Coach Fittings

The external fittings on coaches were, after the earlier years of the railways, fairly standard so that new coaches could work with older ones and coaches moving between different railways could be connected together if required. Some of the detail from the coach ends is reproduced below.

Although modern coaches were fitted with automatic couplers, coaches needed to have a coupling hook for use with older, non-automatic coupling-fitted stock, and the end coach of a rake needed to have a coupling hook for use with the locos, which were fitted with screw link couplings. The solution to this was to have a fitment that combined the older coupling hook and the more modern automatic coupler, all in one unit.

Coach end Here the coupler is in the "down" position with the hook exposed and available for receiving the loco's coupling link. To raise the coupler the pin that can be seen protruding on the left-hand side is removed, the coupler lifted and the pin re-inserted through the coupling hook. The pin has a pivoting tail piece that must be seen to have fallen down (through 90°) to ensure the coupler cannot come off the hook. The chain on the right is connected to an uncoupler lever for when coaches coupled using the automatic coupler need to be separated.

The hose on the right is for steam heat, with the shut-off cock above, and that on the left for the vacuum brake.

photograph by Peter Richards

When using the automatic coupling the buffers need to be in the "short" position, and when using the coupling hook in the "long" position. Here the buffer is in the latter position and is kept there by a saddle that simply sits on the buffer shank. This is the piece of metal that can just be seen attached to the chain. To change the buffers to the "short" position the saddle is removed and the buffer simply pushed into its housing, with the saddles hung from the hooks provided.

photograph by Peter Richards

Coach end
Coach end A close-up view showing the buffer in the "long" position with the saddle in place to keep it there.

The vacuum pipe can be seen to be sitting on a dummy coupling to ensure that no air may enter the system whilst this vehicle is not coupled to another.

photograph by Peter Richards

Here two coaches are coupled together using the automatic coupler, so the buffers are in the "short" position. Note that the saddles are hanging on the hooks provided and the buffers are pushed fully home.

The metal pipes with angled bottoms are for filling the water tanks for the lavatories. A hose is simply pushed onto the bottom of the pipe to do this.

The vacuum pipes are connected but as this photograph was taken during the summer the steam heating pipes are not!

photograph by Peter Richards

Coach end
Coach end In order that the Guard may switch the lights on and off as necessary the coaches are fitted with through lighting connections. Here the platformside jumpers can be seen securely connected, another pair is on the opposite side of the coaches. The chains are to prevent the cables from swinging about too much when the coach is at the end of a rake and the jumpers have no others to plug in to (as can be seen in the top photo).

photograph by Peter Richards

These two non-corridor coaches, SECR "hundred seater" Nº971 and LBSCR "Brighton Bogie First" Nº7598 are not fitted with automatic couplers but use the older screw link couplings. Note that the buffers are held tightly together. This avoids the posibility of the motion of the train making the coaches move in relation to each other which would be both dangerous and most unpleasant for the passengers.

Although it is a little dark between these coaches the coupling can be seen quite well, as can the lighting connections and the vacuum pipes. The through lighting was not fitted to these vehicles until many years after they entered Bluebell service. Prior to that the lighting had to be turned on manually - woe betide the Guard who forgot a tunnel was in the section following the next station stop!

The steam heating pipe on 971 is just visible and it can be seen that it is not connected to the corresponding one on 7598 - not surprising given the weather!

photograph by Colin Duff

Coach end

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This page was last updated 22 November 2003

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