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admin 31.08.2014

Home→Is it compatible with Brio ?→Ikea wooden train track – does it fit Brio or Bigjigs Railway? In this article we look at the wooden train set sold by Ikea and check to see whether it fits with Bigjigs railway, Brio or any of the other leading brands. You can see that unlike most brands the Ikea track uses a plastic insert to form the male joint. What we also find surprising is that Ikea explicitly promote their set on their website saying it “Combines with most other railway systems on the market” when in our testing it quite clearly didn’t.
I also think, that the plastic joints are really an Ikea-like solution, that way only one tool is needed for doing the wooden parts, plus I can remove them to make same-end-partd (also, in the kindergarden, they have Eichhorn, and those wooden joints tend to break if overstressed). In both cases track pieces are 41 mm wide by 12 mm thick.  The rail grooves are 5 mm wide, 3 mm deep with 25 mm centres, or 20 mm between them.
Below: Brio track on left from end with identical profile track piece from BigJigs on the right.
Whilst the track is fully compatible one principal difference between the two ranges is in the engines and rolling stock.  Most Bigjigs Rail items are made with a very high proportion of wood.


Apart from these differences, the engines, carriages and wagons from each range join together through a seemingly identical, safe magnet system, so with Brio and Bigjigs Rail track also matching, Mulberry Bush can confirm, through our own testing, that these two systems are fully compatible. Great review of compatibility of BigJigs and Brio, just what I was looking for when it comes to instructing friends and family to extend my son’s ever growing rail set!!
For whatever reason the people at Ikea made it shorter than the Brio or Bigjigs joint so with the samples we had it just doesn’t fit – see image below. Take a look at our picture below of Thomas the Tank Engine, from the Thomas and Friends range, on the same track (Ikea track actually) and attached to the engine that comes from Ikea. Ikea wooden trains are a great buy to see if your child will enjoy a wooden train set, or if you’re happy for your child to be restricted in the layouts they can make in the future. She recently got into watching Thomas, and with the two engines Ikea supplies (there is also a red one in the bridge&tunnel set), she can re-play all the stories. OK, maybe the odd piece will just about squeeze in, but we haven’t been able to make it do that, and we think it could be immensely frustrating for a young child.
The red one is usually James, and the black one Donald or Douglas, but whichever story comes to her mind, they can be equally Gordon or Percy.


Conversely of course the male end of other brands, being that bit longer, fits loosely into the female end of Ikea track, making a wobbly and unsatisfactory connection. Admittedly the Thomas Engine costs ?2.00 more than the whole Ikea set, but doesn’t it just look a lot more fun for a child? If you think your child will be happy with a basic layout and will not want to extend it as they get older with crossings, engine sheds, T-junctions and other fun items that include elements of track – extras that Ikea don’t currently have in their range – then this is a good way of doing so. The problem is that the Ikea track that we bought just doesn’t fit easily with the numerous other makes of track we have, despite their own claims.



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