How to use O27 track clips

O27 track clips definitely make it more convenient to set up a loop of Lionel O27 track on the floor. But they aren’t very intuitive. Here’s how to use O27 track clips, whether they have the Lionel or Ives brand on them.

How to use O27 track clips

It helps if you assemble the track and then flip it over.

How to use O27 track clips
Step 1: Assemble the track.

Next, line up the shorter side of the clip so that it covers just the edge of one tie, while covering the entirety of the tie next to it. The clip has a lip that grasps the inner edge of one tie, while grabbing the adjacent tie on three sides. It’s a clever design that let Lionel make the clip using less material.

How to use O27 track clips
Step 2: Line up one side.

After lining it up, press down on the long side so the clip grasps the adjacent tie tightly. You may have to press down pretty hard, but don’t worry. The metal is springy. You won’t break it.

How to use O27 track clips
Step 3: Press down.

The resulting assembly lays completely flat. If the clip doesn’t want to grip one tie or the other, one or both of them may be out of square. Straighten them up with a pair of needle-nose pliers. They don’t have to be perfect, but if a tie is too warped, the clip won’t fit right.

How to use O27 track clips
The assembled O27 track with track clip.

Flip the track back over, and verify it lays flat. Then move on to the next section. The resulting track holds together very firmly, making it ideal for temporary floor layouts, or seasonal layouts you set up around the holidays. Lionel trains look great with Department 56-type buildings, or with galvanized metal building-shaped lanterns.

Caveats with Lionel O27 track clips

Even though Lionel and Marx O27 track are compatible with each other, the ties aren’t quite spaced right to use Lionel track clips with Marx track. The clips won’t fit. The easiest way to tell Lionel track from Marx is to look at the holes in the ties from the underside. If the cut is smooth, it’s Lionel. If you see a small barb in the hole, it’s Marx.

K-Line track, on the other hand, is compatible.

You can mix vintages of Lionel track with Lionel clips (the piece on the left in the photos is from the 1950s while the piece on the right is from the 1970s). The post-1970 ties look wider, but the clip still accommodates the newer design.

When picking out used O27 track on Ebay, make it easier on yourself by looking for brown ties, because you know brown-tie track will always be compatible with Lionel clips. The clips themselves are reasonably priced on Ebay too, if you run short.

Ives clips are completely compatible with Lionel track; Lionel used the Ives name on them for decades to keep the trademark from falling into competitor hands.

2 thoughts on “How to use O27 track clips

  • October 11, 2019 at 9:58 pm
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    Dave-
    Something I haven’t seen before: During the past couple of weeks I’ve found that I have to reload the current page to see any new posts. This even after a shut-down and reboot for a Windows update last night. I can see how it might happen but I am not experiencing it on the few other sites I regularly visit and not before the two recent events on your site. I had begun to think you were no longer regularly posting. BTW I liked seeing you share something on religion again, and a reminder on the debt stuff. Paul

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 9:59 pm
    Permalink

    Side note. I finally saw the houses, etc. you hsavew mentioned at Dollar Store, it appears to be a seasonal thing in my area.

    Reply

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