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Criccieth Castle coupling loop

Philip Brockbank

I wanted to be able to use stock fitted with LGB hook and loop couplers with my Roundhouse Criccieth Castle loco. With my other Roundhouse locos it was simply a matter of unscrewing the centre buffer and replacing with an LGB loop. For some reason on my Criccieth Castle the buffer is set at a different height so when it was swapped for an LGB loop it was about 3mm too high and totally useless. This proved to be a blessing in disguise as there was room to fit a home made loop at the correct height whilst retaining the centre buffer. This looks better than just the loop and means chain coupling can still be used if desired.
I did not want to drill extra holes in the buffer beam so I made a coupling loop from brass with brackets that attach using the existing screws that hold the buffer beam. The loop was made from L section filed and curved to a similar profile to an LGB loop. The brackets were drilled and bent so that the loop sits at the right height just behind the centre buffer. Hopefully the pictures will make it clear.
I could not decide if it would look best painted in red or black so I did both - brackets in red and loop in black. It looks inconspicuous on the loco.

Time for testing and all was well...when pulling a train. But when pushing through reverse curves the stock nearest the loco kept derailing. The loop on the stock was getting jammed in the gap between the loco buffer and the loco loop. One solution would be to re-work the brackets to make the loop flush with the face of the buffer but I thought that would look ugly. I chose instead to drill two small holes in the underside of the buffer and fix a small loop of brass wire. This stops the loop on the stock going where it's not wanted and causing problems. The final result is shown below:
Success! All now works well and 'Sir Tom' is proving to be a 'really useful engine'. Here he is named and blinged with trimline.