As covered in my article on wooden train track compatibility, most of the main brands of wood railway (Bigjigs, Brio etc) are perfectly interchangeable. But if you’ve got track – maybe from a supermarket or budget brand – that doesn’t fit well with existing track and your son or daughter are complaining you can still save the day and get their track sets to work.
This tip came about after a friend bought some budget brand wooden track to extend their sons Brio train set only to find it their 2 year old son struggled when using it. Application of a bit of force from dad made it fit but it didn’t sit snuggly and the trains would often come off when crossing between sections. Needless to say their son wasn’t happy.
Knowing I built model railways he asked if I could suggest anything.
After having examining the different tracks it was obvious that while the new track was largely the same as the Brio sections either through design or cheap manufacturing it was slightly bigger and this resulted in problems as the train wheels rolled over it. Cue chaos.
Luckily, the answer was very simple.
Using some sandpaper – available in DIY stores – the excess wood around the join was rubbed away allowing the pieces to fit smoothly. I fitted the pieces together and marked where the wood rubbed with a pencil and then removed this area with the sand paper. You may need to repeat this process a few times.
After this, a bit of further rubbing with the sandpaper was required to increase the depth of the grooves in the rails – into which the wheels slot – so to that they vertically aligned with the Brio track and remove the step between sections that were causing wheels to jump off the track.
It’s worth pointing out that you needn’t rub down the entire length of track to the same height of the Brio, just at the joins and then have it increase to the height of rest of the track in a short but gentle incline.
Less than half an hour of work resulted in a happy toddler playing with trains that now ran smoothly over his larger railway.
If you found this useful, you might like to read my other tips and guides about Brio and other wooden trains. Start by reading train sets for children.