USAT Streamliners with Kadee 906 centerset couplers

USA Trains Streamliner & Kadee 906 Centerset Couplers
Ted Doskaris
September 3, 2015
Rev GE-A 

Shown below are as received USAT passenger cars in boxes that included two coaches and one dining car in Southern Pacific Daylight livery.

An example car in the original factory box is shown below.


This Vignette describes and illustrates how Kadee 906 centerset type couplers can be mounted on the USAT metal streamliner passenger cars so as to be compatible with other brand products (Aristo Smoothsides &  Heavyweights, also, retrofitted with Kedee centersets) whilst affording a reduced car to car spacing when compared to factory couplers yet being able to operate on as little as an 8 foot diameter track circle.

Shown below are two USAT passenger cars coupled together as originally equipped with factory couplers.

Shown below is the high quality USAT factory metal knuckle coupler body mounted on a pedestal intended for operating with other like kind USAT knuckle couplers that are typically equipped with locos such as the USAT ALCO PAs

USA Trains appears to prefer to  have couplers mounted way low to the rail head compared to other brands, perhaps owing to the belief of improved operability on tight curves, albeit not prototypical.

On the other hand, the mounting of Kadee couplers typically target prototype height with respect to the rail head.  I prefer using Kadee centerset type couplers, not only for their prototypical aesthetics, but for the improved operational physics.  Moreover, using Kadee couplers on all product brand cars is the "glue" that allows mix and match without adaptors or adaptor cars for making up a train consist irrespective of the brand.  In the case of the USAT streamliner car, I chose to body mount the Kadee 906 centerset coupler.

As shown above, note how the Kadee 906 coupler can extend when in tension.  The location in which the assembly is body mounted on a car uses this feature to advantage so as to allow cars to operate on curves without binding and still be able to be coupled closer together compared to the USAT factory couplers, yet cars on straight track will still be able  couple together or uncouple from one another over a Kadee track magnet.


For more comparison, shown below is the USAT factory coupler measured car spacing.


Shown below are the USAT cars as equipped with Kadee 906 assemblies measured car spacing.


Now for the how to detail:

Shown below is the drawing for fabricating the adaptor / space plate used to mount the Kadee 906 assembly.  The mounting plate dimensions were critically established to take advantage of the Kadee 906 features whilst minimizing coupled car spacing across product brands.


Shown below is how the Kadee 906 assembly is to mate with the mounting plate.

Before mounting the Kadee 906 assembly, the car end diaphragms must be trimmed so the coupler can freely swing from side to side. The comparable older style Kadee 830 coupler is less bulky, so the diaphragms would not have to be trimmed if using these couplers.


Shown below is the removal of the USAT factory coupler assembly and replacing it with the Kadee assembly captive to its mounting plate.


Shown below is the vestibule end of the car - it being a bit more difficult to do.


Shown below is the final result with respect to the Kadee 980 track height gauge.


SP 9 Car Daylight Train On Outdoor Layout





Weather Underground PWS KCACARLS78