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Hi everyone, recently got into O-gauge trains, with my daughters, and one of them said "we should get some passenger cars!" since she loves purple, I looked around and found some beautiful Atlantic Coast Line cars in a set of 4 - with magnetic couplers.

After doing some searching, I've found some things called "coil couplers" but can't tell if that's the same thing or not. I'm hesitant to pick a set of cars (though they are pretty!) if the magnetic couplers are a) more trouble than they're worth (saw that in a few places) or b) require a controller/computer/switch thingy we don't have to make them work.

The kids are 10, and I'm a bit of a simpleton when it comes to our collective train hobby - I want to put trains on the track, push a lever/button or pull something to make it open the knuckle, and then *click* it stays that way so we can go WHOO WHOO around the track for a few hours. all of our rolling stock is MPC-era or later stuff, though I've been having fun upgrading dirt-cheap or free.99 cars with $20 couplers I found also cheap, and now they ride great. We have some Weaver stuff with MTC trucks, and we have one Menards Lifesaver Tank car my other daughter thought was "the coolest thing ever".

I tell you all this seemingly useless info because we're not looking (at this point) to create an elaborate setup with switches and bus bars and a flux capacitor. So if the lionel 6-39169 Aluminum cars with mag couplers are not a good fit for us, please tell me. I just don't have any way to try them out and mess with them before I buy them, which means I'll likely err on the side of not buying them.

Can you help me out, folks? Also, thanks!

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Pretty much every 3 rail rail car has couplers that will open with a magnet. The magnet is in the track and is operated with voltage from a push button. These couplers are usually referred to as thumbtack couplers. The magnet pulls down what looks like a thumbtack and the coupler opens.

The only concern with your passenger cars. Is probably the length of the cars and the radius of your curves. Make sure they will navigate your layout.

Fair questions.

We have FasTrack and regular O-gauge - the stuff that FasTrack can be easily adapted to. I sold off the Marx track and O27 stuff this week, actually. Trying to stay (for now) with the FasTrack and O-gauge.

We have a piece of the 5-rail activator track, though I have not tested it to see if it actually works. we don't have any switches or uncoupler sections yet. This is why I want to make sure it has some way for a 10-yr-old to manually, in a tactile fashion, open the knuckle. Aluminum Purple cars are useless if she can't get their knuckles open without an electrical device. That "thumbtack" bit on the bottom or "flap" would check that box if it's there.

@Dave_C posted:

Pretty much every 3 rail rail car has couplers that will open with a magnet. The magnet is in the track and is operated with voltage from a push button. These couplers are usually referred to as thumbtack couplers. The magnet pulls down what looks like a thumbtack and the coupler opens.

yes, but then why does the box say specifically "Magnetic couplers"? every car we own has the flap or the thumbtack, and none of their boxes say "magnetic couplers". If these aluminum cars require a specific button or piece of track to operate, they're probably best left until we buy a house and eventually build a more permanent layout. Right now, we're annoying the wife and running trains through the kitchen and around the inside wall of the house under furniture. (She tolerates it because the kids love it and they're quiet except for giggles when the trains run)

@Helomedic posted:

Right now, we're annoying the wife and running trains through the kitchen and around the inside wall of the house under furniture. (She tolerates it because the kids love it and they're quiet except for giggles when the trains run)

Annoyed wife, happy life haha

I'm not sure why they would call it out. My assumption is just for marketing purposes.

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