Kadee Couplers and the Uncoupling Methods You Use on Your Layout

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Section Hand
I know there's a lot of support for Kadee (KD) couplers because of their prototypical appearance and reliable operation. My rolling stock and most of my motive power is equipped with KD's and I use both under the track uncoupling magnets or the between the rails type.

If the rolling stock is properly fitted with KD's, the magnets work just fine in most cases. Locating the magnets could be a problem so I "planted" small yellow flowering bushes in the center of each under the track magnet. I know some guys who use pencils or pointed wood sticks to uncouple rolling stock which seems unprototypical to me.

Do you use KD uncouplers and magnets and have you encountered any problems or do you use another method to uncouple your rolling stock?



I I know some guys who use pencils or pointed wood sticks to uncouple rolling stock which seems unprototypical to me.
What's un-prototypical about a 40' monster hand wielding a 30' pointy telephone pole between your rolling stock, then giving them a shove down the line and spotting them? Seems all too real to me.....
Kadee's for me, and maybe EZ Mates in a pinch.
I use a very "unprototypical" Kadee yellow plastic couplet tool to "make the cut" . I have some between rail magnets to place, but since I use code 70 rail, I have to do some excavating. Thus magnet placement is on the back burner. With some care with installation, Kadee couplers look and work very well.



Well-Known Member
Hi Greg,
I put in one uncoupler right where the hump yard starts, and copied the Bachmann scheme of putting a man where the uncoupler went. That worked very well.

I also painted a bunch of these flanges and put them where my block sections are, although most of them were on all the time if I wanted to isolate a locomotive and operate in another part of the layout I could more easily keep track of things. I had a corresponding flange glued on my control board and had different color schemes for each location.

It was usually a siding that I would let loco's sit on.

flange 007.JPG


Well-Known Member
I use a Rix uncoupling tool for most uncoupling. Almost all of my uncoupling locations are within 16" of an aisle. For the few remote locations, I use the Kadee between the rails magnets, and usually mark the location with a utility pole. I really like Dave's use of a figure and I might just have to look at my locations to see if that might also work.


Active Member
I know some guys who use pencils or pointed wood sticks to uncouple rolling stock which seems unprototypical to me.
So is forcing all uncoupling actions to be done at a specific spot because that's where the fixed uncoupler is. Or accidental uncouplings because you happened to stop over the fixed magnet. Or flipping a toggle switch to turn off and on an electromagnet. That's not how real railroads work.

I prefer the flexibility and interaction of "hands on" uncoupling which gives far more flexible and realistic operations when you're not working around the artificial constraints of fixed uncoupling magnets.
Like santafewilie, I use a RIX tool as well.

But I've found that there are some hitches you can't split with the RIX -- just won't do it, for whatever reason.

Then, it's a couple of fingers and "lift it up"... :cool:


Section Hand
Didn't the under track McHenry uncouplers also once come with a figure? Am I dreaming or is old age setting in?

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At the club here in town, Kaydee's was the one requirement. But back then, Kaydee was the only knuckle coupler on the market. We used the typical between the rails magnet on both sidings to spot cars and on the main line to make cuts The magnets on the main line had a white whistle post planted next to them that would be visable from any of the mainline cabs. One location used the electro magnet as it was on a downgrade just before it flattened out, and if you got enough slack action, the train would break in two. So the electro magnet solved that problem. If one had several different "spots" in a row on a single siding, this is where the "delayed" action that Kaydee's can do come in handy. This all of coarse relies on the couplers being properly installed both in centering action and height of the trip pin. The under track magnets came later and work well with code 83 that is more common now. The club was handlaid code 100 on tru-scale roadbed. Mike


BN Modeller
I use a pic for uncoupling because I can cut cars anywhere ( straight, curves, grades) and due to the fact that I cut all my trip pins off.
I did use magnets at one time and they worked well on straight track.
I was a switchman once upon a time and frequently had to go between cars to move couplers so this method seems prototypical to me, kind of hands on as was mentioned.
I operate on friends layouts that use magnets in some spots and pics for other spots.
i use super magnets set vertically in a few spots for uncoupling .. so far [5-6 years] no unwanted uncoupling has occurred ..
magnets are [i think] 1mm wide by 3mm deep ..and i think they are 50 strength


Well-Known Member
I have tried the magnets and felt there use was pretty "Hit and Miss" I have two, located where hand reach; or, the pointed stick can't reach and they work most of the time. Mostly, I use the pointed stick method to uncouple; but, even this isn't fool proof. Micro-Mark has uncoupling tools that are really nothing more than small screw drivers, I could not get these to work worth a dang and so sold them on Ebay. There doesn't seem to be a fool proof way to uncouple Kadees. Of the methods I've tried, Rix uncoupling tool, Magnets, I seem to stay with the pointed stick. As far as this method being un-prototypical, I find a magnet between the rails to be just as un-prototypical. Operating as in 1953, I figure a brakeman would be sent out to pull the pins to uncouple cars; so, with my trusty pointed stick, I walk the tracks to uncouple my set-outs and think this makes me feel more like a part of the train crew!

As far as undertrack magnets are concerned, positioning them would take far more planning than I felt capable of doing!

In the end I think people will stay with whatever method they feel works best for them!
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