Link and Pins are a trademark of 1870's railroading. I tried a link and pin arrangement back in the early 1970's with a staple shaped link. I was going to use a magnet to insert the link. That didn't work well. This is an improved version of that idea. My future expanded layout is planned for OPERATION. This requires yard switching and cannot be done with the three piece prototype arrangement.
Roundhouse cars with HO knuckle couplers. The cars are too far apart and the couplers too big. I tried N knuckle couplers and they looked better but they were too small for reliable operation.
My original link back in the 1970's was just a steel staple and I was going to use a magnetic wand to insert them. The HO 1870's equipment (Mantua General) of the early 1970's ran so poorly that I abandoned the 1870's project. Right is the second generation link. The tab was transparent tape which has been eliminated.
Below is the final system.
This is my second version mockup.
The tape has now been eliminated and a prototype drawbar developed.
This is an 1870's era car with link and pin couplers. .
My system is for an OPERATING LAYOUT. It is not meant to be a museum diorama system but permit link and pin OPERATION and train movements on a large layout.
I have replaced the three piece "link and pin" with a "U" shaped staple. Using rectangular section staples and non-magnetic tweezers coupling and uncoupling is possible.
My system permits using coupling bar links on long wooden locomotive pilots. The track is grossly oversize Atlas Code 100 left over from the On30 days of the layout.
A train pausing for a photo at Wagon Road Creek. The system gives the cars close coupling.
A 23 car train pulled by an IHC 4-4-0 which at the left on my 4x8 layout. The arrow indicates the caboose. I have performed way freight operations with the system and is as easy as manual un-coupling HO knuckle couplers.
This is not a system for everyone. It permits train operation and gives the appearance of 1870's link and pin couplers. The links are no more intrusive than the "glandhands" on HO knuckle couplers.
Drawbars on a locomotive and a freight car.