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A handy N scale uncoupler — good for olives, too

Read this N scale column from the January 2015 Model Railroader

This red plastic sword is just right for uncoupling N scale cars.
Steven Otte photo

If you’re a model railroader, everywhere you go your antennae are out, scanning your environs for anything that might be useful to build with. And that leads me to swizzle sticks.

I was having lunch with a tableful of in-laws at Maggiano’s Little Italy, a popular chain with a restaurant near my home, when my eyes were drawn to the little red stir stick in my beverage. It was 51⁄2" long, shaped like a sword, and had a tip that looked as if it would work well for ­uncoupling N scale freight cars.

I took it home, tried it out, and found it worked even better than I thought it might. Evidently, the design requirements for spearing olives or lemon wedges and opening N scale coupler knuckles are very similar. And the even better news was that I had scored a half-dozen more stirrers from relatives, making it a highly successful evening.

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