Story: Links and Pins Still With Us (1900)
Although the Master Car Builders' convention so far has been notably peaceful, not to say tame, some disputed points, and other points of importance that perhaps are not disputer, have been touched upon. The proceedings have furnished food for thought that perhaps will be found of significance much beyond three immediate action of the association.
Take, for example, the question of the continued use in certain circumstances of link and pin couplers. The root of the matter was reached by half a dozen speakers at Monday's session, but most of them took hold of it very gingerly.
No links and pins can be used lawfully in interstate commerce after August 1, and interstate commerce begins when merchandise starts on a journey from one state to another. The question then comes up naturally whether the link slot in M.C.B. knuckles shall be closed. Why not, if the law is to be compiled with perfectly? Of what use is the slot, or rather, is not the slot positively objectionable if links are not to be used? And if the law is to be obeyed literally up to the handle after another six weeks, how can links be used? Clearly one of the members of the Executive Committee brought up a live question.
Instantly, however, marked hostility to the proposal to close the slots developed. Two or three members argues that the links or bars must be used for handling cars around sharp curves; three others held that links must continue to be employed in getting cars upon and off floats; a fourth wished provision made for coupling standard gauge and narrow gauge cars in some way except automatically, and still another gauge and narrow gauge cars in some way except automatically, and still another would preserve the possibilities of links and pins, but would reduce mechanical objectives by making the link slots as small as possible.
All of this signifies that some of the leading companies expect to find themselves compelled to use link and pin couplings in certain circumstances after August 1, just the same as now.;
That this is a serious problem to face, and a problem that must be faced, too, was brought out most distinctly by Mr. Hayward. Others apparently saw the point, but he alone put it into works. "I think," he said, "if the Interstate Commerce Commission becomes aware of the fact that we use the link and pin in our yards, and in pushing our cars on floats, they will ask us to devise some way to do away with the link coupler."
This certainly is a rational conclusion; and the fact that such a conclusion is necessary at this time is quite enough to suggest that the Master Car Builders' Association still has a mission in regard to this very familiar and ancient subject of automatic couplers.
Source: The Daily Railway Age.