Coupling System Design Optimization - A Survey and Assessment of Automatic Coupling Concepts for Rail Freight Cars
The purpose of this study is to provide an independent identification, classification, and analysis of significant freight car coupling system concepts offering potential for improved safety and operating costs over the present system. The basic method of approach was to make a comprehensive search as a prerequisite to establishing significant coupler concepts which would be used to formulate candidate coupling systems. The search program consisted of a literature search, a patent search, and railroad industry interviews. Coupling development efforts have been decreasing due to changing usage and profitability of the American railroads. The functional concepts of existing development efforts range in sophistication from increasing the gathering range of the present coupler system to providing automatic train air connection and a complete redesign of the mechanical coupler. A sufficient number of new coupler concepts were identified to derive coupling systems which represent a significant improvement over the present system. This is the second of two volumes. Volume I, 48 pages, is an executive summary.