Can Old Lionel Trains Run On FasTrack?

In 2003 the head honcho at the Lionel company decided to design and produce a new type of track for all of their model trains. The FasTrack, as they have been called, has since become one of the most popular tracks ever produced. The question constantly arises about whether these new tracks work with the older versions. Can the old Lionel trains run on FasTrack systems?

The old Lionel Trains can run on FasTrack train tracks, and the age of the sets is not as crucial as their gauge. Each type can be combined with the new tracks, even if they have to be slightly modified. Modifications can easily be done in minutes with a few simple steps.

It makes it difficult for collectors and hobbyists when a train brand changes how they make their tracks without making an allowance to connect the two sets. With a bit of luck and some ingenuity, anything is possible. If you want to learn how to connect them all together, continue reading.

The Lionel FasTrack Transition Piece

The old Lionel trains were designed with many unique pieces, and so were the new FasTrack designs. If you combine them together, you have components from both sets. The great thing about that is many of the older collection pieces were never made into the new tracks, which means you have the best of both worlds. You have old designs unique to the era and new tracks that are easy to assemble and substantially more durable.

  • The Transition piece is designed with pins on one side that fits into a FasTrack piece, and the other side of the transition piece fits into the tubular O31tracks.
  • You can use the transition piece to convert from a new track to an old one and then back to the new one.
  • It allows you to combine the past’s unique curved tracks with today’s tracks.

You may be wondering why you would want to combine the new types of tracks because they were designed for use in different decades of history. But if you followed that line of thinking throughout your life, you would find it to be a dull life. Just because it was designed for trains before the switch over does not mean that you should not ever combine the two. Live on the edge and go for it with the help of a Lionel Transition Piece.

old lionel trains

Modifying The Connecting Pins to work With Older Tracks

You should know by now that with a little effort, any tracks with 3 rails can be connected in one way or another. Of course, they must all be designed for use with Lionel train sets; otherwise, they will not be able to connect the electric waves from one of them to another. They can never work together correctly without being able to transfer energy from one track to another. Unfortunately, if you have the O27 style of track, the transition pieces will not work to connect the two.

  • Pry up the tabs on one side of the Fastrack tracks.
  • Pry up the rails enough to let you gain access to the regular pins.
  • Remove the regular pins.
  • Now get your hands on three of the O27 pins.
  • Solder the pins into place.
  • Snap the tracks into place.
  • Bend the original pins down to help hold the tracks together.

It may seem like a complicated process, but once you have done it a time or two, you will see how easy it is. Until you get the hang of it, you will want to practice on some straight tracks until you get it down. If you are unfamiliar with soldering, you will want to look at some videos on YouTube that can show you the basics. From there, you will need to practice before you actually start working on the train tracks.

Is It A Good Idea to Connect Old Lionel Tracks To FasTracks

Even though there are a couple of ways to connect the old with the new, a point comes from people who have combined the two. The gauge of the tracks is the measurement that you need to understand because it is the one that allows the locomotive and the boxcars to run on them. When you take two different sizes, even if they are close, it leaves room for problems.

  • As the trains get bigger, they need more turning radius. Wider than what the older curves are.
  • Connecting two different sizes of tracks, even though they are very minute, can give the trains room to jump the track.
  • If you modify the tracks incorrectly, it could cause damage to your trains, tracks, and your remote when you throw it down to try and save your train from damage.

The choice, in the end, will be up to you. You leave yourself open to problems whenever you change how things are designed. If the modifications are done correctly, connecting the two styles together is more than possible. Still, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to try it. If you stand by the train while it is going around, you can see if something is going wrong. If it does, you can stop it or fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.

lionel trains
Marine 69-71

Final Thoughts

It would be a complete shame if you had some older Lionel tracks and could not find any more to add to your current set-up. You could run into many variables when connecting anything old with anything new. Many companies do not make any allowances to make it easy. Still, Lionel trains thought ahead when designing the more recent tracks. This makes them a company that cares about your feelings as hobbyists and train set collectors.

It will obviously be impossible to design a way for all the tracks to connect. Still, between the transition piece and the soldering technique, the most common tracks can be combined in a series that works for the Lionel trains of different generations. Nothing could be better than being able to connect them all together.


Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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