Fairfax Station Railroad Museum is in the process of acquiring, and setting up on exhibit, a railroading artifact from 19th Century US railroading! From the earliest days of railroading in the United States, freight cars were held together by a “link and pin” coupler. While inexpensive, these couplers were dangerous to workers who had to connect the cars manually and was a common cause of derailments for freight trains. All the trains that passed by Fairfax Station used this type of coupler until the late 1890s/early 1900s when Southern Railway began converting their rolling stock to the new “knuckle” couplers mandated by Congress in its 1893 legislation. Another local tie in this transition was the man given credit for inventing the knuckle coupler – Eli H. Janney. Janney was an Alexandria resident who never worked on a railroad — he was a store clerk — but his patent changed the North American railroad industry; see our YouTube video for more information. We have started a GoFundMe drive intended to cover costs for the acquisition, transportation and installation of this genuine link and pin coupler for permanent display. This piece of history will help teach visitors what life was like on the railroad in general and at Fairfax Station in particular.
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