Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 link shunting pole

Coupling hook

At the start of the Leamington show, I was missing a vital piece of equipment for an O gauge layout - a shunting pole.

Unlike every other model railway layout I've built, the couplings are accurate 3-link chains. They are coupled and uncoupled with a hook. Admittedly, modellers don't normally use a hook that is particularly accurate but that's because we are doing the "big hand of God" thin and coming at the job from above rather than the side.

We are also peering into a dark hole between two wagons. Tradition has it that model shunting poles are wire hooks attached to small torches.

I looked everywhere for a suitable torch. A dozen pound shops in Central Birmingham. Each one could sell me a big chunky torch but only the last, in one of the less fashionable areas, sold something suitably small. It seems that these things are easily available except when you want one!

Anyway, on the Saturday morning, I bent a bit of 0.9mm brass wire and taped it to the head of the torch using some masking tape pinched off the organiser who'd been using it to mark out the floor. The resulting tool worked a treat. I should have made the wire 10 mm or so longer for working between vans, but apart from that, perfect. Even the cheap tape held for two days of use.

I'll probably make a few more of these, and doubtless they will appear here. If anyone has suggestions for improving the breed, please let me know.


Matt Dawson said...

Maybe coat the handle in something so when people develop sweaty hands they don't drop the torch and hit the scenery?

Phil Parker said...

If they are that sweaty, they will dripping on the scenery! Fortunatly, my layouts are only operated by cool dudes.