Friday, October 16, 2020

Uncoupling Lever Brackets

 A common detail we add if not already present on freight cars are uncoupling levers.   To mount uncoupling levers on a freight car mounting brackets must be installed first.  A review of the “Dictionary Of Car Terms” in several Car Builders' Cyclopedias yields the following definition for an uncoupling lever bracket, “A bracket supporting the uncoupling lever on the end of the car.”  Coupler photos and diagrams including brackets for the Type E, top operated and Type E, bottom operated couplers below  are from the 1946 Car Builders’ Cyclopedia (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1946).

1946 Car Builders Cyclopedia Photo
(click or tap on this or any image to enlarge)

Type E, top mounted uncoupling lever
and brackets.

Type E, bottom mounted uncoupling lever
and brackets.

For our freight cars you can make the uncoupling lever brackets or purchase commercial ones to install uncoupling levers.  The most commonly used uncoupling lever brackets are eye bolts.  The eye bolts I have found available are bent from wire, made from plastic or photo etched.

Eye bolts I have found and purchased.

 Wire eye bolts can be bent by the modeler.  I bend eye bolts from .010” diameter or smaller brass or phosphor bronze wire with a Xuron #488, wire bending pliers.  I use a Xuron serrated needle nose pliers to close the eye and bend the eye shaft at times.  A Swiss side cutter is used to cut the fabricated eye bolt from the wire used to bend.

Eye bolts bent from Tichy Train Group #1100 .010"
diameter phosphor bronze wire.

Xuron wiring bending pliers and needle nose
and Swiss side cutter used for fabricating eye blots.

Eye bolts can be used for brackets to mount top or bottom mounted couplers.  All you have to do is drill holes with a #79 or # 78 drill and insert the eye bolts.

Type B, top mounted coupler with
eye bolt brackets.

Flat car with Type B, top mounted coupler with
eye bolt brackets.

A diagram showing a common way to install Type E bottom mounted uncoupling levers with eye bolt brackets was provided with Detail Associates #2615, uncoupling levers.  I use this install method; however, I do not use an eye blot in the draft gear (coupler box).  I bend the uncoupling lever wire on the draft gear end in a vertical position to install directly into the underside of the draft gear (coupler box). 

Uncoupling lever draft gear (coupler box) end
 mounted directly into a #79 hole drilled into
draft gear (coupler box) rather than using eye bolt.

Box car with Type E bottom operated
coupler with eye blot brackets.

Gondola with Type E bottom operated coupler
with eye bolt uncoupling lever bracket.

Eye bolts can also be used  in conjunction with resin cast or made pieces of the mounting bracket to make a complete mounting bracket.

Eye bolt combined with resin casting 
for uncoupling lever bracket.

Closer view of resin casting combined
with eye bolt for uncoupling lever barcket.

In addition, to eye bolt mounting brackets there are numerous other prototype uncoupling lever  mounting brackets.  A few examples of the prototype  type uncoupling brackets.

Ed Rethwisch Photo. 

Ed Rethwisch Photo.

Several of the other prototype type uncoupling lever brackets are commercially available or can be made.

Uncoupling lever brackets produced by
 Detail Associates, Resin Car Works and Yarmouth Model Work.

I have tried to use each type I have found and purchased on a freight car to see if I like using them.  Each type is effective.  

Uncoupling lever bracket is photo-etched
one from Yarmouth Models.

Front view of photo-etched
uncoupling lever bracket .

Cast resin mounting bracket used for
uncoupling lever mounting.

Besides using purchased uncoupling lever brackets I make one type of uncoupling lever bracket from Evergreen #291, .060” styrene angle.   The method to fabricate the styrene uncoupling lever bracket is not an original idea.  I saw this method used on a freight car in one of the many clinics I have attended and do not remember the presenter.  The photos that follow show the steps I take to make the uncoupling lever mounting bracket.

Side view of Evergreen .060" angle installed.

Front view of Evergreen .060" angle installed.

Bottom view of Evergreen .060" angle installed.

Installed angle shaped with PBL #803 Gate nippers.

Number 78 hole drilled in shaped 
uncoupling lever bracket.

Styrene uncoupling lever bracket with
uncoupling lever installed.

I hope you now have a greater appreciation for the simple uncoupling lever bracket supporting the uncoupling lever on your freight cars.   And, I hope you will make a few of the uncoupling lever brackets using styrene angle to bottom mount uncoupling levers for your freight cars.

A “Thank You” to Ed Rethwisch for the photos to help with showing prototype uncoupling lever brackets and for permission to use photos in this blog post.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please sign your comment with your name if you choose to leave one.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer