Many moons ago former Carlisle steam engine driver Ian Graham presented us with a shunting pole which now has pride of place in our entrance hall, along with an increasing collection of railwayana.
Ever since I have wondered how it was used to link the very heavy chain links between the draw hooks on the wagons. Today presented an opportunity to find out in the form of ex railway track engineer Dave Winstanley from Liverpool:
As it happened, friend and local character Steve (Scouse) Roberts was here and he and Dave Winstanley spent a long time telling the tale about Liverpool. Inevitably, Steve had to have a go:
The trick is to get a swing going on the three links and let their momentum do the work, with guidance rather than lift from the shunting hook. Experienced shunters could do the job with the merest flick.
The design of the shunting hook dates from the very earliest days of railways and did not change.