Kadee Couplings and Keen corridor connections
by Anthony McDiarmid

It was the case some years ago that Kadee's magnets didn't provide realistic uncoupling from the point of view that you needed magnets all over the place, which was one reason I didn't adopt them for a previous layout. However now a number of magnet types are provided, (fixed track magnets, undertrack invisible magnets, and underbaseboard eletro magnets). In addition Kadees now provide the option for delayed uncoupling, One magnet in a yard throat will allow realistic shunting, as the shunting loco needs to pass to and fro across the yard throat area as it places wagons in different sidings. So a magnet placed in the throat area, will allow the loco to uncouple one or more wagons from the train being shunted, and propel them to where they will be left, without recoupling. In addition supurous uncoupling used to be a minor problem on occasions with the visible between the rails magnets, but with the newer undertrack magnet this problem seems to have vanished as well.
Kadees OO works 700 class Black Motor with Kadee (No 5) glued to nickel silver chassis.

photograph: Anthony McDiarmid

Heljan class 33 with Kadee No 18, retracted buffers and extended rubbing plate.

photograph: Anthony McDiarmid

No Kadees AJ Models 2HAL with a Romford screw link coupling, just to show not everything gets fitted with Kadees. This also prevents my German operators from coupling HALs to 2Hs!!!

photograph: Anthony McDiarmid

Hornby Bullied tenders. Modified (with No18) and original (with No 5) Kadees.

photograph: Anthony McDiarmid



*Bachmann Mk 1's:* Clip fit No 20.
*Bachmann BR GUV* bogie vans: Clip fit No 20.
*Bachmann Bullieds*: No 5 glued to top of old coupling plate (old coupling cut off).
*Bachmann Collets*: Unscrew old coupling. Then superglue any spare No:17/18/19 or 20 to underside of coupling plate. Kadee jaw should be just proud of buffers.
*Bachmann LMS Bogie GUV's*: Remove old coupling, and glue any spare No 17/18/19 or 20 to underside of remaining plate so that Kadee jaw is just proud of buffers.
*LIMA Siphon G* - Use Bachmann Collet bogies to replace Lima ones, coupling as Collet coaches.
*Hornby Pullman* *Brakes*: Unscrew Hornby coupling. Remove 2mm of screw fitting column. Use a strip of brass wide enough to drill a hole in for the Hornby screw and glue any spare No 17/18/19 or 20 Kadee under the brass strip. Rescrew to shortened screw fitting column. Kadee jaw should be just proud of buffers.
*Hornby Maunsell Coaches*: Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby Gresleys*: Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby (ex Dapol) LMS twelve wheeled restaurant*: Remove old coupling. Glue 1mm thick piece of plasticard to top of remains of old coupling plate. Then glue Kadee No5 on top of the plasticard.
*Hornby Maunsell Van C*:Clip fit No 19.
*Parkside Dundas Maunsell Covcar:* NEM pocket now provided in kit so clip fit No 19

*LOCOMOTIVES (Tender locos Kadee on tender only)*
*Hornby rebuilt BB/WC:* Clip fit No 19.
*Hornby unrebuilt BB/WC*: Glued No 18 after removal of old coupling and part of old mounting!
*Hornby rebuilt Merchant Navy*: Clip fit No 19.
*Hornby "Grange 68xx"* Clip fit No 17.
*Hornby M7*: Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby T9* (Bogie tender version) Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby King Arthur*: Clip fit No 17.
*Hornby Schools*: Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby Q1*: Clip fit No 19.
*Hornby (LMS) Black 5*: Old coupling removed and No 5 glued under floor.
*Hornby Brittania*: Clip fit No 18.
*Hornby Class 31 diesel*: Clip fit No 19.
*Hornby ED Class 73*: Cut off hoop of old coupling. Glue No 5 to top of remaining plate.
*Bachmann GWR 45xx 2-6-2T*: Clip fit No 19.
*Bachmann GWR Hall 49xx 4-6-0 Hawksworrth tender:* Remove old coupling No 5 glued under bufferbeam.
*Bachmann GWR 8750 0-6-0PT*: Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann Lord Nelson*: Remove old coupling and superglue and spare No 17/18/19 or 20 to underside of remaining mounting plate so coupling jaw is just proud of buffers.
*Bachmann N class 2-6-0:* Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann Fairburn 2-6-4T*: Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann Fowler Crab 2-6-0:* Clip fit No 19.
*Bachmann BR Std class 5 4-6-0:* Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann BR Std class 4 4-6-0*: Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann BR Std class 4 2-6-0:* Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann BR std class 4 2-6-4T*: NEM pockets at wrong height!
*Bachmann WD 2-8-0:* Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann BR Std class 9F 2-10-0*: Clip fit No 18.
*Bachmann Class 44/45/46* *1-Co-Co-1 diesel*. NEM slot in bogie front to high, enlarge hole and glue No 18 in place. Fill old hole.
*Bachmann Warship diesel*: Clip fit Kadee No 18.
*Heljan Class 33*: Clip fit No 18.
*Heljan Class 47*: Clip fit No 18.
*DC/Fox kits Class 71*: No 5 glued behind hole made in front skirt (at appropriate height).

Haven't started fitting wagons yet. BUT many wagons still come fitted with all sorts of silly old mounting systems, which may require Kadee No5s where the available mount isn't at the correct height. If the mounting co-incides with Kadee required height, then NEM types 17-20 can often be glued to the underside of whatever is there!
NEW wagon models from Hornby & Bachmann seem to be coming with NEM pockets, so hopefully they've got the pockets at the right height and most likely shorter No 17 & No 18's will be the most common types required. Dapol - well I haven't found a wagon with NEM pockets yet, but I suspect the latest models from this supplier will come fitted with NEM pockets.

As Bahmann & Hornby operate to the Japanese "Batch Production" system, it is likely that most models (particulalry locos) will be fitted with NEM pockets next time around.
You'll note the non SR items in the above list. As I'm modelling Basingstoke 1957-67 Most of these non SR items passed through Basingstoke on Inter-regionals, such as Collett coaches on the Wolverhampton-Portsmouth services, and the Gresleys on the Newcastle-Bournemouth. Some other models such as the LIMA class 117 DMMU I'll be fitting with screw link couplings, as such a model isn't likely to couple with anything else chugging through Basingstoke. This also applies to my older EMU's such as HAL's and BIL's which never actually went to Basingstoke in service, as the voltage (750-800vDC) was to high for these old stalwarts which couldn't cope with more than 660vDC normally.

Kadee couplings come for all scales from 3.5mm to 19mm except 4mm (where 3.5mm couplers will suffice).

Modelling the corridor connections.

Having basically solved the coupling problem, corridor coaches posed another problem. This being the problem of corridor connections. I dislike the idea of passengers having to do a long jump between coaches. As the Kadee couplings allow for coaches to be coupled so that corridor connections touch this is fine on straight track, but as model corridor connections from Hornby/Bachmann aren't flexible, derailment on curves would result. Having perused the pages of Railway Modeller, I found "Keen Systems", advertising a number of coupling and FLEXIBLE corridor connection alternatives, and SR stock featured quite prominently in their advert. As flexible corridor connections are not a new idea, (I had ones made out of cartridge paper my father made just after the last war), I had a chat with Keen systems to ascertain more details on how their system worked, and any limitations. I happily puchased a couple of dozen for initial installation on my Bachmann Bullieds. Their system is well designed and produced, as the parts have to be clean and crisp to function smoothly. Simple to assemble, the hardest thing is to disassemble the coach to actually fit the new parts.

Keen The Keen Systems flexible corridor connection parts (in this case for Bullied coaches) with new corridor bellows, Small plate with hole in also acts as jig to drill hole for the sprung main corridor end plate (note prong on main plate) and spring and retaining washer (adjustable to suit increase/decrease amount of springing).

photograph: Anthony McDiarmid

As the SR operated so much of its stock in sets, some end vehicles need NOT have a sprung corriodor connection fitted, with obvious savings. Much of the sprung connection is within the rigid frame (which is also supplied to replace the one fitted by the manufacturer. This is imperitive in the case of the Bachmann Bullieds, as the rubberised connection on these models as they come is useless, and prone to warpage). In addition I didn't want to increase the distance between vehicles to accomodate an un-naturally long sprung connection (as was the case with the old fashioned cartridge paper type, which simply filled the gap). The new connections allowed me to have the rigid corridor parts only a couple of millimetres apart, with the sprung plates filling the small gap. Having tested the connections, I then fitted the Kadee couplings only to the outer ends of my Bullied sets. I used the No5 (with it's own pocket), as Bachmann Bullieds don't yet come with NEM pockets. Conveniently the No 5 Kadee simply glues to the top of the coupling plate on the Bachmann bogie, having first cut off most of the ugly tension lock coupler, to obtain the correct Kadee coupler height. Between vehicles in my Bullied sets I use a simple piece of brass rod bent each end. One end is glued into a hole drilled in the remains of the coupling plate, and the other end hooked into a slightly oversize hole in the coupling plate of the next vehicle. This type of semi-permanent set coupler, being both quick to make and install and of negligable cost. Obviously the length of the brass rod (1mm dia) can be made longer or shorter to suit the sharpest curve on your layout. Some adjustment of the Keen systems corridor connections are also possible to fill a larger gap if unlike me you don't have minimum 6ft radius curves.

Hornby Pullmans, like the Bachmann Bullieds, don't yet come with NEM pockets, and here I had a bit of a think, as there was insufficent space for a Kadee No5 in its own pocket. The Pullman models come with the tension lock coupler screwed to a sliding expanding arm, and not wanting to loose this benefit (which allows closer coupling even on Hornby track kiddy curves), I checked to see what height a glued or screwed Kadee (Nos 17-20) would be. This revealed another problem in that the screw and tension lock coupling are lower than a Kadee must be. The solution was to remove the screw, washer and tension lock coupling, and then remove with a scalpel 2mm of the barrel shaped screw monting part. I then cut a piece of thin brass strip 5mm wide, and 11mm long. Snipped the corners off one end so it fitted into the C shaped recess of the bogie end, drilled a hole in it to take the Hornby screw, (minus the washer) and screwed it into the remaining barrel shaped part on the end of the sliding arm. To the underside of the little strip of brass I superglued a Kadee No 18, after roughening the surface of both the brass and the Kadee coupling shank (for a stronger superglue bond). Being the end vehicle of my ten car Bournemouth Belle rake, the buffers were still in the extended sprung mode, so the coupling was positioned so the jaw was just proud of the buffers (about 1mm). Coupled to a Hornby Bullied tender (also with sprung buffers) the buffers just touch on my sharpest 6ft radius curve, with very little gap on the straight.

One final note here is the problem of buffers. As mentioned in relation to the real thing, buffers are superfluous when Buckeye and Pullman type corridor connections are in use. (Some Maunsell loco hauled coaches, even had their buffers removed within sets!). Good old Hornby have happily added working buffers to both their lovely Maunsell and Pullman models. These realistically should NOT spring, when within a set. The buffer is in reality retracted, so that the Rubbing Bar on the bottom of the corridor connection is proud of the buffers, as IT becomes the buffer, when the buckeye immediately below it is in use. I therefore remove the spring from the Hornby buffer, and glue the buffer as far in as it will go. Only the buffers on the outer ends of sets where they will couple to a loco, do I leave in its supplied sprung state. This fact also means the Hornby class 73, and Heljan class 33/1 need their buffers retracted, and on the Hornby 73, the rubbing plate extended slightly to be proud of the buffers,(it appears too close to the bodywork), if your model is going to normally haul passenger stock! These models also look so much better with a Kadee buckeye fitted.

Visit the Kadee website
and the Keen website

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This page was last updated 24 August 2009

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