My Dapol 28XX 2-4-0 engine came factory-equipped with NEM magnetic knuckle couplers, but my trusty old Graham Farish 0-6-0 was unfortunately only equipped with bulky and unsightly Rapido couplers, as were my Dapol Collett coaches. Rapido couplers are not compatible with NEM couplers, and they don’t have a metal flange so aren’t triggered by the magnets on my layout.
I finally decided to change that. I have been holding onto a Dapol NEM conversion kit for many months. I’ve been a bit intimidated, to be honest, having read the instructions about a dozen times. But tonight I resolved to equip my Collett coaches with NEM couplers (I will wait to convert the 0-6-0 until I am a bit more experienced).
It really wasn’t all that bad. I removed the trucks from the coaches to make it easier. Then I used some clippers to remove the Rapido coupler box (well, most of it; it is molded into the trucks so a bit of the Rapido pocket remains). I filed the cut ends flush with a jeweler’s file, then super-glued the NEM box in place. I added the “inner pocket” (which enables some lateral movement) and then snapped in a NEM short-shank coupler.
I wanted to take some photos of the process, but it was almost impossible due to the small size of the pieces and poor lighting. I took a few “after” photos using my flash, which was the best I can do. In the first photo, you can see the jig on the rails which helps gauge the height of the couplers and also holds them in place while they are being glued to the trucks: