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Drum Driver
This has probably already been covered but, What are you guys using to uncouple KaDees? Do you use in roadbed magnets or do any use the handheld in-between uncoupler? I know the magnet is best for hard to reach areas and is more proto, and handhelds work well in areas you never expected to have to uncouple...Just lookin for some pros and cons. Thanks!


Master Mechanic
The best uncoupler for KD's is the one(s) that work best in the situation. Magnets, both undertrack and between rails, work when/where you need handsoff uncoupling, providing that the hoses are positioned correctly. Using a bamboo skewer, screwdriver, uncoupling tool works well in other situations. Using both methods has provided a great measure of reliablity that I've always looked for.

I never did like the magnets like the Rix Uncoupling Tool cause I always seemed to get a car with others so close together, I knocked them off the track.


Avid People Watcher
I agree with Carey. People who haven't, suffer severe consequences:D . I use the screwdriver, bamboo, type thingys. And have suffered enumerous derailed cars with the Rix tool. Although, at times, it did do well.



Drum Driver
Thanks guys on the heads up on the Rix tool..I was searching for one of those at the last train meet but everyone was out of them(so I guessed I saved some money!)...I bought one years ago that must have been similar to the bamboo one you spoke of..I bought it at a shop and when I opened it, all it was, was a coffee stirrer like straw with a tear drop shaped piece of plastic in a split end of the straw?? worked ok but I was thinking "I could have made this!" I lost it somewhere and I began using a micro screwdriver. we have several magnets but not placed yet. I can figure out where they go on a simple siding or a run-around track...Just haven't added them to our yard till we experiment where they will work best. Thanks again


For uncoupling cars in hard to replaces I use the KD between the rail magnet..For easy to reach areas I use a small flat tip screw driver.I am yet to derail a car..CARE must be taken while manually uncoupling cars.
The biggest drawback to magnets is they look awaful here there and yon and under the table magnets calls for a locator which IMHO is unrealistic.
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Coal Shoveler
I use bamboo skewers. I do have one of the Rix tools, but it's since been replaced; I didn't much like it when I did use it.

Skewers are cheap, and I probably have a dozen scattered around the layout so there's always one handy. All I have to do is pick one up, uncouple, and drop it when I'm done. When I move to another part of the layout, there's a skewer there waiting.....




Grandson of ALCO Bldr
Well here is my setup...

I use the "magnet in between the rails on the rail ties" in my switch yards and bigger sidings that have multiple switches. Each are placed either after entering the switch or very rarely before. There are 2 kinds of these magnets the Delayed Kadee #321 and Kadee #312 Non-Delayed system. I use both for different situations. In my new design there will be none of these before the switch. I have disguised some of these and placed them with scale boards like crossing areas and even painted some of them but with heavily diluted paint. The paint is diluted heavily to not reduce magnetism per se.

For my mainline sidings... I use the "electro magnet" (Kadee mage-electric uncoupler No. 307) that operates with a push button (of your choice of course purchased seperately) on the mainline in strategic places. I sometimes use this in the sidings as well or sometimes will use the "magnet in between the rails on the rail ties". Note will note and do not use any of the regular magnets on the mainline! Only the eletric kind #307. I do not like surprised un-couplings when on the mainline.

And finally I use the last style of the "magnet under the roadbed/ballast/or under the rail ties" (Kadee Under-the-ties Uncoupler No. 308) . I have a couple of these where I do not want to create the look of a crossing etc.

I try my very darnedest not to use any "tools". I like to be as hands free as possible. I rather keep my hand on the throttle or pushing buttons for switches then frustrating myself with de-rails etc. I work very hard at making all my rolling stock up and above NMRA standards before they leave the shop for revenue service. This goes the same for my locos they are setup and checked and re-checked before they go into service. Granted I have brought a lot back in to the shop for maintenance etc to get it right and have a smooth operations.

I think it is all part of MRR and getting that type of practice and servicing on your equipment and tracks too.

Well that is my take hope this helps?


I started out using the Kadee under-the-track magnets and they worked very well and can be easily hidden with track ballast. The downside with them is they are a little too thick to match the WS roadbed. I had to chisel out about 1/8" of sub roadbed to get a good fit. Between the rail Kadee magnets are designed for code100 and will not sit down far enough for code 83 (as per Kadee). I had to cut rails and float the magnets in the glue using a jig...which really sucked when you consider the drying time of the glue. For magnets, the under-the-track type are the best...definitely the strongest.

The magnets are great for hard to reach places, but can be a pain when doing switching operations in a yard by causing uncoupling of cars anytime you slow/stop over them. I know...that's the way they are suppose to work, but in yard operations, you are constantly backing up, stopping, changing direction without the need to uncouple.

Although still installed, I only use those magnets in hard to reach areas and prefer bamboo skewers in all other places. I like to take a sharp knife and put sides on the skewer tip if needed. This gives it an edge to help open the couplers.
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Drum Driver
Good report Alcomotive & others!!!. I saw in an older magazine once where a guy made his own manual type "electro" (not really) uncoupler on the main lines...He cut a door like flap under the track/layout and had the magnet mounted on the hinge...then a pull line to the flap and when he'd pull it, it would close bringing the magnet up under the track...a thin plastic layer still allowed him to add gravel so it was invisible..worked well on main lines to prevent unwanted uncoupling. I guess that was an "old school" way of a modern invention that was too expensive back then.


Active Member
I used bamboo skewers too, but I also use "under the roadbed" magnets. They are very powerfull and waaay easier then the normal "on the ties" magnets.

I use KD's #5 on Loco and rolling stocks.

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