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The Care and Feeding of LGB Knuckle Couplers

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photo of lgb knuckle couplerFrom a performance and operational point of view, the LGB Knuckle coupler is hard to beat. On the other hand, they look big and clunky and only approximate the appearance of prototype knuckle couplers. This is your typical trade between form and function.

The coupler is designed so that steady pressure with the knuckles open will not cause them to latch, but a light tap will close and latch them. This allows a cut of cars to be uncoupled at the location of an automatic uncoupling track section or where they can be manually reached and then pushed to their final location and left there. Unlike Kadee couplers, if the uncoupled couplers drift apart for some reason, they will not recouple again if rejoined lightly.

LGB Knuckle couplers are very strong and will not uncouple by themselves as some other brands do. They can be uncoupled manually without difficulty (unlike Kadee's which are fairly difficult to manually uncouple). They mount easily on all LGB, Bachmann and MDC rolling stock and with minor modifications they will mount to Aristo as well. Mounting on Lionel can be a problem depending on which car or engine is involved but it usually can be done.

One significant drawback, besides their terribly out-of-scale size, is their price. At about $5 each, they can be a significant investment. Other brands can be found cheaper, but none other works as well. LGB Knuckles and Kadee couplers manually couple fairly reliably and can be used together. No two other types integrate as well.

Remote uncoupling requires an LGB 1056 uncoupling track. The portable manual uncouplers that can be used with hook/loop couplers cannot be used with the knuckles because the couplers will uncouple when dragged over them every time.

Out of the bag the couplers typically don't work very well. They need just a little work before their true performance capability can be realized. This is the subject of this tip page.

For the couplers to work properly, the latch pin MUST be able to drop freely and quickly as the couplers are tapped together. To allow this to happen, check out the suggestions below.


If you get it right, you will be able to couple a single lightweight car without the car bouncing off. Relubrication of the couplers may be needed periodically if they get a little stiff.


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