the loco remotely.
    Cheers,

    Russ

    CEO of Devil's Gate Mining Co.



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    Quote Originally Posted by mosslake View Post
    You'd also find them on MU electric passenger cars. NJ transit loco hauled cars or any push-pull consist. That's how the cab car runs the loco remotely.
    Cool thanks -- so basically whenever there is a cab at both ends of a passenger train or when each car in a passenger train is powered?

    These style couplers are not nearly as useful as I thought they would be. I guess it is easy to snip off the MU hose parts...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac View Post
    Cool thanks -- so basically whenever there is a cab at both ends of a passenger train or when each car in a passenger train is powered?
    Yep, on the push-pulls it's how the cab on the non-powered end controls to locomotive.
    Paul Schmidt

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    Mac

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    Thanks for the info. How do distributed power units work, when the extra loco may be in the middle or at the end of a long freight train? Are these radio controlled or is there a physical hookup throughout the train? I always assumed it was by radio? And if by radio, then why do front-end units need MU hoses?

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    Radio link, @Mac. The concept has been around since the 1960s. I know the Northern Pacific tried it.**

    But the reliability and size of the equipment made it less practical until, oh, the mid 1990s. Sure, the Southern was using mid-train radio helpers in the late 1970s into the NS merger. But they needed a boxcar to hold the radio equipment for the slave units.

    Think of MU'd locomotives as in essence being one unit. Building blocks of horsepower controlled from one cab. Radio links to the DPUs and EOT from the lead unit on the head-end.

    I suppose you could use radio to link all the head-end power rather than MU. I suppose it's been experimented with. Apparently the current way of doing things works better. Crews just have to link with one or two DPUs that may be MU'd to another unit instead of trying to establish and test links with three to seven, eight, nine, whatever units individually. And what happens if one won't link and you have to connect the MU hoses anyway? Maybe there's a capacity limit to the quantity of Tx/Rx handshakes the head-end can make. Maybe it stresses the telemetry too much having all radio and no MU.

    **I believe NP shelved using remote radio units after waffling a freight train inside Stampede Pass tunnel. IIRC, the radio link failed. Someone else may be better versed in the details.
    Paul Schmidt

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    Hamersley Iron, one of the iron ore railways in north Western Australia (now owned by Rio Tinto) uses 'Locotrol' one type of radio remote control of DP locos (all the Pilbura iron ore railways used it or other brands and still do). A story I heard from a veteran engineer on that line was the midtrain helper wasn't set up properly and they dragged it 400km out to the mine with it in reverse. At the time they had a fleet of Alco C628, C630 & M630 locos.
    Last edited by mosslake; 18th Jun 2018 at 03:59 AM. Reason: additional information
    Cheers,

    Russ

    CEO of Devil's Gate Mining Co.



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