Coupling (railway) by country

Coupling (railway) by country

Coupling (railway) by country generally list the main national system and exclude minor narrow gauge or industrial lines of short length. Modern EMU or DMU passenger vehicles are also excluded. Current couplings are not necessarily the same as historic couplings.


Algeria Algeria

  • standard gauge
    • Buffers and screw and SA3 [1]
  • narrow gauge
    • Buffers and screw

Angola Angola


  • Unknown


Australia Australia




  • All converted to AAR, except heritage vehicles.


  • AAR for locomotive hauled carriages, except some heritage vehicles, and some multiple units
  • Scharfenberg for most multiple units

Bangladesh Bangladesh

  • CBC Alliance type 2 [3]

Benin Benin

  • Centre buffer and side chains - [4]

Brazil Brazil

Burkina Faso Burkina Faso

(junctions with Côte d'Ivoire)

  • Buffers and screw [7]

Cameroon Cameroon

Chile Chile

  • Current freight and passenger - AAR
  • New passenger service to Temuco (currently suspended - 2008) uses buffers and chain (ex Spanish railways stock, including locomotives)

Republic of the Congo Congo-Brazzaville

Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire

( junctions with Burkina Faso )

  • Buffers and screw chain [7]

Egypt Egypt


  • Buffers and screw [9]


Gabon Gabon

  • SA3 (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in))

Ghana Ghana

India India

Indonesia Indonesia

  • AAR

Iran Iran


for passenger cars: buffers and chain


for locomotives: - willison type from LAF and side buffers for backwards compatibility.[15]

for multiple units:Scharfenberg

Iraq Iraq



Japan Japan


  • English


Liberia (Bong)

  • Odd "trumpet" style coupler.

Libya Libya

  • To be determined.

Malawi Malawi

Morocco Morocco

  • Standard gauge
    • Buffers and screw [19]

Netherlands Netherlands



  • All Multiple Units use the Scharfenberg coupler. Mechanically, these are all compatible (except on museum models), but electrical connections vary between train types.
  • Passenger trains drawn by a locomotive use buffers and chain couplers. The exception to this are the double-decker DDM and DD-AR trains. The connection between the carriages and between them and the locomotive (either class 1700 or mDDM) are buffers and chain, but between the trains are BSI automatic couplers. 1700 and mDDM locomotives therefore have a buffers and chain coupler on one end, and on the other end a BSI coupler, with above it, only the hook of a buffers and chain coupler.
  • Almost all freight stock is buffers and chain, with the exception to some heavy DB owned ore trains, which are permanent combinations using a AK69e Unicoupler Willison-style coupler. During 2010, new multisystem locomotives will be uesd for this ore trains, which are equipped with compatible C-AKv couplers.
  • All subway and light rail trains use Scharfenberg couplers, with the exception of the Sneltram Utrecht, which appears to use BSI-type couplers.
  • All tram systems (except museum trams) do not have couplers which are designed for normal use.

Nigeria Nigeria

Cape gauge

  • Automatic Buffer Couplers (ABC)

Narrow gauge

Norway Norway

Standard gauge

  • European/English Buffers and screw. AAR in some heavy-haul applications.

Narrow gauge

Senegal Senegal



  • Chopper for Stock from India with transition wagon

South Africa South Africa

  • AAR (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in))

South Korea South Korea

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka

Sudan Sudan

Tanzania Tanzania

Togo Togo

  • Centre buffer and side chains. Some Norwegian couplers on cars imported from India.

Tunisia Tunisia

  • Standard gauge
    • Buffers and screw
  • Metre gauge
    • Buffers and screw - closer together [23]

United Kingdom United Kingdom

  • Buffers and screw

Distance between buffers

Distance between buffers and height of buffers above rail tend to vary between systems.

  • 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (Standard gauge) - Great Britain, etc.
    • Height: 3 ft 5.5 in (1,054 mm)
    • Separation: 6 ft (1,829 mm) in Great Britain [24], 1,750 mm (5 ft 8.9 in) elsewhere [25].
  • 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) India/Parkistan/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Victoria/Brazil/Ireland:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) Russia; Central Asia (before SA3):
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 23 in) Spain/Portugal:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Queensland:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Tasmania:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) Senegal/Mail:
    • Height:
    • Separation:
  • 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) Ivory Coast/Burkina Faso:
    • Height:
    • Separation:


Confusingly, couplers are often known by more than one name.

See also


External links

  • For a partial list of what railway uses which coupler see Jane's World Railways (subscription required)

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