A question about Lionel track pin size

I have a bunch of Lionel O gauge tube track and want to use some of it up for a project, but I don't have any O gauge O42 Dia. curves. I looked at fleabay and the O27 curves are way cheaper than the O gauge curves, so my question is, is the diameter of the O27 track pins the same as the O track pins? If the diameter is different, i'd rather just buy the O gauge track rather than have to buy adapter pins to mount the two types of track together. Any help will be appreciated.

Original Post

Hi, I tried everything you can think of with many track systems. I even used cut off nails as pins for O and O-27 track but in the end the proper pin is always best.

As for O-27 and O gauge the pins are definitely different sizes and will not mate up properly.

Like I said above I'll try anything for the fun of it but the work involved is just not worth the cost of the correct part. Good luck and have fun.



Keep Your Rails Polished!

NJ HiRailer

(Just Picture The Image)

Although this part is offered, it will be quite a bump at the transition point due to a design flaw.



It really should be offset, like the GarGraves adapter pins.


You can make your own by starting with three "O" pins, and grind one end(to the half way point) of each 3/4 of the way around to match the diameter of the O-27 track pins/openings.


If you instead grind them to the center like the above Lionel pins, there will be a significant "bump" at the transition.


For an example of this "offset" method, look closely at the GarGraves "O" & O-27 adapter pins:








I had one layout with a mixture of "O" and "027" track. I just squeezed down the opening in the "O" track to accept the smaller pins.
I did this by putting 027" pins in the opening, and squeezing the web underneath the rounded part with a pair of needle nose pliers. The pliers had a slight taper, so I worked them in further and further, until the pin was held tight.


The transition was smooth.

C.W. Burfle

I made my own since the commercially available ones aren't exactly inexpensive.


A big consideration, one which I did not think of until AFTER I made them, is what Rob stated.  As shown in the pictures I rounded off one end and did so equally around - a bad, bad decision since it created the 'hump/bump' that Rob described.


I had to make new ones - luckily I tested after I made just 3 so I was quick to discover the error of my ways!


As you can see in the last picture, there is quite a difference in heights - I landed up putting bracing under the O27 track. 


Another consideration is that unless you keep all of the O27 track at the same 'O' height, the O27 track will dip down to table level creating a bit of a 'ramp'.


- walt








Photos (3)

I would recommend going with O if that is what you already have. It is possible to mate 027 to O, and you can handle the height difference using roadbed (taller under the 027, shorter under the O) and use ballast to hide the differences in the ties, but it is a lot of work for a couple of bucks saved, to be honest. O track is so plentiful, that if you keep your eyes open you probably won't spend much more compared to O27, and it is worth it to keep it visually the same. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

As Rob said, force the "O" pins into the "O27" track.  It gives a smoother transition than the other way round.  It will help if you open the "O27" track tube up just a bit using an awl.  Once the pin is seated in the "O27" rail, crimp the rail with a pair of track pliers.  Which brings us to another subject.

I have two pair of lineman's pliers.  One pair is used for "O" track, the other for "O27".  I made them myself.  Simply lay the pliers flat.  With the jaws held in the closed position, drill a hole near the end of the jaws corresponding in size with either an "O" pin or "O27" pin.  Now you can tighten the pins in the rails using the proper size pair of pliers. 

Dan Padova


"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill


Just buy the regular O gauge track pins and be done with it!! Remember you get what you pay for and there really is no cheating with track pin sizes.

I have tried a few methods mentioned and they don't work right all the time or will end up derailing your engines with sensitive wheelsets, mainly MTH engines will derail.

Lee Fritz

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

  • The answer you are looking for is YES, there is a distinct difference.  The rail height of 027 track is 7/16"' high, to top of the rail.  The O track stands at 11/16" high, to top of the rail. That means that All the 027 track would need shims to raise the 027 track up to the rail height of the O track.  The track pins are also different with the O pins measuring 7/64" and the 027 measures 3/32".  There are the two problems that you have to deal with.  Others above didn't give the measurement, but offered various solutions.  
  • It's your choice of what to do.






Tinplate Art posted:

My advice: Spring for the O gauge track!  :-)

If the budget allows.

phillyreading posted:

Just buy the regular O gauge track pins and be done with it!! Remember you get what you pay for and there really is no cheating with track pin sizes.

Sure there is!


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