"Poleys" up Hooks
  NSWGR Vehicle Drawgear: 1963

Those of you who know me would be aware that one of my hobbyhorses is the correct marshalling of trains, particularly the correct juxapositioning of vehicles according to the drawgear with which the full size prototype was fitted.  The inability of certain classes of vehicle to be coupled to members of certain other classes of vehicle due to the incompatibility of the drawgear was a distinctive feature of NSWGR practice, particularly from the war years to the late 70s.  This was due to the peculiar mix of vehicles with hooks and buffers, auto couplers and buffers and auto couplers and no buffers that occurred during this period of transition from the original English style of drawgear (hooks and buffers) and the American influenced modern preference for automatic "knuckle" couplers.
A very interesting article on the development of the Automatic coupler in NSW can be found in the April 1998 
Australian Model Railway Magazine  ("NSWGR Automatic Couplers" by Alan Templeman)
The main problem was that vehicles with auto couplers and no buffers, (known in Railway parlance as "poleys", a reference to "poled" cattle, i.e. beasts that have had their horns removed) could not be coupled directly to vehicles with hooks and buffers.  Because of this problem the NSWGR developed the "transition" link (which is more fully described in Alan Templeman' article in the April 1988 AMRM) which enabled hook and buffer and auto coupled vehicles to be conveyed in the same train, but only if the auto coupled vehicle also had buffers.  This meant that a train which included hook and buffer drawgeared wagons and bufferless auto coupled vehicles also had to include a buffer equipped auto coupled vehicle to separate the incompatible drawgear.  This can be seen in the many photos published of trains of RUs, BWHs and other wheat wagons that also include an S truck or some other buffer equipped auto coupled vehicle between the wheat wagons and the steam loco.  This was, of course, to enable the non buffer equipped auto coupled wheat wagons to be coupled to the hook and buffered steam locomotive tender.  It causes steam to rise under my collar  to see model RUs directly coupled to steam locos that in real life were equipped only with hooks and buffers!  This is, of course, the classic "poley up a hook" that was forbidden in real life.  (It did happen occasionally, due to mistakes or inexperience on the part of the shunting staff, and usually resulted in, at best, damage to the rolling stock, and at worse, a major derailment.)
Here is a list of wagon types that were in service on the NSW system in March 1963, from the "Carrying Capacity of Goods Wagons" of that date, with the type of drawgear employed.  Only NSW wagons are mentioned as all interstate vehicles on the system had autos only.


Automatic Coupler
Hook Drawgear
Turton Buffers
Modern Freight Buffers
No Buffers 
Wagon Type/No in service Buffers Drawgear Comments 
OPEN WAGONS
BD               102
G                  404
GC                 80
GM                  5
K                2508 buffers removed by 1945
KC               133 buffers removed by 1945
S          8916 buffers gradually removed by mid 70s, last batch may have been delivered without buffers
U                 313 buffers removed by 1945
UT                   ? buffers removed by 1945
HOPPER WAGONS
BCH            880
BLH              65
BRH            182
BWH           390
CH                29 original pre-war 4 wheeler, not later aluminium bogie hopper
CCH           894
CU                60 buffers removed by 1945
FCH               7 original pre-war 4 wheeler, not recoded BCH
HCH           150
HRH             33
LCH       (both types) post-war built versions
LCH             868 pre-war built versions
MH                23
RH                 77
RU               625
COVERED VANS
PV                  58
BPV               23
CV                 96 12 ton capacity, std 10ft steel underframe
CV                   9 10 ton capacity, timber underframe (converted MVs)
HLV              75
LV         (both types) 10ft wb std u/f, 18ft body
LV                356 11ft 6ins wb, 20ft body, some still fitted with 
LLV              378
MBC            192
MLV            406 converted from , post war, includes (MLK)
MLV            114 36ft fishbelly u/f
MLV              25 Aluminium body, converted from , early fifties
MRC             55 converted from , post war
SRC               23 some may have been 
TLV               45
TRC             259
FLAT WAGONS
BE                  32 buffers progressively removed
CT                  22 4 wheel sugar cane truck
BCT               11 bogie sugar cane truck
BET                 1
BKC              15
BKE                8
BKF               15
BKR              20
BME             50
BMF               1
E                    46 buffers progressively removed
FME              20
HME             50 buffers progressively removed
KF               132 buffers removed from most post-war
LE                 25 buffers progressively removed
LFW               4
LLW               3
MF                 9    ?    ? Milk tank wagons, probably 
MLE           209 buffers progressively removed
MX                 6    ?    ? probably 
SE                   3
SL                   2
TE                   6
TW                  3
UME           181 buffers progressively removed
WW                3
STOCK WAGONS
CW (1921)    713 Diagonal framing, wooden underframe
CW (1948)    243 Vertical framing, standard post war steel underframe
BCW (1927)   27
BCW (1959) 100
BSV (1959)   269
GSV (1929)   492 Wooden underframe
GSV (1948)   216 Standard post war steel underframe
GOODS BRAKEVANS
CHG                90
LHG              140
MHG            199
OHG                 6 LHG vans still fitted with hooks and buffers, ostensibly for stock train working
PHG              235
SHG                73

PASSENGER CARS
Most passenger cars, except for the N cars and the A/C cars were still fitted with hooks and buffers till the 60s, and even the Ns and A/C cars were fitted with hooks and buffers on the outer end of the sets.  Some EHOs and MHOs were fitted with autos in the fifties.

STEAM LOCOS
As a general rule all steam locos were fitted with hooks and buffers on the front buffer beam, late in the steam era some standard goods had autos fitted to the front buffer beam.

59 and 60 class locos were delivered with "unit" drawgear at both ends.

STEAM LOCO TENDERS
All steam loco tenders were fitted with hooks and buffers with the following exceptions;
At least one 3650 gal standard tender was fitted with an automatic coupler.
Likewise at least one 32 class tender was also fitted with an auto coupler.
"Turret" tenders- delivered with "unit" drawgear.
"Wampu" tenders- Most, if not all, converted to "unit" drawgear, post-war.
Some 36 and 38 class tenders had automatic couplers fitted during the sixties.

Any blanks are because I don't know, any further information greatly appreciated to make this list as complete as possible.
 
 

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