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I recently got a used 1990’s era Lionel New York Central Whistle tender. The whistle works great but unfortunately the operating coupler is broken. (See photos)

Basically the piece that an incoming coupler hits to close the coupler is broken. So the coupler never latches closed. I want to fix it but it looks like the entire wheel assembly (including the coupler) is attached permanently.

Can this be fixed? If so, does anyone have instructions or a video? And do I need to order a part? I have another non-whistle tender from the same era but it obviously doesn’t have the wiring etc needed to make the whistle work. The coupler looks the same is there a way to pillage that one to fix the broken one?

I’m very new to the hobby so any advice/help would be much appreciated.


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The knuckle, rivet and spring just need to be replaced.

Cut off the head of the old rivet with a pair of diagonal pliers and pull the shank out with a needle nose pliers. Discard the old parts.

You need a 480-8 knuckle, TC-23 knuckle pin (rivet), and 480-16 knuckle spring available from The Train Tender.

Getting the spring in place properly will be a challenge, but once all parts are in place, a light squeeze at the very bottom of the rivet with a pliers will keep all in place. Do not squeeze too hard, or the knuckle will not pivot on the rivet and you will need to install another rivet.


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