European railway trains have always featured two different coupling systems. Classic locomotives and cars have a coupling hook to transfer the traction force and two buffers for the compressive force. The mechanical mountings of these components on the vehicles are designed for the corresponding forces. Most multiple units/railcars, on the other hand, have a central buffer coupling, which, together with its mounting on the vehicle frame, is designed for both tensile and compressive forces. There is no provision for coupling the two different coupling systems during operation.
In exceptional cases, both coupling systems must be used in one train. This can happen, for example, when a railcar is no longer in a driveable state and needs to be towed away by a locomotive. In this case, a drawbar carried in the railcar is used to link both vehicles, which is mounted onto the coupling hook of the towing locomotive. A relevant vehicle-specific regulation is required to ensure this is carried out safely as, in the absence of buffers, the coupling hook may be applied using compressive forces in this exceptional case. According to the general traffic law, towing is defined if there is an emergency assistance concept and the vehicle to be towed away can no longer be driven.
Secure interface for vehicles with centre buffer coupling
Planned transport without a technical emergency, on the other hand, is described in transport law as haulage. An example of this is the transport of brand-new export vehicles from the factory to the port. In these cases, the towing locomotive and the vehicle being towed are connected using a coupling adapter car. These special vehicles are equipped at one end of the car with buffers and coupling hooks compatible with the locomotive and at the other end of the car with a central buffer coupling that matches the towed train. Coupling adapter cars are therefore the secure interface between two vehicles with different coupling systems. RailAdventure has a fleet of coupling adapter cars available for its customer orders to tow trains. For test runs, some cars in the fleet are designed to run at speeds up to 220 km/h.
Our coupling adapter cars enable variable settings for a wide range of coupling heights above rail level. All vehicles can be coupled, from the tram with its very low coupling height to the high-speed train attached to the Loco Buggy.
RailAdventure has a wide variety of coupling types in its portfolio that can be mounted onto the coupling adapter car.