US3805968A - Brush uncoupler for rail cars - Google Patents

Brush uncoupler for rail cars Download PDF

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US3805968A
US3805968A US00296331A US29633172A US3805968A US 3805968 A US3805968 A US 3805968A US 00296331 A US00296331 A US 00296331A US 29633172 A US29633172 A US 29633172A US 3805968 A US3805968 A US 3805968A
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brush
uncoupling
car
track
cars
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C Lindow
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Southern Pacific Transportation Co
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Southern Pacific Transportation Co
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61GCOUPLINGS; DRAUGHT AND BUFFING APPLIANCES
    • B61G7/00Details or accessories
    • B61G7/04Coupling or uncoupling by means of trackside apparatus

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  • the uncoupling lever there are on precise specifications as to the design and shape of the uncoupling lever except that it be of one-inch-diameter bar stock and that it be rotatably mounted at the front right end of the car with the handle projecting downwardly so that a workman alongside of the car can grip the handle and rotate it forwardly and upwardly to uncoupling position.
  • the handle On many cars the handle is quite exposed to the workman and is easy to manipulate.
  • the handle is relatively hidden behind the lowest rung of the rungs running up the front right edge of the car.
  • the handles have become bent from their original position.
  • Typical uncoupling operations are those carried out in a railroad classification yard wherein an incoming train of coupled cars is rolled along a track and over a hump. As the cars approach the hump, the coupling members between the cars are subjected to compressive forces. As the center of gravity of the forward car passes the hump, that car begins to accelerate, moving away from the following car so that the compressive forces in the coupling members are slacked. If the cars are not uncoupled, continued acceleration of the forward car places the coupling members in tension.
  • the purpose of the present invention is to provide a mechanical system for actuating the uncoupling levers to uncoupling position, thereby eliminating the need for a workman on foot. It is a further purpose to provide a mechanical system which is flexible enough in its operation so as to permit operation of a wide range of lever handle configurations, including bent handles and handles which are in hard-to-get-at locations, such as behind car rungs. A yet further purpose of the invention is to provide a mechanical system which can be integrated into automated systems, and which can be used at faster speeds than can be performed by a human operator.
  • the objects of the invention are accomplished by providing rotating cylndrical brushes, having relatively stiff bristles thereon, alongside of the track. As the desired car passes the brush, the brush is moved towards the corner of the car having the uncoupling lever handle thereon so that the car corner is submerged in the brush.
  • the rotating bristles engage and exert impulse or friction forces on the lever handle which lift the lever handle and hold it there as the coupling members come to slack condition.
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a train of coupled cars moving over a hump (the vertical scale of the hump being exaggerated for purposes of illustration) indicating the point relative to the hump wherein the coupling members between the leading and following car become slack;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration as FIG. 1, illustrating a situation in which the first two leading cars are not to be uncoupled and indicating the point where the coupling members between the second and third car become slack;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration as FIG. 2 wherein the first two cars are unequally loaded
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view illustrating one form of the invention, utilizing a rotating brush having a vertical axis of rotation;
  • FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 6 is an elevational view of another embodiment of the invention, utilizing a rotating brush having a horizontal axis of rotation transverse to the track and a bank of brushes having horizontal axes of rotation parallel to the track;
  • FIG. 7 is a generally schematic plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is an elevational detail view of the embodiment of FIG. 6, illustrating the manner in which the brushes are moved to and from the rail cars.
  • FIGS. 1-3 illustrate various conditions which can exist in the humping section of a railroad classification yard.
  • a train of coupled cars is rolled along track T to and past the hump H.
  • Cars 10, 11 and 12 are coupled together, while car 13 has been uncoupled and is moving away from the cars therebehind.
  • car 10 will begin to roll downhill and will accelerate so that the coupling members between cars 10 and 11 will change from their state of compression to a slack condition.
  • Reference letter S indicates the point along the track relative to hump H when the coupling is in slack condition.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a situation wherein coupled cars 14, 15 and 16 are rolled down the track, with car 17 having been uncoupled therefrom, and wherein it is desired to leave cars 14 and 15 coupled together and to uncouple them from car 16.
  • This procedure is often desirable, as, for example, when cars 14 and 15 are to remain next to each other in the new train of cars to which they are sent, since every time cars are uncoupled and separated the air hose connection therebetween will also be disconnected. Even though the cars will later couple themselves together, the air hoses must be manually reconnected.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a system as in FIG. 2 wherein the lead car 19 is a fully loaded box car and wherein the next car 20 is an unloaded flat car.
  • the center of gravity CG" of the two-car system 19 and 20 is nearer the front of car 19 so that the slack point S" between cars 20 and 21 is still further from the hump H.
  • the position of the slack point between cars relative to hump H will vary according to the lengths of the cars involved.
  • a mechanical system for uncoupling the cars must then be operative for holding the desired uncoupling lever in its uncoupling position anywhere along such distance.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate one embodiment of a mechanical uncoupler for use alongside of track 25 along which rail cars 26 and 27 roll to the hump.
  • Cars 26 and 27 carry conventional coupling members 28, coupling the cars together, each coupling member 28 having an uncoupling lever 29 extending to the edge of the car where it is journaled in bearing member 30 on the car.
  • the lever 29 terminates in a handle 31 which projects downwardly.
  • uncoupling lever 29 on car 27 is moved to uncoupling position by moving the handle so that its free end moves forwardly and upwardly relative to car 27.
  • the mechanical uncoupler comprises a cylindrical brush 35 having a vertical axis of rotation and having relatively stiff, radially extending bristles 36. Bristles of 1/8 inch diameter polypropylene material have proven satisfactory in street-sweeping machines and are quite suitable for the present purpose.
  • Brush 35 is carried by arms 37 and 38 which in turn are pivotally connected to arms 39 and 40 pivotally mounted on fixed post 41.
  • Flexible hydraulic lines 42 and 43 are carried by the support arms and connect to the hydraulic motor 44 on the upper end of brush 35, the motor being used to rotate the brush about its vertical axis in the direction shown and at the desired speed wherein the bristles will move peripherally at a speed greater than that of rail cars 26 and 27.
  • the lower end of brush 35 has a stub projection 46 which fits into guide track 47 having a length 48 extending alongside and parallel to tracks 25, and is suitably engaged for movement by endless belt or chain 49 disposed in guide track 47, the belt being driven by motor 50.
  • Guide track 47 has a return length 51 spaced away from tracks 25.
  • the brush 35 is rotatably driven by motor 44 and the brush is held in guide track 47 away from tracks 25.
  • motor 50 is energized so that the brush 35 is moved into engagement with the front right corner of car 27, i.e., as illustrated in FIG. 4, which submerges that corner of the car in the rotating bristles of the brush.
  • the bristles engage the uncoupling lever handle 31 and move it to uncoupling position.
  • the articulated support of brush 35 allows the brush to be translated along a path parallel to the track so that the brush maintains engagement with the uncoupling lever handle as the rail cars move along the track.
  • the bristles 36 are mounted on the brush 35 in an upward helical pattern to provide a greater lifting effect on the handle.
  • the uncoupling lever handle is released by the brush when it reaches the end of guide track length 48, the brush then returning to its initial position in readiness for the next uncoupling operation. If it is desired to maintain the uncoupling lever handle in uncoupling position for a longer distance, one or more additional rotating brush assemblies 35 can be provided to take over the uncoupling operation started by brush 35.
  • Operation of the motors 44 and 50 associated with brush 35 can be initiated by a human operator, or if desired, such initiation may be accomplished by an automated system which detects and identifies cars of track 25 and is programmed to uncouple desired cars.
  • the speed of motor 50 may be varied by a human operator or by automatic equipment to match the speed of movement of brush 35 along the track to the speed of the rail cars along the track. If one or more additional brushes 35' are used, the sequential operation of the motors associated therewith can be initiated by a human operator or suitable automatic equipment can be provided to start the operation of the additional brushes 35 in proper time sequence to the operation of brush 35.
  • FIGS. 6-8 illustrate another embodiment of the invention.
  • a first cylindrical bristle brush 61 is mounted on support arm 62 for rotation about a horizontal axis transverse to tracks 25.
  • a well 63 is provided alongside the tracks so that brush 61 can be normally maintained in an inactive position below the uncoupling lever handles 31.
  • Brush 61 is provided with a suitable motor 64 to rotate the brush in the direction shown and at a speed such that the peripheral speed of the bristles is greater than the forward speed of the rail cars.
  • a hydraulic ram 65 acts upon support arm 62 to move brush 61 to operative position.
  • An elongated bank of cylindrical bristle brushes 66 is provided along and beside tracks 25, the first such brush 66 being mounted for rotation about a tilted axis while the remaining brushes are mounted for rotation about axes which are horizontal and parallel to tracks 25.
  • each of the brushes 66 is supported on arms 67 pivoted at their upper end to rod 68, each brush having a hydraulic motor 69, the supply and return lines 69a of which extend up the arms 67 and then to a suitable controlled source of hydraulic fluid.
  • Each brush 66 has a hydraulic ram 70 associated therewith for movement of the brush towards and away from the cars on tracks 25.
  • Brush 66 is actuated in timed relation to brush 61 so that it is moved towards the rail car to engage the lever handle 31 as it passes brush 66.
  • the inclination of the axis of brush 66 is such that the bristles thereon are oriented in a direction to complete the movement of lever handle 31 to uncoupling position.
  • the remaining brushes 66 are similarly actuated in proper timed sequence so that they are moved out towards the rail car and held there as the lever handle 31 passes thereby.
  • the upward rotations of the bristles hold the lever handle 31 in its upper, or uncoupling, position as the lever handle passes from brushto brush. After the lever handle passes a brush, the brush is returned to its inactive position to await the next operation.
  • the length of the bank of brushes 66 will depend on whether it is desired to uncouple every car or to uncouple pairs of cars. If the latter, about 75 feet of length will be needed.
  • the initiation of the sequence of brush operations can be made by a human operator, or an automated system can be used wherein the sequence of operations is controlled by suitable circuits which sense and identify the rail cars prior to the time they reach the brush uncouplers.
  • cylindrical brush means mounted for axial rotation alongside of said track, said brush means having radially extending bristles,
  • said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis transverse to said track and at a level below said uncoupling lever handle.
  • said brush means further includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
  • said brush means further includes a series of end-to-end cylindrical brushes, mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
  • said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a vertical axis.
  • a method of uncoupling rail cars provided with conventional coupling members and uncoupling levers which extend from the front coupling member to the right front edge of the car and which lever has a handle that projects downwardly and is rotatable forwardly and upwardly to uncoupling position, the method comprising:

Abstract

Method and apparatus for uncoupling rolling rail cars equipped with conventional coupling members and conventional uncoupling levers which extend out to the front right edge of the car wherein a cylindrical bristle brush is brought into engagement with the handle of the uncoupling lever and the brush is rotated at a speed and in a direction so that the bristles move the handle to uncoupling position.

Description

D United States Patent 1 1 1111 3,805,968 Lindow Apr. 23, 1974 [54] BRUSH UNCOUPLER FOR RAIL CARS 2,933,201 4/1960 Anderson 213/211 3, ,325 7 97 [75] Inventor: Carl E. Lindow, San Jose, Cahf. 682 ll 2 Peterson 213/21 1 [73] Assignee: Southern Pacific Transportion P i E i l) t E, H ffma p y San Franclsco, Callf- Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Carlisle M. Moore [22] Filed: Oct. 10, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 296,331 [57] ABSTRACT Method and apparatus for uncoupling rolling rail cars 52 US. Cl 213/159 213/211 equipped with chvehhhal members and 51 1m. 01. ..161 7/04 uncoupling levers which extend of Search u R 75 A 5 211 the fI'Ollt Ilght edge Of the car wherein a cylindrical bristle brush is brought into engagement with the han- [56] References Cited dle of the uncoupling lever and the brush is rotated at 1 a speed and in a direction so that the bristles move the UNITED STATES PATENTS handle to uncoupling position. 1,087,976 2/1914 Payne 213/159 2,283,731 5/1942 Goss 213/211 9 Clairns, 8 Drawing Figures T LJULJLJUU7 PATENTEDAPR 23 I974 SHEET 1 [IF 2 BRUSH UNCOUPLER FOR RAIL CARS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Conventional rail cars are provided with a coupling member at each end which enables the cars to be coupled together. An uncoupling lever extends from the coupling member laterally to the front right end of the car, the lever having a handle at its end which projects downwardly. To uncouple a coupled pair of cars, a workman alongside of the train pulls the end of the handle forwardly and upwardly relative to the rearward car on which the lever is mounted, to the uncoupling position which allows the coupling members to disengage when the forward car moves away from the rearward car.
There are on precise specifications as to the design and shape of the uncoupling lever except that it be of one-inch-diameter bar stock and that it be rotatably mounted at the front right end of the car with the handle projecting downwardly so that a workman alongside of the car can grip the handle and rotate it forwardly and upwardly to uncoupling position. On many cars the handle is quite exposed to the workman and is easy to manipulate. On other cars the handle is relatively hidden behind the lowest rung of the rungs running up the front right edge of the car. On many cars the handles have become bent from their original position.
Typical uncoupling operations are those carried out in a railroad classification yard wherein an incoming train of coupled cars is rolled along a track and over a hump. As the cars approach the hump, the coupling members between the cars are subjected to compressive forces. As the center of gravity of the forward car passes the hump, that car begins to accelerate, moving away from the following car so that the compressive forces in the coupling members are slacked. If the cars are not uncoupled, continued acceleration of the forward car places the coupling members in tension. In the usual uncoupling operation, a workman walks along the ground beside the track at a speed equal to the speed of the rolling cars and operates the uncoupling lever handle to uncoupling position, holding the handle in that position when the coupling members are slack. Reliable uncoupling does not take place when the coupling members are in compression or tension.
Normal uncoupling practices have sveral disadvantages. There is always a danger inherent in having a human operator working alongside a moving train. The speed of the train is limited by having a human operator since the workman must walk along the ground. If the speed is greater than a normal walking pace, the operator is forced to maintain the same speed, increasing the difficulty of operating the uncoupling handle, which must be pushed in the same direction that the workman is moving, and increasing the danger that the workman may stumble and fall.
The purpose of the present invention is to provide a mechanical system for actuating the uncoupling levers to uncoupling position, thereby eliminating the need for a workman on foot. It is a further purpose to provide a mechanical system which is flexible enough in its operation so as to permit operation of a wide range of lever handle configurations, including bent handles and handles which are in hard-to-get-at locations, such as behind car rungs. A yet further purpose of the invention is to provide a mechanical system which can be integrated into automated systems, and which can be used at faster speeds than can be performed by a human operator.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The objects of the invention are accomplished by providing rotating cylndrical brushes, having relatively stiff bristles thereon, alongside of the track. As the desired car passes the brush, the brush is moved towards the corner of the car having the uncoupling lever handle thereon so that the car corner is submerged in the brush. The rotating bristles engage and exert impulse or friction forces on the lever handle which lift the lever handle and hold it there as the coupling members come to slack condition.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent in the course of the following detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings forming a part of this application and in which like parts are designated by like reference numerals throughout the same.
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a train of coupled cars moving over a hump (the vertical scale of the hump being exaggerated for purposes of illustration) indicating the point relative to the hump wherein the coupling members between the leading and following car become slack;
FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration as FIG. 1, illustrating a situation in which the first two leading cars are not to be uncoupled and indicating the point where the coupling members between the second and third car become slack;
FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration as FIG. 2 wherein the first two cars are unequally loaded;
FIG. 4 is a plan view illustrating one form of the invention, utilizing a rotating brush having a vertical axis of rotation;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view of another embodiment of the invention, utilizing a rotating brush having a horizontal axis of rotation transverse to the track and a bank of brushes having horizontal axes of rotation parallel to the track;
FIG. 7 is a generally schematic plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an elevational detail view of the embodiment of FIG. 6, illustrating the manner in which the brushes are moved to and from the rail cars.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1-3 illustrate various conditions which can exist in the humping section of a railroad classification yard. In FIG. 1 a train of coupled cars is rolled along track T to and past the hump H. Cars 10, 11 and 12 are coupled together, while car 13 has been uncoupled and is moving away from the cars therebehind. When the center of gravity CG of car 10 has passed the hump, car 10 will begin to roll downhill and will accelerate so that the coupling members between cars 10 and 11 will change from their state of compression to a slack condition. Reference letter S indicates the point along the track relative to hump H when the coupling is in slack condition. It is at this point where the uncoupling lever should be held up in uncoupling position to ensure uncoupling. If car is not uniformly loaded, the relation of point S to the hump will vary. For example, if car 12 is loaded heavily at its forward end, the center of gravity of the car will be forward of the center of the car and the slack point S will be further to the right of hump H. Conversely, if the center of gravity of car 12 is near the rear of the car the slack point will be closer to the hump.
FIG. 2 illustrates a situation wherein coupled cars 14, 15 and 16 are rolled down the track, with car 17 having been uncoupled therefrom, and wherein it is desired to leave cars 14 and 15 coupled together and to uncouple them from car 16. This procedure is often desirable, as, for example, when cars 14 and 15 are to remain next to each other in the new train of cars to which they are sent, since every time cars are uncoupled and separated the air hose connection therebetween will also be disconnected. Even though the cars will later couple themselves together, the air hoses must be manually reconnected. As the center of gravity of car 14 passes hump H, car 14 will accelerate so that the coupling members between cars 15 and 16 will change from a state of compression, through a slack condition to a state of tension, wherein accelerating car 14 is pulling car 15 up the hump. This in turn will then produce a slack condition in the coupling members between cars 15 and 16. Thus, when the center of gravity CGpf the two- car system 14 and 15 has passed the hump H, the coupling members between cars 15 and 16 will be in slack condition at point S. As will be apparent, point S is considerably further from hump H than is point S of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 illustrates a system as in FIG. 2 wherein the lead car 19 is a fully loaded box car and wherein the next car 20 is an unloaded flat car. In this case the center of gravity CG" of the two- car system 19 and 20 is nearer the front of car 19 so that the slack point S" between cars 20 and 21 is still further from the hump H.
In addition, the position of the slack point between cars relative to hump H will vary according to the lengths of the cars involved. Thus, for humping operations wherein cars are to be uncoupled, either singly or in pairs, there is a considerable distance along the track where the slack point of the coupling members between the cars to be uncoupled may occur. A mechanical system for uncoupling the cars must then be operative for holding the desired uncoupling lever in its uncoupling position anywhere along such distance.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate one embodiment of a mechanical uncoupler for use alongside of track 25 along which rail cars 26 and 27 roll to the hump. Cars 26 and 27 carry conventional coupling members 28, coupling the cars together, each coupling member 28 having an uncoupling lever 29 extending to the edge of the car where it is journaled in bearing member 30 on the car. The lever 29 terminates in a handle 31 which projects downwardly. As previously described, uncoupling lever 29 on car 27 is moved to uncoupling position by moving the handle so that its free end moves forwardly and upwardly relative to car 27.
The mechanical uncoupler comprises a cylindrical brush 35 having a vertical axis of rotation and having relatively stiff, radially extending bristles 36. Bristles of 1/8 inch diameter polypropylene material have proven satisfactory in street-sweeping machines and are quite suitable for the present purpose. Brush 35 is carried by arms 37 and 38 which in turn are pivotally connected to arms 39 and 40 pivotally mounted on fixed post 41. Flexible hydraulic lines 42 and 43 are carried by the support arms and connect to the hydraulic motor 44 on the upper end of brush 35, the motor being used to rotate the brush about its vertical axis in the direction shown and at the desired speed wherein the bristles will move peripherally at a speed greater than that of rail cars 26 and 27.
The lower end of brush 35 has a stub projection 46 which fits into guide track 47 having a length 48 extending alongside and parallel to tracks 25, and is suitably engaged for movement by endless belt or chain 49 disposed in guide track 47, the belt being driven by motor 50. Guide track 47 has a return length 51 spaced away from tracks 25.
In operation, the brush 35 is rotatably driven by motor 44 and the brush is held in guide track 47 away from tracks 25. As the cars 26 and 27 roll down the track, motor 50 is energized so that the brush 35 is moved into engagement with the front right corner of car 27, i.e., as illustrated in FIG. 4, which submerges that corner of the car in the rotating bristles of the brush. The bristles engage the uncoupling lever handle 31 and move it to uncoupling position. The articulated support of brush 35 allows the brush to be translated along a path parallel to the track so that the brush maintains engagement with the uncoupling lever handle as the rail cars move along the track. Preferably the bristles 36 are mounted on the brush 35 in an upward helical pattern to provide a greater lifting effect on the handle.
If the length of movement of brush 35 alongside the track is sufficiently long such that uncoupling takes place in that length, the uncoupling lever handle is released by the brush when it reaches the end of guide track length 48, the brush then returning to its initial position in readiness for the next uncoupling operation. If it is desired to maintain the uncoupling lever handle in uncoupling position for a longer distance, one or more additional rotating brush assemblies 35 can be provided to take over the uncoupling operation started by brush 35.
Operation of the motors 44 and 50 associated with brush 35 can be initiated by a human operator, or if desired, such initiation may be accomplished by an automated system which detects and identifies cars of track 25 and is programmed to uncouple desired cars. Similarly, the speed of motor 50 may be varied by a human operator or by automatic equipment to match the speed of movement of brush 35 along the track to the speed of the rail cars along the track. If one or more additional brushes 35' are used, the sequential operation of the motors associated therewith can be initiated by a human operator or suitable automatic equipment can be provided to start the operation of the additional brushes 35 in proper time sequence to the operation of brush 35.
FIGS. 6-8 illustrate another embodiment of the invention. In this form, a first cylindrical bristle brush 61 is mounted on support arm 62 for rotation about a horizontal axis transverse to tracks 25. A well 63 is provided alongside the tracks so that brush 61 can be normally maintained in an inactive position below the uncoupling lever handles 31. Brush 61 is provided with a suitable motor 64 to rotate the brush in the direction shown and at a speed such that the peripheral speed of the bristles is greater than the forward speed of the rail cars. A hydraulic ram 65 acts upon support arm 62 to move brush 61 to operative position.
An elongated bank of cylindrical bristle brushes 66 is provided along and beside tracks 25, the first such brush 66 being mounted for rotation about a tilted axis while the remaining brushes are mounted for rotation about axes which are horizontal and parallel to tracks 25. As shown in FIG. 8, each of the brushes 66 is supported on arms 67 pivoted at their upper end to rod 68, each brush having a hydraulic motor 69, the supply and return lines 69a of which extend up the arms 67 and then to a suitable controlled source of hydraulic fluid. Each brush 66 has a hydraulic ram 70 associated therewith for movement of the brush towards and away from the cars on tracks 25.
In operation, all of the brushes 61 and 66 will be rotatably driven, brush 61 will be in its lower position and brushes 66 will be held away from tracks 25. As the rail car with the uncoupling lever to be operated upon approaches brush 61, ram 65 raises brush 61 to operative position. Then, when the rail car reaches the brush, the right front end of the car will be submerged in the bristles and the bristles will kick the lever handle 31 forwardly. Since the individual bristles are rotating in a vertical plane, they can easily engage the lever handle 31 even though it may be relatively hidden behind the lower rung 71 on the front right end of the rail car.
Brush 66 is actuated in timed relation to brush 61 so that it is moved towards the rail car to engage the lever handle 31 as it passes brush 66. The inclination of the axis of brush 66 is such that the bristles thereon are oriented in a direction to complete the movement of lever handle 31 to uncoupling position. The remaining brushes 66 are similarly actuated in proper timed sequence so that they are moved out towards the rail car and held there as the lever handle 31 passes thereby. The upward rotations of the bristles hold the lever handle 31 in its upper, or uncoupling, position as the lever handle passes from brushto brush. After the lever handle passes a brush, the brush is returned to its inactive position to await the next operation.
The length of the bank of brushes 66 will depend on whether it is desired to uncouple every car or to uncouple pairs of cars. If the latter, about 75 feet of length will be needed.
As before, the initiation of the sequence of brush operations can be made by a human operator, or an automated system can be used wherein the sequence of operations is controlled by suitable circuits which sense and identify the rail cars prior to the time they reach the brush uncouplers.
With the use of the described brush uncouplers, it will be possible to carry out humping operations at train speeds up to 5 miles an hour, a speed considerably greater than can be manually performed.
Having thus described my invention, 1 claim:
1. Apparatus for uncoupling rail cars rolling down a track, said rail cars being provided with conventional coupling members and conventional uncoupling levers which extend from the front coupling member to the right front edge of a car, each uncoupling lever having a handle that projects downwardly and is rotatable forwardly and upwardly relative to the car to uncoupling position, said apparatus comprising:
cylindrical brush means mounted for axial rotation alongside of said track, said brush means having radially extending bristles,
means for positioning said brush means relative to said track so that said bristles engage the uncoupling lever handle of a rail car rolling along said track,
means for rotating said brush means at a rate such that the peripheral speed of said bristles is greater than the speed of said rail cars, and in a direction to move said engaged uncoupling lever handle forwardly and upwardly relative to said rail car.
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis transverse to said track and at a level below said uncoupling lever handle.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said brush means further includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said brush means further includes a series of end-to-end cylindrical brushes, mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 and further including means for sequentially moving the axes of said series of brushes towards said track.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a vertical axis.
7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 and further including means for translating the vertical axis of said brush along a path parallel to said track.
8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said bristles are arranged on said brush in an upward helical pattern.
9. A method of uncoupling rail cars provided with conventional coupling members and uncoupling levers which extend from the front coupling member to the right front edge of the car and which lever has a handle that projects downwardly and is rotatable forwardly and upwardly to uncoupling position, the method comprising:
rolling a plurality of coupled-together cars down a track with the coupling members between cars being in compression,
increasing the speed of a leading car relative to the following car to reduce the compression forces in the coupling members coupling said leading and following cars together,
engaging the handle of the uncoupling lever on said following car with stiff brush bristles,
moving said brush bristles in a direction to rotate said uncoupling lever handle to uncoupling position.

Claims (9)

1. Apparatus for uncoupling rail cars rolling down a track, said rail cars being provided with conventional coupling members and conventional uncoupling levers which extend from the front coupling member to the right front edge of a car, each uncoupling lever having a handle that projects downwardly and is rotatable forwardly and upwardly relative to the car to uncoupling position, said apparatus comprising: cylindrical brush means mounted for axial rotation alongside of said track, said brush means having radially extending bristles, means for positioning said brush means relative to said track so that said bristles engage the uncoupling lever handle of a rail car rolling along said track, means for rotating said brush means at a rate such that the peripheral speed of said bristles is greater than the speed of said rail cars, and in a direction to move said engaged uncoupling lever handle forwardly and upwardly relative to said rail car.
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis transverse to said track and at a level below said uncoupling lever handle.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said brush means further includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said brush means further includes a series of end-to-end cylindrical brushes, mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis parallel to said track.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 and further including means for sequentially moving the axes of said series of brushes towards said track.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said brush means includes a cylindrical brush mounted for rotation about a vertical axis.
7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 and further including means for translating the vertical axis of said brush along a path parallel to said track.
8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said bristles are arranged on said brush in an upward helical pattern.
9. A method of uncoupling rail cars provided with conventional coupling members and uncoupling levers which extend from the front coupling member to the right front edge of the car and which lever has a handle that projects downwardly and is rotatable forwardly and upwardly to uncoupling position, the method comprising: rolling a plurality of coupled-together cars down a track with the coupling members between cars being in compression, increasing the speed of a leading car relative to the following car to reduce the compression forces in the coupling members coupling said leading and following cars together, engaging the handle of the uncoupling lever on said following car with stiff brush bristles, moving said brush bristles in a direction to rotate said uncoupling lever handle to uncoupling position.
US00296331A 1972-10-10 1972-10-10 Brush uncoupler for rail cars Expired - Lifetime US3805968A (en)

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Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1087976A (en) * 1912-04-11 1914-02-24 George P Payne Means for uncoupling mine-cars.
US2283731A (en) * 1941-04-04 1942-05-19 Ohio Brass Co Coupler operating mechanism for dump cars
US2933201A (en) * 1958-11-07 1960-04-19 Arvid L Anderson Electro-magnetic means for effecting de-coupling of a pair of adjacent coupled toy train cars
US3682325A (en) * 1970-07-02 1972-08-08 Kennecott Copper Corp Apparatus for uncoupling railroad cars

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1087976A (en) * 1912-04-11 1914-02-24 George P Payne Means for uncoupling mine-cars.
US2283731A (en) * 1941-04-04 1942-05-19 Ohio Brass Co Coupler operating mechanism for dump cars
US2933201A (en) * 1958-11-07 1960-04-19 Arvid L Anderson Electro-magnetic means for effecting de-coupling of a pair of adjacent coupled toy train cars
US3682325A (en) * 1970-07-02 1972-08-08 Kennecott Copper Corp Apparatus for uncoupling railroad cars

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