New Product Spotlight – LCS Sensor Track

13 01 2014

We’re always working on ways to help you get the most out of your model trains. The new LCS SensorTrack™ will open even more options for control, effects, automation, and of course, fun! The SensorTrack™ is one part of our LCS System which will help you put the control of your entire layout in the palm of your hand. As with the introduction of any new technology like LCS, we know there will be questions. Here are answers to those we’ve heard most frequently.

What is the SensorTrack?

sensor track

The new Sensor Track opens many doors and connects quickly to your layout and LEGACY LCS system.

LCS SensorTrack™ is a 5” straight FasTrack section equipped with an infra-red receiver. This receiver reads data beamed out of all Lionel LEGACY and VISION locomotives that are equipped with an infra-red transmitter. When a compatible locomotive crosses a SensorTrack™, engine details like TMCC ID, road name, number, engine type, lighting options, fuel levels and direction of travel are retrieved by the track and transmitted through your LCS installation to your Cab and/or iPad® controller.

For those who have expressed an interest in this system for other track types, we have heard your requests and we’ll be happy to post some news on those projects when we can. And for those who would like to see the app available for non-Apple products, we have heard your voices as well and will announce options when they are available.

What Does it Do?

You can use SensorTracks™ to perform a variety of functions around your layout.

  • Use them to track your trains. When your locomotive crosses the sensor, its identification will display on your iPad track diagram. This can be very helpful when running multiple trains on large layouts or coordinating train movements for prototypical operating sessions.

    Cab 2

    The LCS SensorTrack and system have been designed with easy installation in mind. Here is all you need to incorporate the track and your LEGACY Cab2 Remote.

  • Display current locomotive fuel levels on a Cab-2 Remote
  • Easily update your database with new and visiting locomotives. If you add a new locomotive to your roster, or if you’re “leasing” power from friends, just run the locomotive over the SensorTrack™ and the name and number are automatically added to your iPad and Cab-2.
  • Trigger preset functions. For example; place a sensor track ahead of a grade crossing to automatically trigger the proper whistle / horn signal.
  • Trigger custom functions. You can also record and playback your own custom functions. Make a station stop, reverse direction, even combine multiple actions.
      • These functions can be applied to all of your locomotives, or be locomotive specific. So you could for example, make your favorite passenger train stop automatically at a station while others roll by on the mainline.
      • The commands are also direction specific – you can apply a different command if the train is moving left-right or right-left across the sensor (it does not matter whether the locomotive is in Forward or Reverse – just the direction of travel across the track.)

What Do I Need?


The SensorTrack easily connects to the Base 1L as well.

Start with the 6-81499 LCS Power Supply with DB9 Cable. Only one of these is required per layout.

The preset and custom recording commands require a Base-1L or a LEGACY Base.

Viewing fuel levels of passing locomotives requires a Cab-2 and LEGACY Base.

The LCS WiFi and free LCS App are not required to use SensorTrack, but they add the ability to see your locomotives’ position on the track diagrams you create with the LCS App.


Add the LCS WiFi module for even more control options.

If you want your SensorTrack™ to trigger the operation of switches or accessories (which are not already command enabled) through LCS, you’ll need control modules for those as well. What you need depends on what you want to do. The new LCS system is flexible enough to meet your needs without requiring you to purchase options you don’t want. For a complete list of all these options and more information on how they work together, refer to the LCS page at

What Locomotives Will Work with SensorTrack?

The easiest way to determine if a locomotive is compatible with SensorTrack™ is to flip it over and look for the infrared (IR) transmitter.


Typical steam locomotive IR Transmitter

On a LEGACY or VISION steam engine, you’ll find this on the tender. Sometimes it is attached to the truck. In other cases, it may be tucked into a piece of added-on cast detail attached to the tender frame. Look for a small circuit board with a tiny white square–that’s the transmitter.

diesel IR

Typical diesel IR Transmitter location

How about a LEGACY or VISION diesel locomotive? In practically all cases, a diesel IR transmitter will be mounted in the fuel tank, near the loudspeakers as seen in the photos here.

For a complete list of models we’ve already built with this feature, see this roster.

When Does It Get Here?

This and the other exciting LCS components will arrive at your dealers later this year. So now is the time to start dreaming of how you would like to add to your operations and place your orders.



13 responses

13 01 2014
Gil Smith

Like all of the latest Lionel cool stuff, great on promises, poor on delivery.

Waiting almost a year for the CAB-2 and other products that always seem to be delayed months pass “ship date”.

14 01 2014
Edward Johnson

Call me a Luddite but I still like the simple old style of train control. Beside the fact that I can do most of my own repairs to the “old stuff” myself.

25 07 2014
Bob heishman

Amen, I agree. the more complicated it gets the bigger headache. I think our old mechanical e-units will still be working long after all these new circuit boards are shorted out!!!!!!! Besides the old ones are sure a lot easier and cheaper to replace.

14 01 2014

I love the new LCS stuff. Can’t wait to see the CAB-3 Remote on the iPhone. Does anyone know if the following engines have the IR component?
– 6-11209 Vision Line NYC Hudson
– 6-28330 UP Building America SD70ace
– 6-34681 UP GP-9
– 6-28397 UP es44ac

14 01 2014

Two of the locomotives listed are equipped, the Hudson and GP-9. The ES44AC and SD70ACE were built before this became standard hardware on the LEGACY diesels. For a complete list you can check out:

15 01 2014
Conductor Andrew

Reblogged this on theredcaboose1.

6 02 2014
Bill Henning

Heard the LCS system is going to be delayed, possibly at least a another year or more. Any truth to this or is it still expected in the next couple months?

7 02 2014

That would be news to us. As far as I know, LCS is still on track.

26 03 2014

Question. Can IR transmitters be retrofitted into older engines? Maybe be programmable to specify the engine?

27 03 2014

I’m sorry, we don’t have a retrofit kit for this feature at this time. I’ll pass it along to our engineering team as a possible project for the future.

25 07 2014

Why doesn’t Lionel come up with Fastrack that will work with some postwar operating cars like the 3424 and 7914. Even the milkcar can’t be used because the Fastrack will not accept it without cutting off the tabs.

21 08 2014

Thank you Lionel for listening to us, I look forward to using my Android device!

10 12 2014
Thomas Broderick

I need help. My sensor track is not working properly. What could I be doing wrong? Any ideas? First, when I press the SensorTrack Record button the Program LED does not blink slowly – does not light at all. What happens is the Record button blinks until the locomotive goes over it then it goes to solid red. But the recording last only about 2 minutes. The locomotive’s bell rings twice – end of recording. The solid red light goes off.

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