To held tracks hold together without nailing them down permanently, AC Gilbert marketed its #694 track locks. Sometimes people also call these track clips. The locks are u-shaped pieces of tin that came in a brown envelope with instructions on the front. If you’ve lost the instructions, or bought the clips secondhand and never got them, here’s how to install American Flyer track locks.
These track locks are indispensable for setting up a layout on the floor.
The locks are just wide enough to reach the end ties on adjacent sections of S gauge track. To attach them, slide one leg of the lock under each tie. Then push the lock all the way in.
As you work your way around the layout, you may want to alternate inserting the locks on the left and right side of the track. This makes the track less prone to “walking” itself apart along the side that doesn’t have the locks.
One lock per track joint ought to be sufficient to hold the track together.
To remove the lock, slide a small screwdriver between the rail and the track lock and gently pry outward. Then you can easily disassemble the track for reconfiguration or storage.
Installing the locks helps keep the track together tightly. This decreases derailments and improves conductivity, making for a smoother running train.
If you run out of track locks, you can use rubber bands instead. But the track locks are likely to be less noticeable. Using rubber bands was a common practice in the postwar era.