Model Train Format Wars? Kadee Coupler Upgrades FTW!


Did you know model trains could have different couplers? (The thing that allows the cars to lock on to one another). There are I’m sure many types but the primary two you’ll find are Horn-hook and Kadee (or Kadee style) couplers. I wont get into the nitty gritty but most older and cheaper HO Model trains are likely to have the horn hook. The Kadee style couplers offer many advantages as well as looking more proto-realistic (What you might find on a real train).

I’ve decided for my projects I prefer the Kadee style couplers so I’m going through the process of updating some of the cheap train cars I’ve gotten from various craigslist sales to the more robust Kadee coupler. Each upgrade can be a little different but here’s the steps I took on this one coal car.

As you can see Horn-hooks and Kadee Couplers do not get along

First step was to remove the wheel assembly (The Truck). I had to actually cut the old truck-mounted coupler off since it wasn’t possible to slot the Kadee coupler right in

Then I had to drill a hole into the frame and use a tool for adding threads

Using a tool to create the threads in a model train

Once the hole was prepared I could assemble the new gear box and coupler.

Then it is simply a matter of screwing the assembly into the hole I made!

Now that looks a lot better!

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