Mystery Metal
December 3, 2013 5:51 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone identify the function of these brackets? They're part of a Lionel model train set.

These pieces of metal have been included with our Lionel train set since as long as I can remember. The trains themselves are from the 50s and 60s, I believe - it's a conglomeration from uncles on both sides of the family. No one seems to know what they're for. I have a bag of about a hundred of them.

The brackets look like they should clip under the track, but they're the wrong size - too large to fit under the track rails and too small to fit under the ties. I haven't been able to figure out where else these might be used - any ideas?
posted by backseatpilot to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
They might not actually be part of the train set. Someone may have put them in the box many years ago.
posted by mattoxic at 5:57 AM on December 3, 2013


It has been forever since I've opened up my train set but those look familiar. I believe they clip across the bottom of the rail sections. The ones I recall had terminals and were used for delivering power but I don't see those here. Maybe these are used with some other accessory, scenery of some kind?
posted by sewellcm at 6:31 AM on December 3, 2013


Not just to be used lengthwise (in the same direction as the track) to secure the joints? Hook on a tie (from below), clip on to the suitable tie of the next rail?
posted by Namlit at 7:02 AM on December 3, 2013


could they be intended to be installed vertically, with one end clipped to a section of lower track, and the other used to support a section of track that loops over the lower track?
posted by bruce at 7:45 AM on December 3, 2013


They look like an older version of these track clips
posted by TedW at 7:47 AM on December 3, 2013


It has been forever since I've opened up my train set but those look familiar. I believe they clip across the bottom of the rail sections. The ones I recall had terminals and were used for delivering power but I don't see those here.

I have those, but the base is made of a different material that's not conductive - there's two electrical connections on the clip that have to be separated from each other or the electrical stuff doesn't work. I'd guess if you've got hundreds of them that they're probably what Namlit and TedW describe.
posted by LionIndex at 7:56 AM on December 3, 2013


Could you put them in a photo that shows a size comparison, such as with a piece of track from the same set?
posted by Quarter Pincher at 7:58 AM on December 3, 2013


They're track clips. The joints on those old O-gauge tracks come apart fairly easily with use. They keep the tracks joined together.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2013


Holy crap. I've had these trains more or less since I was born and had no idea what these were. I was going to throw them out this year because I thought it was a big bag of broken power connectors. Now my trains will never fall apart again!

I installed one.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2013


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