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The ERTL New Couplings: 2003-2004
#1
Question 
Hey everyone, I wanted to ask everyone a question. I noticed that some of the ERTLs I own have these stronger rod couplings at the back of them instead of hooks, as I'm aware this was only done to (all or some?) trains in the range. Does anyone know all the trains that received this upgrade that was only available in the UK?

And I should add why are the last versions of the ERTLs much much harder to find than the earlier characters?

Thanks for reading, share your thoughts below! :)
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#2
I own a ERTL Salty who was released in 2003 I believe.
2003+ Releases all had a coupling called "U Hooks"
[Image: IMG-20180126-232218494.jpg]
Rest In Piece Friend
Thomas A. Wilson 2008 - 2018
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#3
Later ertls were made in much smaller numbers as demand died down, some were stopped mid production run.
[-] The following 2 users Like Ucwepn's post:
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#4
(02-20-2017, 07:06 AM)Ucwepn Wrote: Later ertls were made in much smaller numbers as demand died down, some were stopped mid production run.

Thank you, both, for the information.

I have NEVER seen any images or listing for a long time now of Peter Sam, Rusty, Rheneas, Duncan, Smudger, Stepney, list goes on new in box (2003 / 2004 style box) with the U-hooks! I'd say any engine with a U-hook is the rarest of its type.

Does anyone have any images of the engines I mentioned?

Also not every engine had a U-hook from 2003, I remember when I got my ERTL 2003 Duck it came with two hooks NO u-hook. Maybe it was an old model in a new packaging by mistake?
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#5
I have a U Hook emily too.
[Image: IMG-20180126-232218494.jpg]
Rest In Piece Friend
Thomas A. Wilson 2008 - 2018
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#6
(02-20-2017, 08:37 AM)BStation Official Wrote: Thank you, both, for the information.

I have NEVER seen any images or listing for a long time now of Peter Sam, Rusty, Rheneas, Duncan, Smudger, Stepney, list goes on new in box (2003 / 2004 style box) with the U-hooks! I'd say any engine with a U-hook is the rarest of its type.

Does anyone have any images of the engines I mentioned?

Also not every engine had a U-hook from 2003, I remember when I got my ERTL 2003 Duck it came with two hooks NO u-hook. Maybe it was an old model in a new packaging by mistake?
Probably.
[Image: IMG-20180126-232218494.jpg]
Rest In Piece Friend
Thomas A. Wilson 2008 - 2018
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#7
I have an ERTL Toby with these couplings. Good to know he isn't that common!
Collecting without a clue since 2010
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#8
(02-20-2017, 08:37 AM)BStation Official Wrote: Also not every engine had a U-hook from 2003, I remember when I got my ERTL 2003 Duck it came with two hooks NO u-hook. Maybe it was an old model in a new packaging by mistake?

The new style packaging came out in 2002, engines would still have the older style couplings. In 2003, the coupling system changed. Hope this helps.
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#9
Hi everyone. I have been on a hiatus from Thomas for about 6 months, but its over now.

And I do know the about the packaging. The 2002 packaging had the new style card. The 2003/2004 packaging is the same as the 2002 style, except the age limitation of 2 and 1/2 years has been printed on top of the box's card. Only the engines from 2003-2004 had the U hook couplings. As far as I am aware, only these models had the U hooks:

- Thomas
- Edward
- Henry
- Gordon
- James
- Percy
- Toby
- Diesel
- Daisy
- Bill
- Ben
- BoCo
- City of Truro
- Mavis
- Class 40
- Skarloey
- Falcon
- Sir Handel
- Derek
- 'Arry
- Bert
- Salty
- Harvey
- Emily
- Fergus
- Arthur
- Murdoch
- Spencer
- Sixteen
- Flying Scotsman
- Lord Harry
- Troublesome Trucks
- Silly Trucks
- Frank
- Jock
- Sodor Mail Vans
- Express Coaches
- Annie & Clarabel
- Catherine
- Isabel
- D7101 aka BR Bear

Also these following models were retired in before 2004:

2000:

Canal Boat
Terence
Diesel D199
Crane

2002:

Sodor Taxi
Slate Trucks
Sir Topham & Lady Hatt
Pump Truck
Lorry 1
Smudger
Gordon's Special Coaches
Old Slow Coach
Bertram
Butch (Sodor Recovery Unit)
Splatter
Dodge
Old Coaches
Rheneas
Peter Sam
Rusty
Duncan
D Fusit
Trevor
Bluebell
Lorry 2
Lorry 3
Chinese Dragon
Henrietta
Wilbert

2003:

Duck
Donald
Douglas
Oliver
Duke
Tar & Milk Tankers
Sodor Oil Trucks
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#10
(02-20-2017, 06:33 AM)B\Station Official Wrote: Hey everyone, I wanted to ask everyone a question. I noticed that some of the ERTLs I own have these stronger rod couplings at the back of them instead of hooks, as I'm aware this was only done to (all or some?) trains in the range. Does anyone know all the trains that received this upgrade that was only available in the UK?

And I should add why are the last versions of the ERTLs much much harder to find than the earlier characters?

Thanks for reading, share your thoughts below! :)
Because you said that the last versions are rarer, I assume you live in the USA or other area. The reason why is because ERTL was discontinued in the USA in 2001. The final "wave" (which, IIRC, consisted of Scotsman, Bertram, Old Bailey + Handcar, Gordon's Special Coaches, Arry, Bert and Old Slow Coach, among other various Season 5 releases) released and was slowly phased out for Take Along. I believe there are rumors of the Spiteful Brakevan and Silly Trucks showing up in the USA, since those two were released with the old couplings before the switch. The new couplings were introduced in 2002, seemingly to "compete" with Take Along's better system. This didn't save them though, and ERTL was discontinued outright in 2004, leaving a lot of the range on the cutting room floor. Shame really. Would have loved to see ERTL Neville or Molly.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Mint Jubilee's post:
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#11
Hello Mint Jubilee, Welcome aboard! 😃
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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