A barrier vehicle connects train cars with different couplings and systems, allowing them to function properly together. It can be recognized by its lack of windows and is also known as a translator vehicle or match truck.
A barrier vehicle is a type of train car used to connect two other cars that do not have couplings and other systems that would normally be compatible. There are several different types of barrier vehicles that can be used, some only intended to connect cars with different types of couplings, and others that connect cars that also have different braking systems and serve to ensure that the systems work together properly. A barrier vehicle can often be seen on different types of trains, and can be recognized on passenger trains by their lack of windows.
The basic function of a barrier vehicle on a train is to allow two train carriages, or wagons, with different types of coupling to be connected to each other. A coupling is the area at the rear and front of a train car that can be connected to another car, allowing the cars to connect and form a complete train. Over the years, different types of couplings have been developed and used to connect various automobiles together. While a docking adapter can potentially be used in some situations, it can often be more efficient or necessary to use a barrier vehicle.
Also known as a translator vehicle, or barrier coach or translator coach in the UK, a barrier vehicle can serve a number of purposes. When it acts only as a connecting car between two other cars that could not normally be connected to each other due to different types of couplings, it is often referred to as a match wagon or match truck. This type of barrier vehicle will have one type of coupling at one end and another type of coupling at the other end. The match truck can be connected to two cars with different types of coupling, creating a solid connection.
A barrier vehicle that serves not only to connect cars with different docking systems, but also to other types of systems that may not be compatible, is known as a translator or trainer vehicle. This type of barrier vehicle connects different types of coupling and allows cars with different mechanical systems to work properly together. Two cars with different braking systems, for example, could use a translator vehicle to serve as a mating connector and allow the brakes to work correctly between the different cars. This may be necessary to use multiple cars and coaches with different equipment and systems on a single train.