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Locomotive Coupling Operation at Kajaani
September 1, 2010
At Kajaani, the express train from Oulu meets the Intercity train from Helsinki via Kouvola, and both trains then reverse direction. Rather than run both Sr1 locomotives around their trains, each stays at one end of the station and transfers onto the other train.
We see the northbound locomotive coupling onto the express train, with assistance from the shunter in the foreground. He counts down the distance and gives other instructions by radio, so that the coupling impact is as gentle as possible. Then he connects two electric cables and two brake pipes to complete the operation.
Notice that the carriages move slightly some time after the brake pipes are connected - about when the shunter is connecting the nearside electric cable. This is because the train brakes are released, and the train is being held only by the locomotive brake, so the carriage moves to relieve the buffer compression.. It takes some time to charge the brake pipe, and this saves doing so when about to move off.
If the coupling wasn't made properly, the carriage could keep moving away, but then the brake pipes would disconnect, and the brakes would automatically reapply. This has been known to happen when the coupling is full of snow and ice - not a problem on this hot summer day.
The train's conductor then noticed that the shunter dropped his keys...