Deutsche Bahn

Configuration and Design of a coupling adapter

Technical review & feasibility, translator coupler & mechanical adapter


DB Cargo required an investigation into the methods of hauling a multiple unit passenger train, using a mechanical adapter and brake control module. The adapter needed to be completely supported by the locomotive and unit to be hauled, therefore removing the need for a match wagon. Not using a match wagon allows the formation to run at speed on the rail network.
DB ESG was contracted to determine the configuration and design of a mechanical coupling adapter, that was able to haul a defined range of vehicles, using a defined range of locomotives.

DB ESG also undertook a feasibility study into the use of a brake pipe translator module, that could interface with the pnematic brake pipe of the locomotive and the electric brake of the hauled vehicle, at the automatic coupler on the vehicle front.

Work Undertaken

Feasibility study to determine the number of mechanical interfaces that needed to be accomodated by the mechanical coupling adapter. Report also determined the forces and rating expected. Report considered the:

Range and number of vehicles to be hauled by locomotive

  • Locomotive range
  • Expected track geometry
  • Manual handling aids and contraints to be applied
  • Operational speed of the adapter
  • Inspection and maintenance requirements

Report also considered the following aspects of the adapter design:

  • Likely movement of the couplers either side of the adapter
  • Optimum length of the adapter based on the defined track geometry
  • Expected dynamic braking and running forces
  • The optimum working strength of the adapter
  • Form and number of adapter components
  • Tooling required to manually handle the adapter and install it onto the vehicle

Report also investigated:

  • Air cleanliness standard and any equipment required to meet this standard
  • Whether an electrical coupling head adapter can be used to feed electrical signals
  • Methods of supporting the brake interface module, air cleaning equipment and air supply hose
  • The impace of different braking ratios