US 3591017 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
I United States Patent nu 3,591,017
 Inventors Geoffrey W. Cope 1,921,207 8/1933 Robinson 213/76 Williamsville Primary Exammer-Drayton E Hoffman z s Punwam Lancaster both A!iorneysRobert W. Mayer, Daniel Rubin, Raymond T. pp NO- 859'431 l'VlZ eSk Jl'iddIe E. Scott, Roy L. Van Winkle and William E. 22 Filed Sept. 19,1969  Patented July 6,1971  Ass'gnce Dresser lndusmestlnc' ABSTRACT; An automatic line connector for railway cars Dallas useful in automatically connecting the airbrake lines of the cars upon mechanical coupling of the cars as well as electrical  AUTOMATIC LINE CONNECTOR FOR RAILWAY conductors and/or other air lines. The connector includes a CARS gathering head adapted to universally mate with identical 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs gathering heads of other railway cars. Positioned rearwardly of the gathering head 15 a first support plate WhlCh 15 attached  US. Cl to the railway car coup]er Means uch as a pring act between 213/1-3 the gathering head and the support plate for yieldably urging  I'll. CI B6lg 1/06, the gathering head to a forward position and permitting rear. 5/06 ward motion of the gathering head either upon contact with a of Search mating gathering head or during motion of the railway can L6, 76; 285/58; 339/48 Tethering means, such as chains, are provided for limiting the References Cited forward travel of the gathering head under the influence of the spring and permitting oblique movement of the gathering head UNITED STATES PATENTS upon mating and during movement of the railway car. In a 1,1 12,973 10/1914 Bricker 213/76 preferred embodiment the chains are attached at one end to 1,182,684 5/1916 Howe 213/76 the support plate and at the other end to a second support 1,232,364 7/1917 Mitchell 213/76 plate which is affixed to a shaft extending rearwardly from the 1,519,184 12/1924 Barber..... 213/76 gathering head, the shaft serving to transmit air between the 1,797,167 3/1931 Baldwin 213/76 railway cars.
PATENIEUJuL BIS?! 3,591,017
SHEET 1 or 3 FIG. 5
INVENTORS GEOFFREY w. COPE SWAMIDAS K. PUNWANI FIG. I I g? ATTORNEY PATENIEUJUL 6|97| 3 591 017 sum 2 [1F 3 INVENTORS:
GEOFFREY w. COPE FIG. 4 SWAMIDAS K. PUNWANI ATTORNEY PATENTEU JUL 6 MI SHEET 3 OF 3 FIG. 6
- INVENTORS GEOFFREY w. COPE SWAMIDAS K. PUNWANI FIG. 7
ATTORNEY AUTOMATIC LINE CONNECTOR FOR RAILWAY CARS RELATED APPLICATIONS US. Application Ser. No. 74l,l l6.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to railway cars, and more particularly, to automatic line connectors for railway cars.
2. Description of the Prior Art It has been common to equip passenger cars in noninterchange service with automatic line connectors, i.e., connectors for automatically coupling air andlor electric lines between railway cars instant to the mechanical coupling of the cars. While railway cars in freight service have not been customarily equipped with such connectors, an automatic train line connector suitable for use with freight cars is disclosed in application for US. Pat. Ser. No. 706,484 The connector described in the mentioned application comprises a gathering head adapted to mate with a corresponding gather ing head of another railway car upon mechanical coupling of the cars. The connector includes a conduit or shaft extending rearwardly of the gathering head which is spring biased to permit limited longitudinal movement of the gathering head. The shaft is also mounted in a universal joint to permit limited oblique movement of the gathering head upon mating of the head, or during motion of the railway car. The provision of a universal joint connection and the provision of suitable hearing surface which will permit longitudinal and oblique movement of the gathering head against the force of a spring requires the machining or casting of relatively complex elements to produce the complete unit.
The automatic line connector of the present invention is simpler in construction, more rugged, dependable and easier to fabricate than the line connector disclosed in the above described application for United States Letters Patent.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention may be generally described as an automatic line connector for a railway car which includes a gathering head adapted to mate with the corresponding gathering head of another railway car, a first support plate positioned rearwardly of said gathering head, means for mounting said first support plate to the railway car, means acting between the first support plate and the gathering head to yieldably urge said gathering head to a forward position but permit rearward movement of said head when a force is applied thereto, and tethering means acting between the first support plate and the gathering head which limit the forward travel of and position the gathering head while permitting longitudinal and oblique movement thereof during mating of said gathering head.
BRIEF-DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a mechanical railway coupling to which is attached one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of two automatic line connectors embodying the present invention which are in a confronting relationship;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3 which additionally shows in phantom line a mated gathering head;
FIG. 5 is a partial plan view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3, which additionally illustrates a mated gathering head;
FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of an alternative gathering head which may be used in connection with the present invention; and
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a conventionaltype E mechanical coupler, generally indicated by reference numeral 11 below which is positioned an automatic line connector I2, which serves, among other functions, to connect the airbrakc line of the railway car to which coupler 11 is attached to the airbrake line of an adjoining car upon mechani cal coupling of the two railway cars. The automatic line connector 12 includes a gathering head 13 from the rear of which extends a shaft 14. Shaft 14 passes through two support plates 16 and 17, to the first of which it is attached by weldment 18. As illustrated in FIG. 2, rear support plate 17 is provided with an aperture 19 through which the shaft 14 passes for attachment, through an elbow 21, to a flexible airhose 22. The front support plate 16 and rear support plate 17 have compressed therebetween a helical spring 23, one end of which is received within a sleeve 24 and the opposite end of which is received in a similar sleeve 25. Sleeves 24 and 25 are secured to plates 16 and 17, respectively, by any suitable means, The spring 23 is maintained in compression by tethering means between front plate 16 and rear plate 17, such as three or four equally spaced'chains, the illustrated embodiment being provided with four chains 26. Chains 26 are attached to plates 16 and 17 by eye bolts 27 and 28, respectively. The connector 12 may be mounted in any suitable manner which permits normal operation of the coupler operating mechanism (not shown), such as by connection to the mechanical coupler 11, as illustrated in FIG. 1. More particularly, connector 12 includes two arms 29 and 31. Arm 29 is attached at the top end to the knuckle side of coupling 11 and at the bottom end to support plate 17, both connections being made in any suitable manner, such as by weldments. Arm 31 is attached at its upper end to the guard arm side of coupling 11 and at its bottom end to support plate 17, the means of connection taking any conventional form, such as weldments. Arms 29 and 31 are suitably spaced, as illustrated in FIG. 2, to permit the accommodation of shaft 14, spring 23 and sleeve 25 therebetween.
In addition to shaft 14, which is attached to gathering head 13, there is also attached thereto a conduit 32 which extends rearwardly therefrom for attachment to a flexible hose 33 through a suitable union 34. Gathering head 13 also supports a puffer cylinder, generally indicated by the reference numeral 36, which is attached thereto by two bolt and clamp assemblies 37. Puffer cylinder 36 is also attached to a flexible conduit 38 which extends rearwardly from the gathering head 13.
Gathering head 13 is more particularly illustrated in FIG. 4 to which reference is here made. Gathering head 13 includes a main body portion 39 provided with recesses 41 and 42 which receive therewithin centrally apertured, rubber grommets 43 and 44, respectively. Rearwardly of grommets 43 and 44 are ports 46 and 47. In registering relationship with ports 46 and 47 are internally threaded nipples 48 and 49 which receive therewithin conduit 32 and shaft 14, respectively. Thus, upon engagement of the gathering heads 13 of mechanically coupled railway cars, one of which couplings is illustrated in phantom line in FIG. 4, the fluid passing through conduit 32 passes through port 46 and the aperture in grommet 41 into the connecting gathering head 13 and the corresponding conduit 32. Fluid-type connection is assured between conduit 32 and the gathering head 13 through the provision of a resilient gasket 51 imposed between the end of conduit 32 and the shoulder of port 46.
Similarly, any fluid in shaft 14, which may serve to communicate air from an adjoining car to the airbrake system of the railway car to which gathering head 13 is attached, will communicate through shaft 14, port 47 and the aperture in grommet 44 with the corresponding structure in a mating gathering head. A fluid-type connection between shaft 14 and nipple 49 is assured by a resilient gasket 52 positioned between the end of shaft 14 and a shoulder of port 47.
The bottom half of body 39'is provided with aperture 53 through which passes the plunger 54 of a conventional puffer cylinder 36. Puffer cylinder 36 has a cylindrical body 56 within which is positioned a rolling diaphragm 57 which serves to divide body 56 into chambers 58 and 59. Thus, upon movement of plunger 54 to the left against the force ofa coil spring 61, pressure in chamber 58, and thus nipple 62 will be increased, and upon movement of plunger 54 to the right under the influence of spring 611, pressure in chamber 56 and conduit 62 will be decreased. The gathering head illustrated in FIGS.
l4 may be used in connection with the brake line control system illustrated and described in application for US. Pat. Ser. No. 741.1 16. More particularly, the puffer cylinder 36 il lustrated in FIG. 4 corresponds to the puffer cylinder identified by the reference numeral 34 in FIG. 7 of the referenced application, and conduit 32 illustrated in connection with the present invention corresponds with the vent line 74 of the referenced application. The main airbrake line of as in the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. I4, the plunger 54 has been'repositioned so that it extends from the top half ofthe gathering head 13. The port 46 in the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7 is positioned in the bottom half of gathering head 13 and to either side and to the bottom of port 46 are electrical contact pins 63 which pass through body 39 of gathering head 13 from which they are insulated by suitable insulating material 64. The pins are urged into a normally extended position by coil springs 65 so that upon abutment of gathering head ll3 with a corresponding gathering head contact between pins 63 of one head and corresponding pins 63 of an adjacent head will be assured. Each of the pins 63 is threaded at its rearwardly extending end 66 to receive nuts 67 and 68 which compress therebetween a flexible electrical conductor 69 of any suitable form. The electrical conductor 69 may, of course, serve to communicate current from a central generator to equipment which services the railway car to which gathering head 13 is attached.
In order to assure that the gathering heads 13 of cars to be coupled will join in registering relationship and be aligned for coupling prior to actual contact of the air line grommets or electric contacts (when used), each of the gathering heads 13 is provided with a top wing 71 and a bottom wing 72 which, as particularly illustrated in FIG. 2, extend obliquely from the sides of body 39. The top wing 71 has a vertically extending lateral interlocking planar surface 73 and a horizontally extending vertical interlocking planar surface 74. Similarly, the bottom wing has a vertically extending lateral interlocking planar surface 76 and a vertical interlocking planar surface 77. Thus, as the gathering heads 13 are brought into abutting relationship, the top and bottom wings 71 and 72 of the gathering heads 13 will guide the grommets 43 and 44 of the two gathering heads into registering relationship.
As the gathering heads 13 are brought into abutting contact, the lateral interlocking surface 73 of the top wing 71 will abut the side 78 of the abutting head while the lateral interlocking surface 76 of bottom wing 72 will abut side 79 of the corresponding gathering head. Thus on full abutment of the gathering heads 12, as illustrated in FIG. 5, lateral interlocking surfaces 73 and 76 will prevent lateral movement of one gathering head relative to the other.
To ensure that the mating gathering heads 13 are in vertical registry, each of the top wings 71 is provided with a bottom ramp 81 and the bottom wings 72 are provided with a top ramp 82 which upon approximate abutment of the gathering heads 13 will guide the heads into vertical registry. As the gathering heads 13 are brought into abutment, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the vertical interlocking surface 77 ofthe bottom wing 72 will be in abutment with the vertical interlocking surface 74 of the top wing 71 of the corresponding gathering head and, similarly, the top wing 7ll ofa gathering head will have its vertical interlocking surface 74 in abutment with the vertical interlocking surface 77 of the bottom wing of an abutting gathering head.
To ensure that the gathering heads 13 of adjoining railway cars come into and maintain full abutment to assure lateral and vertical interlocking under all operating conditions, the nuts 83 which engage the thread of ends of eye bolts 27 and/or the nut 84 which engage the thread of the ends of eye bolts 28 are adjustable to permit spring 23 to urge gathering head 13 forward of the coupling line of the mechanical couplers, generally indicated by the reference numeral 85 in FIG. I. The coupling line 85 is that line which, upon complete coupling of the mechanical couplers ll of two railway cars will pass through the same points on both couplers. Thus, upon engagement of two gathering heads, each of the springs 23 urging those gathering heads into the extended position will be compressed as the gathering heads will move rearwardly. The force of spring 23 will, however, serve to press the grommets 43 and 44 of adjoining connectors into a fluidtight engagement as the grommets 43 and 44 in relaxed condition normally extend slightly from the face of the body 39. As the rear support plate 17 is provided with an aperture 19 longer in diameter than shaft I4, the shaft 14 may move obliquely as well as forwardly and rearwardly due to the mating of gathering heads I3 or due to forces exerted during movement of the railway car and coupler to which the connector 12 is attached.
As will be understood by those skilled in the art, the described embodiments of the invention may be modified in numerous respects without departing from the invention, and while rather specific terms have been used in describing the illustrated embodiments, they are not intended nor should they be construed as a limitation upon the invention as defined by the following claims.
1. An automatic line connector for a railway car, which connector comprises:
a gathering head adapted to mate with the corresponding gathering head of another railway car, said gathering head including a top wing extending obliquely from one side thereof, the top wing having a vertically extending lateral interlocking planar surface for engagement with the side of a mating head, and a horizontally extending vertical interlocking planar surface along the bottom thereof, and a bottom wing which extends obliquely from the opposite side of said head, the bottom wing also having a vertically extending lateral interlocking surface for engagement with the side of a mating head and a horizontally extending vertical interlocking planar surface at the top thereof, the vertical interlocking surfaces of the top and bottom wings being almost coplanar so that upon mating of the gathering head with another gathering head, the vertical interlocking surface of the top wing of one head will abut the vertically extending surface of the bottom wing of the other head;
a first support plate positioned rearwardly of said gathering head;
means for mounting said first support plate to said railway car;
means acting between said first support plate and said gathering head to yieldably urge said gathering head to a forward position but permit rearward movement of said head when a force is applied thereto; and
tethering means acting between said first support plate and said gathering head which limit the forward travel of the gathering head while permitting longitudinal and oblique movement thereof during mating of said gathering head.
2. The connector of claim 1 wherein said tethering means comprise:
at least three chains, each of which has one end fixed to said first support plate and the other end fixed relative to said gathering head for limiting forward movement of and for positioning said gathering head.
3. The connector of claim 2, including:
means for adjusting the length of the chains which serve to tether the first support plate and the gathering head to permit adjustment of the position of the gathering head relative to the first support plate.
4. The connector of claim 1, wherein said first support plate has an aperture therebetween and said connector includes:
a shaft extending rearwardly from said gathering head and passing through said first support plate, one end of said shaft being affixed to said gathering head.
5. The connector ofclaim 15, including:
a second support plate through which said shaft passes and to which said shaft is attached, said second support plate being positioned between said first support plate and said gathering head, and wherein said means acting between said first support plate and said gathering head comprises: a spring, one end of which abuts said first support plate and the other end of which abuts said second support plate.
6. The connector of claim 5, wherein said tethering means has one end fixed to said first support plate and has the other end fixed to said second support plate.