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LEGO train tracks have 3 holes in each of the segments:

Train Tracks

I understand the two outer holes are used with a throw-away piece to keep them stacked while shipping, but what is the center hole for? Is it just for saving a bit of plastic? Or perhaps just a planned 'shipping' feature that was never used?

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Throw-away piece? Throw-away piece? You don't throw away LEGO parts!!! –  Joubarc Dec 17 '13 at 5:19
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Indeed, you keep those pieces to keep your rail bits in line in storage. –  gev Dec 17 '13 at 7:06
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I bet you keep the bit in the middle of the coin sprue too :) . Seriously though, use a longer metal piece to hold more tracks together. The plastic holder is just a waste of space, and seeing as it's crimped on the end it looks bitten. No bite marks in my collection thank you. –  Josh B Dec 17 '13 at 21:49
    
I'm just saying, I used on of these in a MOC once. –  Joubarc Jan 23 at 15:04

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

The larger hole is present in older 9V track as well:

9v curved track

I've never actually done this, but I've always assumed that the hole is there so that the track can be screwed or nailed down if desired to create a semi-permanent layout. This is common practice with traditional model railroad track:

HO track with nails

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I'm fairly confident that's the reason. There was a hole in 12v gray sleepers as well, by the way. –  Joubarc Dec 17 '13 at 5:19
    
I suppose it makes sense with the curved rail pieces since they don't clutch directly on to a baseplate in the way straight pieces do. It –  Ambo100 Dec 17 '13 at 10:33
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Given that even a large track layout doesn't weigh much, and the train itself does, the track can slip around quite a bit as the train goes around corners, unless the track is secured to the surface or weighted down with attachments. I am fairly sure that this is what that hole is for. It's even tapered, to fit a screw head or nail head flush. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 17 '13 at 14:08
    
Yeah, the countersunk nature of the hole makes me pretty certain this is for screws/nails. Not sure why I didn't think of it earlier :) –  Josh B Dec 17 '13 at 21:50

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