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Publication numberUS3385454 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 28, 1968
Filing dateJun 27, 1966
Priority dateJun 27, 1966
Also published asDE1605214A1
Publication numberUS 3385454 A, US 3385454A, US-A-3385454, US3385454 A, US3385454A
InventorsElder John S, Jeffrey William B, Morris Jr Robert B
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Air Brake Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic air and electric railway car coupler
US 3385454 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 28, 1968 w. B. JEFFREY ETAL 3,

AUTOMATIC AIR AND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CAR COUPLER Flled June 27, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 l I 26 .4 25 iii 5 g INVENTORS William B. Jeffrey John 8. Elder Robert B. Morris Jr.

y 3, 1968 w. B. JEFFREY ETAL 3,385,454

AUTOMATIC AIR AND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CAR COUPLER Flled June 27, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS Fig- 5 FVz'lliam B. Jeffrey BY John 8. Elder Robert B. Morris Jr.

4Q z torney May 28, 1968 w. B. JEFFREY ETAL. 3,385,454

AUTOMATIC AIR AND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CAR COUPLER Filed June 27, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet F5 .5 INVENTORS IVilliam B. Jeff'r John 8. Elder Robert B. Morria Jr.

Attorney United States Patent 3,385,454 AUTOMATICAIR AND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CAR CGUPLER William B. Jeffrey, Irwin, John S. Elder, Monroeville, and Robert B. Morris, Jr., Irwin, Pa, assignors to Westinghouse Air Brake Company, Wilmerding, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed June 27, 1966, Ser. No. 560,528 13 Claims. (Cl. 2131.3)

This invention relates to automatic railway car couplers and, more particularly, to automatic railway car couplers including means for also automatically coupling fluid pressure hoses and electrical conductors carried on the cars to provide continuity of the air lines and electrical circuitry throughout the length of the train.

Automatic railway car couplers of the type which also automatically couple sections of train air lines and electrical conductors from car to car have been in service for many years, especially on trains of the subway or rapid transit type. Heretofore known automatic car, air and electric type couplers operate satisfactorily in service but are bulky, of complex construct-ion and relatively high cost. For example, one well-known type of automatic car, air and electric coupler is provided with a contact-carrying slide unit and a door therefor which are actuated sequentially by air cylinders to open or close the door and shift the contact-carrying slide unit into or out of position for contact-making engagement with a counterpart contact-carrying slide unit on a mating coupler. Complex interlocking controls insure appropriate sequence of door and electric contact slide unit operation on coupling and uncoupling of cars.

In a copending application of William B. Jeffrey and Richard K. Frill, filed July 6, 1965, Ser. No. 469,485, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, an improved type of automatic car, air and electric coupler is disclosed and comprises a simplified and relatively low-cost arrangement for coupling and uncoupling cars.

It is the object of the present invention to provide features of construction applicable to the type of automatic coupler disclosed in the aforementioned copending application and particularly to the electrical circuitry-connecting portion so as to provide a relatively simple, low-cost and novel arrangement for effecting door-opening and door-closing operation at appropriate times in coupling and uncoupling and without the necessity of eifectlng any operative movement of the contact-carrying slide unit except that resulting from abutting contact in coupling and minor movement incidental to separation of the contacts on uncoupling.

Briefly, the invention disclosed herein resides in the electrical circuitry-connecting portion of an automatic car, air and electric coupler, and comprises a simplified novel arrangement of the electrical contact unit and the protective door therefor. The door-operating mechanism comprises a simple lever system including a push rod which is abuttingly contacted, during coupling operation, by the counterpart coupler head to thereby actuate said lever system and cause the protective door to be retracted to an open position in which the contacts of the contact unit are exposed in sufficient time before making contact with the similarly exposed contacts of the counterpart contact unit. The electrical contact unit, which is operative independently of the door-operating mechanism, is slidably mounted on the coupler head and is spring-biased in opposite directions along the longitudinal axis of the car so as to normally occupy, in a balanced state of the biasing forces and in the uncoupled relation of the coupler head, a position in which it protrudes slightly beyond the abutting surface of the coupler head. Thu-s, during final coupling movement of the Patented May 28, 1968 coupler heads when abutting contact of the electrical contact units occurs, said contact units are yieldingly forced, by movement of the coupler heads into final locking relationship, into frictional engagement with each other, contact for contact, against the biasing effect acting thereon in one direction. During uncoupling operation, the electrical contact units, due to the total effective friction between the several contacts when engaged, yieldingly resist separation, so that when such frictional effect is finally overcome by separating movement of the coupler heads, said contact units, assisted by the biasing effect acting thereon in the opposite direction, part with a snap action resulting in a minimum of arcing between the several contacts. Being slidably mounted on the coupler head, any one of the electrical contact units may be manually retracted and locked in such a retracted position, in the event of an electrical malfunction at some point in the train, for electrically isolating that portion of the train affected. When the electrical contact unit is retracted, a switch associated therewith is automatically closed for retaining control over that portion of the train unaffected by the malfunction.

In the drawings, FIG. 1 is a head-on elevational view, mostly in outline, of a mating head of an automatic car coupler embodying the invention; FIG. 2 is a plan view, on a smaller scale than FIG. 1 and in outline, of an electrical portion of the mating head shown in FIG. 1 and shown detached therefrom; FIG. 3 is an elevational view, mostly in section, taken along line 'IIIIII of FIG. 2. and viewed in the direction indicated by the arrows; FIG. 4 is a plan View of the electrical portion shown in FIG. 2 with a portion of the casing removed and various other portions cut away; and FIG. 5 is an elevational view, mostly in outline, of the electrical portion shown in FIG. 2 looking into the right side thereof as viewed in FIG. 2.

erally designated by the reference numeral 1, of an automatic railway car coupler embodying the invention, said mating head being adapted to be flexibly mounted by suitable means (not shown) on the draft gear (not shown) in the usual position at the end of the center sill (not shown) of a railway car (not shown) and to make coupling engagement with a counterpart mating head (not shown) identical in structure to mating head '1 and similarly mounted on another car (not shown) to be coupled to the said first-mentioned car.

Generally, the mating head '1, as shown in FIG. 1, comprises a car-coupling or latching portion 2, by which the mating head is mounted (in manner not shown) on the draft gear, as well as a pipe-connecting portion 3 and an electrical circuitry c-ounecting portion 4 both sup ported by said latching portion.

The car-coupling or latching portion 2, very briefly, comprises a guide pin 5 having a leading tapered blunt end and projecting perpendicularly from a face plate 6 in which a guide or gathering bore 7 is formed with a surrounding beveled countersink for receiving or gathering the guide pin (not shown) of the counterpart mating head (not shown). The guide pin 5 and guide bore 7 are so disposed on the mating head 1 as to be equidistantly spaced from a vertical plane passing through the longitudinal center line of the car so that when two railway cars are brought together to be coupled, the guide pin 5 and guide bore 7 will register and engage the guide bore and guide pin, respectively, of the counterpart mating head (not shown) to effect proper alignment of the mating heads. The latching portion 2 further comprises a latching mechanism of which only a latch member 8 may be seen through the bore 7 in FIG. 1, said latch member being adapted for engaging a notch (not shown) formed in the guide pin of the counterpart mating head (not shown) when the two mating heads are coupled. The latching mechanism is automatically operable for causing the two coupled mating heads to be locked in a coupled relation by the latch members 8 engaging the notches of the guide pins 5, respectively, until unlatching thereof is effected by a crewman in a manner not deemed essential to an understanding of the present invention.

The pipe-connecting portion 3 comprises several pipe connectors including feed valve pipe connectors 9, straight air pipe connectors 10, coupler-operating pipe connectors 11 and a brake pipe connector 12. It will be observed that there are two each or respective pairs of the feed valve pipe connectors 9, the straight air pipe connectors 1t and coupler-operating pipe connectors 11, the respective connectors of each of said pairs being located, with respect to a vertical center line of the mating head 1 as viewed in FIG. 1, equidistantly from and on opposite sides of a plane passing through said vertical center line and through the longitudinal center line of the car. Moreover, the respective connectors in each pair of pipe connectors 9, 10 and 11 are connected in parallel relation, pair for pair, by respective common pipes (not shown) connected, respectively, to a feed valve pipe, a straight air pipe and a fluid pressure supply pipe, none of which pipes is shown, so that the several connections between the several corresponding fluid pipes on the cars is always made even though the cars might be turned end for end. Since the brake pipe connector 12, however, is centrally disposed on the pipe connecting portion 3, that is, on the center line thereof, it should be apparent that it is not necessary to have two such brake pipe connectors on each mating head.

Since further details and description of the latching portion 2 and the pipe-connecting portion 3 are not deemed essential to an understanding of the present invention, and, if necessary, reference may be had to the aforementioned copending applictaion of William B. Jeffrey and Richard K. Frill in which such details are set forth, no further description of said latching and pipe-connecting portions will be provided herein other than where considered necessary.

The electrical circuitry-connecting portion 4, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 5, comprises a casing 13 and a cover section 14 having a boss 15 formed thereon midway between the left and right-hand sides and closer to the upper side than the lower side of said circuitry connecting portion, all as viewed in FIG. 2. The circuitry connecting portion 4 is mounted on the mating head 1 by first securing the cover section 14 of said circuitry-connecting portion to the lower or under side, as viewed in FIG. 1, of the latching portion 2 by bolts (not shown) inserted through holes 16 provided in the boss 15 and screwed into tapped holes (not shown) provided in the under side of the latching portion 2 and registering with the holes in said boss. The boss 15 also serves to space the cover 14 from the under side of the casing of the latching portion 2. With the cover section 14 in place, the casing 13 of the circuitry-connecting portion 4, with all its asso' ciated components (to be presently described) assembled therein and said cover section are secured together by a plurality of bolts 17, as shown at each corner thereof in FIG. 2. The electrical circuitry-connecting portion 4 is also supported on the latching portion 2 by a pair of bolts 18 (see FIG. 1) passing through bores (not shown) formed in respective bosses 19 formed on the casing of said latching portion and screwed into respective screwthreaded bosses 20 correspondingly situated and formed on the corners of the casing of said circuitry-connecting portion at the end adjacent the face plate 6 of the latching portion 2.

The casing 13 of the circuitry-connecting portion 4 is provided at the rear thereof with a plurality of watertight fittings 21 through which electrical conductors (not shown) comprising the several circuits of the train are received into said casing to be connected (in suitable manner not shown) to respective contacts 22 of a multiplecontact unit 23 slidably mounted in the forward end of said casing.

Since a detailed description of the multiple-contact unit 23 and the contacts 22 thereof is not essential to an understanding of the invention, it will suffice to state that said multiple-contact unit comprises a predetermined number of said contacts each of which registers with and frictionally engages a correspondingly disposed contact 22 of a plurality of contacts on a complementary contact unit 23 oppositely disposed on the counterpart mating head 1 to connect the several conductors comprising the train circuits.

Each of the contacts 22, which are a standard commercial type, comprises a plastic casing having self-locking tongues and grooves arranged on the exterior thereof so that any number of such contact members may be assembled in block form to make up each of the multiplecontact units 23, said casing having a closed end opposite an open end. A spring metal element or finger, having one end anchored in the closed end of the casing, as disposed at a slight angle relative to the longitudinal axis of said casing so as to make sliding frictional contact with a corresponding finger of the counterpart contact unit when said casing mates with the casing of said corresponding finger when the coupler heads 1 come together. The total friction between the several fingers of the contact units 23 is effective for frictionally locking the contact units 23 in a contact-making relationship. The same total friction also yieldingly resists separation of the engaged contact units 23 during uncoupling of the coupler heads 1 and is therefore partly effective, as will be more fully explained hereinafter, in causing the contact units 23 to be separated wtih a snap action, thereby minimizing electrical arcing between the contact elements at the instant of separation.

The multiple-contact unit 23 is carried by a support plate 24 which is slitlably supported at opposite sides by narrow ledges 25 (one of which may be seen in FIG. 1) formed internally of casing 13 at each side and adjacent the top thereof, as viewed in FIG. 1. Each of the ledges 25 has fastened thereto a rail or strip 26 of wear-resistant material having a low coefiicient of friction such as nylon, for example, on which the plate 24 may slide with relative case between certain limits as will presently be described.

For purposes of simplification in describing the electrical circuitry-connecting portion 4, the end thereof adjacent the multiple-contact unit 23 will be hereinafter referred to as the forward end whereas the other end in which the water-tight fittings 21 are disposed will be referred to as the rearward end.

As may be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the support plate 24- has an elongated slot 27 formed therein substantially midway between the sides, into which slot a pin 28 fixed in the cover section 14 extends. Upon rearward or forward sliding movement of the contact unit 23 on the rails 26, as will hereinafter be described, the pin 28 contacts the respective end of the slot 27 to thereby limit such sliding movement. The contact unit 23 is normally biased toward the forward end of the connecting portion 4 to a normal or disengaged position, to be more fully described hereinafter, by two springs 29 (only one of which is shown). The springs 29 are caged between the rearward end of casing 13 and respective spring seats 30, said spring seats each being fixed to one end of a spring seat stem 31 which, in turn, is slidingly supported by a bracket 32 fixed to the cover 14, the other end of said stem normally making abutting contact with a push pad 33 fixed to the underside of the support plate 24. The springs 29 are under predetermined compression when the spring seats 30 are in abutting contact with the brackets 32, respectively, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Of course, rearward movement of the contact unit 23 out of its normal position, as will later be described, acts through the push pads 33, spring seat stems 31 and spring seats to further compress springs 29 accordingly.

The multiple-contact unit 23, as previously noted herein, is adapted for having each of the Contacts 22 make sliding frictional engagement, contact-for-contact, with the contacts 22 of the contact unit 23 carried on the counterpart coupler (not shown) when two cars are moved into coupled relation. Such engagement of the contact units 23 is effected automatically during the coupling operation. It may become desirable and even necessary, however, to break the electrical circuitry between two coupled cars in the event of electrical malfunctioning in one of the cars while, at the same time, it may not be practical or desirable to remove the car from the train. In such an event, means are provided On the electrical portion 4 of the coupler for retracting the multiple-contact unit 23 to a disengaged or retracted position in which it is moved and may be maintained out of contact with the contact unit 23 on the counterpart coupler while the latching portions 2 remain in a coupled relation.

A shaft 34 is rotatably journaled in the bottom of cas ing 13 adjacent the rearward end thereof with one end of said shaft situated outside of the casing and the other end inside, as may best be seen in FIG. 3. The outside end of shaft 34 (see FIG. 1) has afiixed thereto an internally threaded relatively short lever 35 extending perpendicularly therefrom toward one side of the electrical circuitryconnecting portion 4, said lever being adapted to receive a lever extension 35, only a portion of which is shown in phantom outline. The lever extension 36, which may be removed from lever 35 and stored out of the Way when not in use, is long enough to extend beyond the lateral limit of the circuitry-connecting portion 4 so as to be accessible for manipulation in effecting rotation of the shaft 34, which has a finger member 37 fixed on the inside end. See FIGS. 1 and 3.

A torsion spring 38 encircling the shaft 34 acts to rotatably bias said shaft in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4, to thereby maintain the finger member 37 in contact with a pin 39 disposed perpendicularly thereto in one end of a link member 40, the other end of said link being fixed, as by welding, to the support plate 24 of the multiple-contact unit 23. The torsion spring 38 is of such predetermined torque rating as to maintain the push pads 33 on the support plate 24 of contact unit 23 in contact against the ends of spring seat stems 31 without moving the spring seats 30 out of contact with the brackets 32, respectively. See FIG. 3, Moreover, the torque rating of torsion spring 38 is such that when two coupled contact units 23 are separated by uncoupling operation of the cars, as will be described in greater detail hereiuaftenthe torsion of said spring, acting through the finger member 37, pin 39 and link 40, is effective, after a certain amount of separating movement of the mating heads, and therefore, the respective con-tact units 23, for overcoming the frictional resistance offered by the accumulative effect of the frictional contact between the several contacts 22, as previously noted herein, thereby causing separation of said contact units with a snap action, thus minimizing harmful electrical arcing between the several contacts 22 of the contact units during such separation. A second torsion spring 41, as best seen in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, may be provided on the shaft 34 outside of the casing 13 to assist spring 38 if it is found that the latter does not provide sufficient torque for effecting the snap action above mentioned.

In order to protect the contact units 23 and other internal mechanisms of the circuitry-connecting portion 4 when in an uncoupled relation, a protective cover or door 42 automatically moves over the face of the contact unit into a closed position as the cars are separated. The cover 42 automatically moves into an open position, in which the contacts 22 of the contact unit 23 are exposed, when the cars are brought together and coupled. The protective cover 42, as best seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, has a winglike projection 43 formed at each end thereof and extending perpendicularly from the upper portion thereof within and adjacent the inner respective surfaces of side portions 44 and 45, respectively, of the casing 13. Each of the wing-like projections 43 has a pin guide 46 fixed there'- in and projecting perpendicularly therefrom into a guide groove 47 formed in each of the adjacent inner surfaces of the side portions 44 and 45, respectively, of casing 13, said grooves being of predetermined curved shape so as to guide the pins 46 and, thereby direct the protective cover 42 through a proper path of movement between its open and closed positions. FIG. 5 shows the cover 42 in its closed position in solid outline, while a phantom outline of a portion of said cover indicates the position of the cover relative to the casing 13 when in its open position.

As best seen in FIG. 5, the protective cover 42 on each of the electrical circuitry-connecting portions 4 is operated to its open and closed positions by a linkage arrangement comprising a push rod 48 slidably guided in a bore 49 in a bracket 50 formed integrally with the side portion 45 of casing 13, said push rod being of a certain length and having a free or abutting end extending toward the oppositely facing circuitry-connecting portion 4 on the counterpart mating head 1 .(not shown) mounted on the other vehicle. As the cars to be coupled approach each other, the abutting end of the push rod 48 on one of the circuitry-connecting portions 4 registers with and abuts against an abutting surface 51 of a pad 52 formed on the casing 13 of the side portion 44 the counterpart circuitryconnecting portion 4 (not shown) in oppositely facing relation to said push rod, while the push rod 48 on said counterpart circuitry-connection portion abuts against a pad 52 similarly disposed on side portion 44 of casing 13 of said one circuitry-connecting portion. The length of each push rod 48 is the same and is such as to effectoperation of the counterpart protective covers 42, concurrently and in a manner to be hereinafter described, to their respective open positions before the counterpart mating heads 1 effect coupling engagement and for a reason which will become evident.

As may be seen in FIG. 5, the linkage for operating the protective cover 42 between its open and closed positions (it being understood that the structure and operation of the linkage on the counterpart circuitry-connecting portion 4, not shown is similar) is mounted on the outside of casing 13 adjacent the side portion 45 and further comprises a connecting link 53 having one end pivotally connected to the end of push rod 48 opposite the abutting end. The other end of connecting link 53 is pivotally connected to a free end of a carrier link 54, the other end of said carrier link being pivotally supported from a pin 55 fixed in the side portion 45 of casing 13. A connecting link 56 has one end pivotally connected to the free end of carrier link 54, while the other end of said connecting link is pivotally connected to an operating arm 57 at a point intermediate the ends of said operating arm. One end of the operating arm 57 is pivotally anchored on a pin 58 fixed in the side portion 45 of casing 13, while the other end of said operating arm is pivotally connected to the lower corner extremity (as viewed in FIG. 5) of the protective cover 42 adjacent said portion of the casing.

The lower corner extremity of protective cover 42 adjacent side portion 44 of casing 13 is pivotally supported by one end of a carrier arm 59 similar in shape to operating arm 57, the other end of said carrier arm being pivotally supported by a pin 60 fixed in said side portion of said casing in a correspondingly opposite position to that of pin 58 in side portion 45. A spring seat 61 fixed to one end of a spring rod 62 is pivotally connected to operating arm 57 at a point coinciding with the point of the pivotal connection of connecting link 56 thereon. The other end of spring rod 62 is slidably supported in a bore 63 in a bracket 64 mounted on side portion 45 of casing 13. A

spring 65 encircling the spring rod 62 is compressed between the spring seat 61 and bracket 64 for a purpose to be disclosed hereinafter.

In considering the operation of the car coupler disclosed herein, let it be assumed that two railway vehicles (not shown) are to be coupled and each is equipped at each end thereof with a mating head 1 in the manner above described. As the cars are moved toward each other, the tapered guide pin 5 on one mating head enters the guide bore 7 on the other mating head and vice versa to thereby effect proper alignment of the mating heads on the adjacent ends of the cars being coupled. At the same time, the push rod 48 of the one mating head 1 abuttingly contacts the abutting surface 51 of pad 52 on the other mating head and vice versa to initiate operation of the protective covers 42 on both mating heads from their respective closed positions to their respective open positions in a manner set forth below. Since the corresponding components of the mating heads on both cars are similar in structure and function simultaneously in an identical manner during coupling of the cars, operation of just one of said mating heads will be described, it being understood that the other adjacent mating head on the adjacent car is functioning in a similar manner to effect a coupling relation.

As the cars come together and upon complete abutment of the mating heads, the guide pins 5 of the latching portions 2 are engaged by the latch members 8, respectively, to effect locking of the mating heads into coupled relation. At the same time all fluid pressure connections between the pipe connectors 9, 10, 11 and 12 are effected in the manner described in the aforementioned copending application of William B. Jeffrey and Richard K. Frill.

Following initial contact of push rod 48 with the pad 52 on the other mating head and during final movement of the mating heads into complete abutting and coupled relation, such movement causes said push rod to be moved out of a normal or extended position in a righthand direction, as viewed in FIG. 5, in the bracket 50 relative to the circuitry-connecting portion 4. Rightward movement of the push rod 48, acting through connecting link 53, causes counterclockwise rotation of carrier link 54 about pin 55. A stop pin 66 remov-ably secured in casing 13 and surrounded by a rubber type sleeve 67 (see FIG. 4) limits rotation of carrier link 54 to less than 180 and thereby prevents possible rotation of said carrier link 54 past a no-return point. counterclockwise rotation of carrier link 54, acting through connecting link 56 and spring seat 61, causes spring rod 62 to be drawn rearwardly or in a right-hand direction as viewed in FIG. 5, thereby compressing spring 65 between said spring seat and bracket 64. Rearward movement of spring rod 62 effects counterclockwise rotation of operating arm 57 about pin 58. Counterclockwise rotation of operating arm 57 causes the protective cover 42, the other end of which is supported by carrier arm 59, to be pulled downwardly and underneath casing 13, as guided by the guide pins 46 in the guide grooves 47, to its open position shown in phantom outline in FIG. 5. As was above intimated, operation of the protective covers 42 on the respective circuitry-connecting portions 4 to their respective open positions must be accomplished, and is accomplished due to the length of the respective push rods 48, so as to have said covers clear of the respective contact units 23 before said contact units come into contact with each other.

Before final and complete coupling engagement of the mating heads 1 and, therefore, the circuitry-connecting portions 4, the respective contact units 23 are precisely aligned by a guide pin 68 projecting perpendicularly from the face of the contact unit and a recess 69 provided in said face (see FIGS. 1 and 3), said pin and said recess being so disposed that, during coupling operation, the guide pin on one mating head registers with and is received by the recess on the other mating head, and vice versa. The protective cover 42 is provided with a slot 70 for accommodating the guide pin 68 when said cover is closed.

Upon initial contact of the contact unit 23 with the contact unit on the counterpart mating head, said contact unit is moved rearwardly by sliding on the rails 26 against the opposition of springs 29, which normally hold the contact unit in an extended position in which it projects slightly beyond the forward end or abutting face of casing 13. As the contact unit 23 is moved rearwardly by abutment with the counterpart contact unit, the springs 29 are increasingly compressed and force the contacts 22 into engagement with the contacts 22 on the counterpart contact unit against the yielding fricional resistance of the contacts themselves. If the force of the compressed springs 29 fails to effect complete engagement of the contacts 22, before the mating heads 1 have moved into complete coupling relation, as for example, if one or both of springs 29 break, the forward end of slot 27, as the contact unit 23 moves rearwardly, eventually comes into contact with the fixed pin 28 thereby preventing further rearward movement of said contact unit and thus insuring complete engagement of the contacts 22 by the time the mating heads 1 have completely moved into coupled relation and the abutting face of casing 13 is in contact with the abutting face of the counterpart casing.

With the mating head 1 in coupled relation with the counterpart mating head, and therefore, with the contacts 22 of the contact unit 23 engaged with the contacts on the counterpart mating head, all necessary electrical connections are established for closing respective electrical circuits (not shown) extending throughout the train for supplying electrical current to various electrical equipment and devices, said circuits including a power loop circuit (not shown). The power loop circuit, which extends throughout the entire length of the train, comprises two electrical conductors (not shown) which are connected serially from car to car through the electrical circuitry-connecting portions 4 of the mating heads 1. Since electrical current is supplied through the power loop circuit to such equipment as the tail and stop lights (not shown) on the rear end of the train and to the operators controller (not shown) on the lead car, it is essential that the continuity of said power loop circuit be maintained without interruption in order to not lose control of the train. Such continuity is provided through certain ones of the electrical contacts 22 of the contact unit 23 when the electrical circuitry-connecting portions 4 are in coupled relation. Since the mating head 1 on the rear end of the last car in the train is not coupled to a counterpart mating head for maintaining continuity of the power loop circuit, the electrical circuitry-connecting portion 4 of each of the mating heads has an automatically electrical switch device 71 mounted therein and to which the conductors of the power loop circuit are connected.

The switch device 71 is normally disposed in a closed position in which the power loop circuit is closed, that is, when the circuitry-connecting portion 4 on which it is carried is in an uncoupled state. The switch device 71 has an operating lever 72 which is adapted for actuation by a cam 73 fixed to the inner end of pin 58 (see FIG. 3) for rotation therewith when said pin, which is fixed to the operating arm 57 of the protective cover 42, is rotated by rotation of said operating arm, as above described. With the protective cover 42 in its closed position, cam 73 is effective for causing lever 72 to operate the switch device to its closed position, above defined. When the protective cover 42 is operated to its open position by coupling action of the mating head 1, above described, rotation of pin 58 and cam 73 is effective for causing lever 72 to operate the switch device 71 to an open position for breaking the power loop circuit through said switch device since said power loop circuit, as above noted, is closed by engagement of and through the contact units 23. i

With the mating head 1 and the electrical circuitry connecting portion 4 thereof disposed in a coupled relation with a counterpart mating head, some malfunctioning of the electrical equipment, other than that controlled through the power loo-p circuit, may develop on the car on which said mating head is mounted. It may be desirable, therefore, to isolate and cut off further operation of the malfunctioning electrical equipment without removing the car from the train. Such isolation of the malfunctioning equipment can be effected by manually rotating shaft 34 through lever 35 and lever extension 36 out of a normal position in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4, against the torsion of springs 38 and 41. Such rotation of shaft 34 causes the finger 'member 37, acting against pin 39 and through link member 40, to force the contact unit 23 to slide rearwardly on the tracks 26 to a retracted position in which said contact unit and the contacts 22 thereon are disengaged from the contact unit and contacts on the counter-part mating head, thereby breaking the several electrical circuits connected by said contact units without uncoupling the mating heads 1. The amount of rearward movement of the contact unit 23 is limited by contact of the forward end of slot 27 with pin 28, such amount of rearward movement being sufiicient for breaking engagement of the contacts 22 on the coupled mating heads. A retractable pin 74, which may best be seen in FIGS. 1 and 5 and which may be retracted into the bottom of casing 13 by pushing axially on the free end of the pin, is so situated that, when thus retracted, it permits the extension lever 36 to pass underneath it when said lever is operated to a retracting position in which contact unit 23 is moved to its retracted position as above described. When the lever 36 has moved past pin 74, said pin is allowed to drop out of casing 13 so that said lever may be biased thereagainst by the torsion of springs 38 and 41 and held in its cut-off position until released. With contact unit 23 in its retracted position, the springs 29 are accordingly compressed and remain so until extension lever 36 is released, whereupon said compressed springs are effective for restoring the contact unit to its normal position.

When the contact unit 23 on any one car is operated to its retracted position, as immediately above described, all circuits including the power loop circuit connected therethrough when in its coupled relation with the counterpart contact unit are disrupted in said car and in any and all cars that might be coupled behind said one car. Again, however, it is desirable to maintain continuity of the power loop circuit for controlling all cars on the train. Such continuity of the power loop circuit is maintained through a second switch device 75 in casing '13 (see FIG. 4) and similar to switch device 71. The switch device 75 is provided on each of the mating heads 1, and like switch device '71, is connected to the conductors of the power loop circuit and is normally disposed in an open position in which the power loop circuit is also open through said switch device but closed through the contact units 23 when said contact units are engaged. When the contact unit 223 is manually operated to its retracted position, as above described and in which the power loop circuit is then disrupted therethrough, said contact unit engages an operating lever (not shown) of the switch device 75 to effect operation of the switch device to a closed position in which said power loop circuit is reclosed through said switch device to maintain the continuity thereof throughout that portion of the train ahead of the car in which the breakdown occurred. [It should be understood, however, that if malfunctioning occurs on one of the cars in the electrical equipment controlled by the power loop circuit or on one of the cars close to the head end of the train, then such car must either be cut out of the train or moved to the rear thereof. If the disabled car is coupled to the rear of the train, the power loop circuit may be closed through the remainder of the train by manually operating the contact unit 23 on the rear of the car immediately ahead of the disabled car to its retracted position for closing the switch 75. If and when the malfunction is corrected, the contact unit 23, as above described, may be restored to its normal position by pushing the retractable pin 74 into casing #13, thereby permitting the extension lever 36 to be released from its retracting position. With the contact unit 23 restored to its normal position, all electrical connections are restored through the contacts 212, including the power loop circuit, and switch device 75 is restored to its normally open position.

When it is desired to uncouple two coupled cars, a crewman operates an electrical switch (not shown) on one of the cars to be uncoupled, operation of which switch causes operation of fluid pressure operable cylinder devices (not shown) on the latching portions 2 of the mating heads 1 for disengaging the latch members 8 from the notches (not shown) in the pins 5, respectively. When the pins 5 are disengaged by the latching members 8-, the cars may be separated, whereupon all pipe connectors 9, 10, 11 and 12 are separated. Since each of the pipe connectors 9, 10, %11 and 12 are connected to pipes (not shown) which are normally charged with feed valve supply pressure, straight air pressure and brake pipe pressure, respectively, said pipe connectors are each equipped with valve means whereby the connectors and therefore the respective pipes are automatically closed to atmosphere upon separation of the mating heads. Separation of the cars also effects separation of the electrical circuitry-connecting portions 4.

During initial separation of the mating heads 1 and, therefore, of the electrical circuitry-connecting portions 4, the cumulative effect of friction between the several engaged contacts 22 of the contact units 23 causes said contact units to resist such separation. The contact unit 23, therefore, in each of the mating heads slides forwardly on the rails 26, against the opposing torsion of springs 38 and 4 1 acting through finger 37 and link 40, until the rearward end of slot 27 comes into contact with the fixed pin 28, thereby taking up all lost motion therebetween. Upon exhaustion of such lost motion and due to the torsion of springs 38 and =41 acting on the contact uni-t 23, said contact unit is caused to separate from the counterpart contact unit with a snap-actiomtthereby minimizing harmful electrical arcing between the" separating contacts 22.

As the mating heads 1 move completely apart during the uncoupling operation, spring 65' (on the electrical portion 4) which was compressed between spring seat 6l1 and bracket 64 during the coupling operation, is effective through the operating arm 57, link 56, carrier link 54 and link '53 for restoring the protective cover 42 to its closed position and push rod 48 to its extended position. Of course, during operation of the protective cover 42 to its closed position, rotation of operating lever 57, pin 58 and, therefore, of cam 7'3 effects operation of switch device 71 to its closed position once again for closing the power loop circuit, as above explained.

Having now described the invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. An automatic electrical connecting device for use with an automatic car coupling apparatus having one coupler head carried on one car and adapted for locking with a counterpart mating coupler head carried on another car, said automatic electrical connecting device comprising, in combination:

(a) a casing removably mountable on a coupler head and having an abutting face disp'osed perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the car for making abutting contact with an abutting face of a casing on the counterpart coupler head,

(b) a contact unit slidably mounted in said casing for engagement in a frictionally and separably locked relation with a similarly mounted contact unit on the counterpart coupler head for providing at least one electrical connection between the cars,

(c) first spring means for biasing said contact unit, with the coupler head in an uncoupled relation, to a normal position projecting outwardly of said casing and slightly forward of said abutting face, said first spring means being effective for assisting in forcing said contact unit into such frictionally locked relation with the counterpart contact unit during coupling movement of the coupler heads, and

(d) second spring means tensioned by separating movement of said contact unit from the counterpart contact unit during uncoupling of the coupler heads and thereby rendering said second spring means effective, after a predetermined amount of such separating movement, for overcoming the frictional resistance of said contact unit to such separation and thereby causing such separation with a snap action for minimizing electrical arcing between the contacts at the instant of separation.

2. An automatic electrical connecting device, as defined in claim 1, further characterized by means for limiting sliding movement of said contact unit in opposite directions from its said normal position for insuring such locked relation with the counterpart contact unit, upon coupling of the coupler heads, and for insuring positive snap-acting separation therefrom upon uncoupling of the coupler heads.

3. An automatic electrical connecting device, as defined in claim 1, further characterized in that said contact unit comprises a plurality of electrical contact elements engageable with a similar plurality of electrical contact elements on the counterpart contact unit for effecting said frictionally locked relation therebet-ween.

4. An automatic electrical connecting device, as defined I in claim 1, further characterized by:

(a) a protective door pivotally mounted on said casing and having a closed position in which said contact unit is covered against damage,

(b) linkage means for operating said protective door,

(c) spring means acting through said linkage means for biasing said protective door to its said closed position, and

(d) a push rod operatively connected to said linkage means and abuttingly engageable by the abutting face on the counterpart casing during coupling operation for actuating said linkage means to cause said protective door to be operated to an open position in which said contact unit is uncovered in such time as to make abutting contact with the counterpart contact unit before the abutting faces make contact.

5. The combination, as defined in claim 4, further characterized by an electrical switch device operatively connected with said protective door so as to occupy an open position, when said door is in its said open position, and being operable, by operation of said door to its said closed position, to a circuit-closing position, whereby continuity of train control circuitry may be maintained through said switch device on the coupler head at the rear end of the train when said protective door is in its said closed position.

6. The combination, as defined in claim 1, further characterized by:

(a) manually operable means carried on said casing for manually operating said contact unit while the coupler heads remain in a coupled relation, to a retracted position in which said contact unit is disengaged from the contact unit on the counterpart coupier head, and

(b) latching means for retaining said contact unit in said retracted position.

7. The combination, as defined in claim 6, further characterized by a normally open electrical switch device operatively associated with said contact unit and being operable, by operation of said contact unit to its said retracted position, to a circuit-closing position, whereby continuity 12 of train control circuitry, normally maintained through the contact units when in a locked relation, is maintained through said switch device when said contact unit is in said retracted position.

8. In an automatic car and electric coupling apparatus having one coupler head carried on one car and adapted for locking with a counterpart mating coupler head carried on another car, the combination of:

(a) a casing carried on the one coupler head and having an abutting face disposed perpendicularly to the iongitudinal axis of the car for making abutting contact with an abutting face of a casing on the counterpart coupler head,

(b) a contact unit slidably mounted in said casing for engagement in a frictionally and separably locked relation with a similarly mounted contact unit on the counterpart coupler head for providing at least one electrical connection between the cars,

(c) first spring means for biasing said contact unit, with the coupler head in an uncoupled relation, to a normal position projecting outwardly of said casing and slightly forward of said abutting face, said first spring means being effective for assisting in forcing said contact unit into such frictionally locked relation with the counterpart contact unit during coupling movement of the coupler heads, and,

(d) second spring means tensioned by separating movement of said contact unit from the counterpart contact unit during uncoupling of the coupler heads and thereby rendering said second spring means effective, after a predetermined amount of such separating movement, for overcoming the frictional resistance of said contact unit to such separation and thereby causing such separation with a snap action for minimizing electrical arcing between the contacts at the instant of separation.

9. In an automatic car, air and electric coupling apparatus having one coupler head carried on one car and adapted for looking with a counterpart mating coupler head carried on another car, the combination of:

(a) a latching portion carried on the one coupler head and being engageable with a latching portion carried on the counterpart coupler head for locking the coupler heads together,

(b) a pipe-c0nnccting portion carried on the one coupler head and being adapted for registering with a pipeconnecting portion on the counterpart coupler head, when the coupler heads are locked together, for providing a plurality of air-tight fluid pressure connections between the cars, and

(c) an electrical circuitry-connecting portion having a multiple-contact unit slidabiy mounted thereon for engagement in a frictionally and separably locked relation with a similarly mounted multiple-contact unit on an electrical circuitry-connecting portion of the counterpart coupler head for providing a plurality of electrical connections between the cars, said multiple-contact unit being disposed in an outer position while the coupler heads are uncoupled and being movable upon engagement with the counterpart multiple-contact unit incidental to coupling of the coupler heads to an inner position,

(d) spring means tensioned by the separating movement of the coupler heads incidental to uncoupling for biasing said multiple-contact unit in one direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car to assist in overcoming frictional resistance between the two multiple-contact units when separating from each other during uncoupling of the coupler heads and for causing separation of said multiple-contact unit from the counterpart unit with a snap action for minimizing electrical arcing between the several contacts at the instant of separation.

10. The combination, as defined in claim a, further 75 characterized by spring means for biasing said multiple- 13 contact unit in a direction opposite to said one direction for cushioning the impact of abutting contact with the counterpart unit and for assisting in effecting said frictionally locked relation therewith upon movement of the coupler heads into coupled relation.

11. The combination, as defined in claim It), further characterized by:

(a) a face plate carried by said latching portion in a disposition perpendicular to said longitudinal axis and adapted for making abutting contact with a similarly disposed face plate on the counterpart latching portion in the locked relation of the coupler heads, and

(b) said multiple-contact unit being biased by the differential of the opposing forces exerted thereon by said two spring means, in the uncoupled relation of the coupler head, to a normal position in which said multiple-contact unit protrudes slightly beyond the abutting surface of said face plate to thereby make abutting contact with the multiple-contact unit on the counterpart coupler head before said face plate makes abutting contact with the counterpart face plate.

12. The combination, as defined in claim 11, further characterized by means for limiting sliding movement of said multiple-contact unit in opposite directions from its said normal position for insuring said locked relation with the counterpart unit, upon coupling of the coupler heads, and for insuring positive snap-action separation therefrom upon uncoupling of the coupler heads.

13. The combination, as defined in claim 9, further characterized by:

(a) a plurality of electrical contact elements disposed on said multiple-contact unit and engageable with a similar plurality of electrical contact elements on the counterpart multiple-contact unit for effecting said frictionally locked relation therebetween when the coupler heads are in locked relation,

(b) a protective door pivotally mounted on said electrical circuitry-connecting portion and having a closed position in which said plurality of electrical contact elements is shielded against damage,

(c) linkage means for operating said protective door,

((1) spring means acting through said linkage means for biasing said protective door to its said closed position, and

(e) a push rod operatively connected to said linkage means and abuttingly engageable by the counterpart coupler head during coupling operation for actuating said linkage means to cause said protective door to be operated to an open position in which said plurality of electrical contact elements is exposed in such time as to make abutting contact with the similar plurality of electrical contact elements on the counterpart multiple contact unit before the coupler heads are engaged in a locked relation.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,453,817 5/1923 Westinghouse 213-13 ARTHUR L. LA POINT, Primary Examiner.

D. E. HOFFMAN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1453817 *Jul 5, 1918May 1, 1923Westinghouse Air Brake CoElectric coupling for cars
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3438511 *Sep 6, 1967Apr 15, 1969Dresser IndElectric coupler cover assembly
US3472396 *Jun 26, 1967Oct 14, 1969Westinghouse Air Brake CoAutomatic railway car coupler with multiple contact electric portion
US4892204 *Jun 2, 1988Jan 9, 1990General Signal CorporationAutomatic coupler control system
US4957208 *May 24, 1989Sep 18, 1990American Standard Inc.Multiple contact electrical connector portion for an automatic railway coupler
US5094354 *Apr 15, 1991Mar 10, 1992Scharfenbergkupplung GmbhCoupling and uncoupling device for an electrical cable coupling and a mechanical middle buffer coupling for rail-borne vehicles
US5139158 *Apr 15, 1991Aug 18, 1992Scharfenbergkupplung GmbhCoupling and uncoupling device for an electrical cable coupling and a mechanical middle buffer coupling for rail-borne vehicles, as well as a switching device for actuating the coupling and uncoupling device for coupling and uncoupling
Classifications
U.S. Classification213/1.3, 280/422
International ClassificationB61G5/00, B61G5/06
Cooperative ClassificationB61G5/06
European ClassificationB61G5/06