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Camlock inter-car railway couplers

Supplier: New Macey

A key example of our innovation is the Camlock range of inter-car railway couplers.

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The company originally served the underground mining industry. However, this product resulted from a request from the Newcastle branch of NSW RailCorp to help them improve the electrical connectors between carriages on the Xplorer and Endeavour trains. The existing French designed connectors were too fragile, resulting in train failures as electrical connections prematurely separated. RailCorp also wanted to combine different circuits in the one connector, requiring alternating current, direct current and communications in the one connector.

The company considered the problem and designed a coupler based on Camlock connectors. These are well established in hydraulics pipelines, but had never been used before in electrical connectors. They combined a three phase AC supply, two DC circuits for battery re-chargers, an earth and a low voltage twin trip wire safety circuit into the same plug and receptacle.

Receptacles are fitted to the ends of each carriage, while plugs were placed on the ends of interconnecting jumper cables. The plug and receptacle are pushed together and secured with twin handles. These lock the two components together, securing against water penetration.  This also means that the connections cannot vibrate loose, so the connection is safe against falling open as trains operate.

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