New Product Spotlight – LEGACY SD70MAC

18 08 2014

As AC traction motor technology improved in the 1990s, the SD70MAC emerged as ideal power for heavy trains.

Prototype Background

6-81134 Burlington Northern

6-81134 Burlington Northern

Billed as the biggest technological development since the switch from steam to diesel, improvements in AC traction motor technology promised major changes in how railroads ran trains and assigned power.

Diesels with conventional DC traction motors can develop a lot of power at low speed, but only for a short period of time before the motors will overheat. AC traction motors on the other hand can run at full power without overheating for a long time. This gives AC motored locomotives an advantage in hauling heavy drag freights like coal trains. After testing EMD’s SD60MAC prototypes, Burlington Northern determined they could replace five aging SD40-2 and C30-7 locomotives with just three new SD70MACs on their Powder River Basin coal trains. Burlington Northern’s initial order for 350 SD70MACs brought AC traction to the spotlight in a big way.

6-81138 BNSF

6-81138 BNSF

Along with the AC motors, the SD70MAC featured improved anti-slip control which greatly improved the locomotives’ adhesion. In other words, the SD70MAC didn’t pull more because it was more powerful, it pulled more because it made better use of the power it produced. The SD70MACs could dig in and pull when conventional locomotives just spun their wheels. It wasn’t long before other railroads were trying out AC as well.

6-81141 Conrail

6-81141 Conrail

While Burlington Northern and most of the other railroads which purchased the SD70MAC did so for coal and other heavy drag freight trains, the locomotives often wander into other service corridors as well. Unit grain trains and general merchandise are common assignments. Perhaps most unusual are those on the Alaska Railroad which sometimes find themselves pulling passengers.

Lionel’s Model

Our latest release brings the model up to date with today’s LEGACY control and other great features, including:

  • LEGACY Control System – able to run on LEGACY, TMCC or Conventional control layouts
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On / Off switch
  • LEGACYRailSounds including
    • CrewTalk andTowerCom dialog

      6-81153 CSX

      6-81153 CSX

    • 6 Official railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • Quilling Horn
    • Bell (single hit and continuous)
    • Sequence Control
    • Current speed and fuel dialog
    • Refueling sounds
  • Dual maintenance-free motors
  • Traction Tires
  • Refined Conventional Control mode with lower starting speeds
  • Front and Rear ElectroCouplers
  • Fan-driven smoke with adjustable output
  • ARR

    6-81153 Alaska

    IR Transmitter (works with the new SensorTrack)

  • Directional lighting
  • Marker Lights
  • Lighted cab interior with crew
  • Many separately applied metal detail parts
  • Metal frame, pilots, trucks and fuel tank
  • Minimum Curve – O31

Another notable improvement over previous SD70MAC runs, we’ve lowered the fuel tank to a more realistic appearance.

The SD70MAC is being built to order. They were presented in two road numbers for Alaska, Burlington Northern, BNSF, CSX, and Kansas City Southern (one in the gray and one in the Southern Belle scheme). A Conrail SD70MAC is available as part of the Big Blue Auto Parts Boxcar Set and as a single number for separate sale. Look to see them later this year at your local Lionel dealer with a suggested retail price of $549.99.





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY USRA Heavy Mikado

30 06 2014

When the United States Railroad Administration released their standard steam locomotive designs, many of the road engines came in both a “light” and “heavy” version to meet the demands of the different roads they would serve. The light Mikado is one of the best known and most-modeled of the USRA designs. Lionel is happy to finally bring its larger cousin to the O Gauge world.

Prototype Background

L&N

6-81182 Louisville and Nashville

By the time the USRA was formed, the Mikado had already emerged as the new common design for freight steam. Across the United States, railroads were buying and building 2-8-2s as they moved on from the Consolidations which had been the go-to freight engine for the previous two decades. Consequently, the 2-8-2s were among the first of the USRA’s standard designs to be completed and released.

The USRA offered two standard Mikados. The “light” version weighed in at 290,800 lbs. and produced 54,724 lbs. of tractive effort. The “heavy” locomotive was the same in most major dimensions except those of the boiler and firebox. It tipped the scales at 325,000 lbs. and produced 59,801 lbs. of tractive effort.

3D Mikado

This 3D printed boiler provides a first look at the new locomotive. The finished models will have a die-cast boiler.

With 233 built under USRA auspices, the Heavy Mikado was the third most popular of its designs behind the 0-6-0 and the Light Mikado. Thirty came from Baldwin, the rest from Alco with orders filled at both Brooks and Schenectady. The first arrived in 1918. Baldwin built a pair for Atlanta and West Point which were modern locomotives of USRA Heavy Mikado dimensions in 1944.

Original allocations are sketchy based on the refusal of locomotives by some roads, transfers, eventual copies and of course the clouds which come from the passage of time. For example, the Frisco’s locomotives were originally refused by the PRR, then the IHB and even the SLSF itself before they were finally accepted. Multiple sources confirm the USRA Heavy Mikado was originally delivered to these railroads:

  • CNJ

    6-81185 Central of New Jersey

    Central RR of New Jersey

  • Chicago Burlington and Quincy
  • Chicago Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific
  • Chicago, St Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha
  • Erie
  • Fort Worth and Denver (CB&Q)
  • Great Northern
  • Louisville and Nashville
  • Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (NYC)
  • Frisco

    6-81186 Frisco

    Pittsburgh, McKeesport and Youghiogheny (NYC)

  • St Louis – San Francisco
  • Wheeling and Lake Erie

Additionally, following the end of the USRA, many railroads ordered copies of this design, or locomotives based largely around its dimensions. All together, nearly 1,000 locomotives were built to this design. The USRA Mikados and their kin are the closest thing the United States ever had to a nationwide “standard” freight steam locomotive.

Lionel’s Model

GN

6-81192 Great Northern

Like the prototype, our new Heavy Mikado shares many of the same components as our previous releases of the Light Mikado. The locomotive shares the same frame, wheels and running gear as well as the same tender. The boiler and all of its attached parts are completely new tooling however. The larger boiler made it even easier to include a feature that is a favorite of many – whistle steam!

The Lionel model will have all of these great features:

  • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
  • LEGACYRailSounds system featuring:
    • CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
    • Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
    • DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
    • LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
    • Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive
    • Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  • NYC

    6-81188 New York Central

    Whistle Steam effect

  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive and tender
  • C&IM

    6-81187 Chicago and Illinois Midland

    Traction tires

  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • O-54 Minimum curve
P&WV

6-81184 Pittsburgh and West Virginia

The USRA Heavy Mikados are being built to order. They were presented in C&IM, CNJ, Great Northern, L&N, NYC, P&WV, Frisco and as an undecorated Pilot model. Look to see them at your dealer later this year with a suggested retail of $1299.99.





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY Pennsylvania M1A Steam Locomotives

9 06 2014

Always known for its independent engineering and distinctive style, the Pennsylvania Railroad produced many notable steam locomotives. The M1 4-8-2s certainly rank among their most successful designs.

Prototype Background

PRR 6755

The Pennsylvania set one M aside for posterity – No. 6755 was built as an M1A in 1930 and later converted to an M1B.

The Pennsy had already found its primary passenger power in the form of the K4 Pacific. A design perfected over decades of engineering and revision, 425 K4s provided one of the largest stables of passenger  locomotives to be found anywhere. As good as they were however, the K4s still had their limits. As passenger trains grew longer and heavier in the 1920s, the railroad was forced to double and even triple-head the Pacifics over its mountain grades. Larger power was needed.

Appropriately, the solution for the problem would come in the form of a Mountain-type (4-8-2) locomotive. The Pennsylvania’s M1 was more than just a K4 with an extra pair of drive wheels however. The M1 took from the best of several existing designs, but most heavily from the I1 Decapods.

Lionel's M1 captures the locomotives' beautiful look prior to front-end modernization.

6-81245 PRR 6771 – Lionel’s M1 captures the locomotives’ beautiful look prior to front-end modernization.

After building a prototype in 1923 and two years of thorough testing and refinement, the railroad ordered 200 new locomotives. Only 20 of these would be regularly assigned to passenger service however. Most found a home as the railroad’s new premier fast-freight engine.

The engineering department never let up however, and in 1930 an order was placed for 100 more 4-8-2s, classified M1A. These locomotives included a feedwater heater and increased boiler pressure. They were also delivered with the monstrous “coast to coast” tender which was nearly as long as the locomotive itself. Again, only 10% of the new locomotives were assigned for passenger duties, though all were equipped to handle the varnish.

M1 set

No. 6755 is available as part of set 6-81247 – complete with all new PRR hoppers and a N5B cabin car.

Following the war, 40 M1A’s were upgraded to M1B’s with a further increase in steam pressure. Rebuilt or not, most of the M1s received the new modernized front end during the war years which made access to the headlight and generator much easier. All of the M1s put in good service to the end of steam. They were among the most versatile of PRR steam locomotives and could be found on the point of just about anything from a passenger train to a fast freight to coal trains.

Ultimately the arrival of even more versatile and efficient diesels in the l940s and 1950s spelled the end for the M1 fleet in 1955. Only one M1 survives today. No. 6755, built in 1930 by Baldwin as an M1A and later upgraded to an M1B was set aside by the Pennsy for its historic collection and can be seen today at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. It is the largest surviving PRR steam locomotive.

Lionel’s M1A

6764

6-81246 PRR 6764

Lionel is pleased to bring back the pride of the Pennsy with this latest release of the M1A. For the first time, this locomotive will be available with LEGACY and whistle steam! Each of the models will capture the locomotives’ appearance prior to their modernization in the 1940s.

Additionally, the models will feature:

  • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
  • LEGACY RailSounds system featuring:
    • CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
    • Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
    • DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
    • LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
    • Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive
    • Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  •  Whistle Steam effect
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive and tender
  • Traction tires
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab and tender “doghouse”
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • O-54 Minimum curve

The Pennsy M1As are being built to order. They featured three road numbers (6755, 6764, 6771) and as an undecorated Pilot model. Look to see them at your dealer later this year. Nos. 6764 and 6771 are available individually with a suggested retail of $1499.99. No. 6755 is being sold as part of a new Pennsy coal train set which will also include all new PRR GLA hoppers and an N5B cabin car – look for more information on these exciting new models (also available for separate sale) in upcoming blogs!





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY Berkshires

14 04 2014

The Berkshire is one of the most popular locomotives we’ve ever produced, and our 2014 scale Berkshire release will be the best yet. Returning in popular roadnames and with great new features, these locomotives are sure to continue that tradition.

NKP 765

This release of Nickel Plate #765 will include two smokebox front options and a signed certificate by her operating crew.

The 2-8-4 design originated on the Boston and Albany in 1925. With an enlarged boiler and firebox, the locomotives could easily outperform Mikados of comparable length. Much as the Hudson had done for the New York Central’s passenger traffic, the Berkshire would be the “Super Power” answer for freight service.

As the design progressed, the locomotives became even more efficient – and elegant. The best known Berks were built for the family of railroads owned by the Van Sweringen brothers. These included the Erie, Chesapeake and Ohio, Pere Marquette, and the New York Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate.) Pooling engineering resources, the combined staffs of these lines formed the “Mechanical Advisory Committee” which developed locomotive designs which could be shared among the routes.

The origins of this modern Berkshire family began on the Erie.

The origins of this modern Berkshire family began on the Erie.

The first Advisory Committee Berks went to the Erie. With 70″ drivers the locomotives were perfect for fast freight service. This design led to the T-1 2-10-4 for the C&O. Lessons learned here were in turn applied to subsequent orders for Berkshires on the Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette and lastly the C&O. Similar locomotives were also built for the Wheeling and Lake Erie and Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac.

PM

Pere Marquette is represented by two locomotives in this run, #1225 and #1227.

The locomotives performed remarkably well through the end of steam on each road. Primarily a fast freight engine, the postcard image of these Berks usually has them on the point of a long train of reefers or priority merchandise cars. Many of the younger engines had less than 20 years in before diesels forced their early retirement. Nineteen Berks survive today (12 from the C&O), two in operating condition (Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225.)

The Berkshire has been a staple of the Lionel line as well for more than half a century. Our upcoming release will capture the size, details and drama of these legends in scale form. We’ve included a few special extras on some of these special locomotives as well.

The locomotive will be available in the following road names and numbers:

  • 6-11452  C&O #2687
  • 6-11453  Erie #3401
  • 6-11454  Nickel Plate #765
  • 6-11455  Pere Marquette #1225
  • 6-11456  Pere Marquette #1227
  • 6-11461  Pilot Model (unpainted)

All of the new Berkshires include the following features:

    • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
    • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
    • LEGACY RailSounds system featuring: – CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped – Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog – DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed – LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals – Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds – Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive – Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  • Whistle Steam effect
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive
  • Traction tires
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • O-54 Minimum curve

For Nickel Plate 765’s re-release, we’ve added two nice touches to celebrate her long career in excursion service. The Nickel Plate locomotives were equipped with Mars lights during part of their service career, and 765 has carried this on excursions in the past. So you can have it both ways, we’re including an extra smokebox front with a Mars light detail. This can be substituted for the single headlight smokebox front installed. The working Mars Light is in the boiler. Also included with the 765, a certificate signed by the steam crew at the Ft Wayne Historical Society.

All of the Berkshires are being built to order quantities. MSRP for the Gold Polar Express is $1449.99. Don’t miss your chance to own this amazing locomotive! See your dealer to place an order today!





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY AC-12 Cab Forward

24 03 2014

Faced with rough mountain grades covered by tunnels and snow sheds, the Southern Pacific’s unique “Cab Forwards” were a breath of fresh air to the engineer and fireman. The ultimate development of the design, the AC-12 4-8-8-2, battled the Sierra’s from 1943 until 1958.

4294

No. 4294 is the last survivor of the Cab Forwards – a fitting ambassador to the power of steam and innovation of the Southern Pacific.

The AC-12 saw service on a variety of trains. They were used on general freight, priority produce trains and occasionally as helpers on heavy passenger trains. Even these huge machines were often seen working in pairs or more with locomotives placed at the head end, mid train and on / or on the rear to get the heaviest trains over the mountains. Despite their success, the AC-12 would have the dubious distinction of being the last new steam locomotives purchased by the Espee.

The coming diesel locomotives were already a “cab forward” design as far as the crew was concerned. Interestingly though, the many tunnels would play a role with the development of later diesels, namely the SD40T-2 and SD45T-2 “Tunnel Motors.”

Only one Cab Forward, No. 4294, is preserved today. It is also the last new steam locomotive purchased by the Southern Pacific. It can be seen strategically placed next to the first locomotive of the Central Pacific, the C.P. Huntington, at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

cab forward

The Cab Forward will be available in three road numbers in traditional SP markings for those daring enough to recreate a full size train!

The Lionel AC-12

Lionel is bringing back the AC-12 in 2014 with its best features yet including LEGACY control, RailSounds and Whistle Steam!

Note that like many of the Southern Pacific’s later steam locomotives, the AC-12 was equipped with both a steam whistle and an air horn. The engineer could choose which ever he preferred, and with your LEGACY remote you can too.

The locomotive features:

  • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
  • LEGACY RailSounds system featuring: –
    • CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
    • Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
    • DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
    • LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle and Horn” control – choose between the steam whistle and air horn just like the prototype
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
    • Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive -
    • Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  • Whistle Steam
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive

    Daylight

    While none were ever painted to match, the SP did use the Cab Forwards to help its Daylights and other passenger trains over the mountains. This colorful “what if” would make a great companion to your Lionel Daylight cars and GS class locomotives.

  • Traction tires
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • IR Transmitter for communication with LCS SensorTrack
  • O-72 Minimum curve

For 2014, we are offering the AC-12 in three different road numbers in the traditional Southern Pacific paint scheme. We are also offering a “What If” Daylight version for those who’d like to add some matching heavy mountain power to their Daylight passenger trains. An unpainted Pilot model is also available. Retail price is $1699.99.

Road numbers are as follows:

  • 6-11462  #4294
  • 6-11463  #4291
  • 6-11464  #4286
  • 6-11465  #4275 “Daylight”
  • 6-11469  Pilot Model (unpainted)

These locomotives will be among the first from the new catalogs produced in 2014 so don’t wait!  See your Lionel dealer and order your piece of Southern Pacific history today.





New Product Spotlight – LEGACY E8 and E9

17 03 2014

We first introduced our E8 and E9 diesels here on the blog last year. Here’s an update on the project, along with photos of our production samples. These locomotives will be on your dealers’ shelves soon!

E8 noses

Lionel’s new E8 and E9 capture the look of one of the most famous faces of railroading.

One of the most famous passenger locomotives of all time, the E8 and E9 were the last in the long line of EMD’s E units. These locomotives were the face of passenger service on most of America’s railroads for nearly forty years. Towards the end, many found their way into freight service as well. For more history of the prototype locomotives and the trains they pulled, see our earlier blog.

The new E8s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:

E9 nose

The Union Pacific E9 features a single headlight above the nose door.

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights and Mars Lights where appropriate
  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior
  • Die-cast metal trucks, fuel tank and pilots
  • High level of separately applied details including the Pennsy’s Trainphone antennae
  • O-31 minimum curve

Powered locomotives also feature:

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    SP nose

    Like the prototype, the Southern Pacific locomotive includes a headlight on the nose door and a Mars light above.

      • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
      • 6 Railroad speeds
      • 8 Diesel RPM levels
      • LEGACY Quilling horn
      • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
      • Sequence control provides sounds and dialog for an entire trip around your layout
      • Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires
  • Engineer and Fireman figures
  • IR Transmitter
UP details

In addition to the Mars light, locomotives feature appropriate pilots, horns and other roof-top details appropriate to each prototype.

The A-A locomotive sets will be available in Baltimore and Ohio, Burlington, Florida East Coast, Kansas City Southern, Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. Retail price is $929.99. Matching passenger car sets will also be available.SP e8





Lionel Releases LEGACY Protocol

15 01 2014

Lionel has announced that we are releasing our LEGACY protocol to promote a more universal control standard for the O Gauge hobbyist. Here is the official press release:

Concord, NC – January 15, 2014 – Lionel LLC today announced it will make public its Legacy command protocol and open its WiFi-to-model-railroad interface in an effort to grow the hobby by allowing a single remote to control all manufacturers’ locomotives.

Industry hobbyists have long pined for a universal remote to integrate and control model railroad layouts. Lionel is taking the first step towards realizing this goal via the user’s own smart device and Lionel’s WiFi adapter. Layout Control System (LCS) WiFi creates a common access point with a royalty-free protocol designed for model railroading. Any manufacturer can use LCS WiFi to support their unique locomotive command sets. Within this framework, hobbyists will be able to control different manufacturers’ locomotives seamlessly from one app running on a smart phone or tablet.

“To keep up with today’s mobile-centric landscape, unified control from a smart phone or tablet is critical in growing the hobby of model railroading,” says Jon Zahornacky, Chief Technology Officer at Lionel. “Publishing our WiFi protocol gives the hobby a royalty-free path to controlling any manufacturer’s model trains from smart devices using our WiFi adapter.”

Lionel is working closely with LCS partners to develop their own apps that connect to Lionel’s WiFi interface. The first announced such product is Blue Train developed by Bob Krivacic, a long-time innovator in the model railroad industry. The BlueTrain app runs on Android devices, connects to LCS WiFi, runs Lionel locomotives and can be used simultaneously with any other LCS-compatible controller.

“By opening the Legacy protocol, Lionel is allowing other manufacturers’ products to control Lionel Trains. It’d be great to see other manufacturers follow suit and begin sharing their own proprietary protocols. Everyone involved in the model railroad world stands to benefit,” says Bob Krivacic, industry innovator and developer.

The Legacy command specification is available and can be downloaded from www.lionel.com/lcs. The WiFi specification is available through the LCS Partner program.








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