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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:48 am 
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In doing a bit of research I have come across the terms "Coupling Stick" and "Break Stick"

A coupling stick presumably is what it says on the tin, for use in coupling up of locos etc

So my question is, what was a "Break Stick" and what was it used for?

Cheers

David


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:26 am 
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A break (sic) stick was a length of wood which was inserted between the spokes of a wagon wheel to prevent it from rotating.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:56 am 
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David.

I draw your attention to this LMS publicity film which shows the design and use of both 'sticks'. I suspect the film, let alone the working practices' is now in the H&S inspectorates bailiwick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHDd4t_wKpU

From memory the clip comes from the BTF film: LMS Freight 1935.

Gary.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:04 am 
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David
On most railways it was used as a lever to pin down brakes on loose coupled wagons.
Quentin


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:31 am 
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Gents,

Thankyou for the prompt responses.

To put it in context then, there was 2 of these kept at Bangor Station in the station buildings rather than the goods yard, so would they have been used to pin the brakes on carriage and horse boxes being placed into the unloading bays, and possibly used to pin the brakes on the wagons in the sidings between the platform and engine shed?

Cheers

David


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:46 am 
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Passenger rolling stock and horseboxes had Mansell disk wheels, so brake sticks could not be used with them. In any case, passenger stock was fitted with vacuum brakes, and NPCS had hand brakes as well from 1907.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:34 am 
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Just to add a little more to the discussion - the later terms of 'shunting pole' and 'brake stick' are now more commonly used. The pole was used to couple and uncouple link couplings and negate a shunter 'going between' (the cause of many fatalities and injuries). The brake stick, as mentioned, used to provide additional leverage when pinning down brakes on wagons. The practice is still common on heritage railways although I doubt there are now many people skilled in using a pole to couple wagons.
The use of the spelling 'break' for brake was usual up until the latter part of the 19th century.
A brake stick could, as mentioned by Philip, be used as a 'sprag' and put between spokes to prevent rotation of wheels. You may find reference to such rudimentary practice in early accident reports - when they failed!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:27 pm 
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Another use of brake sticks was in hump marshalling yards where 'wagon catchers' were employed to slow the wagons coming off the hump, after the had gone gone through the retarders, as the final means of preventing the loose running wagons impacting too strongly with the wagons already in the road, Brake sticks were used to add pressure to the brake lever lever in applying the hand brake. One of the most dangerous jobs on the railway.

Peter Spedding


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:11 am 
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I agree with all the above!


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