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News Flash: Lionel Releases LEGACY protocol to Bring Hobbyists Together

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.

Read the full press release here.
Download the LEGACY command specification
Learn about the LCS Partner Program


Your layout has always been more than the sum of its parts. But until now, combining those parts into a complete system could be a challenge. Lionel’s new Layout Control System, or “LCS” fulfills the LEGACY promise of integrated locomotive and layout control.

LCS doesn’t replace your existing Lionel Legacy Control system. It adds to it! As you know, your Lionel Cab remote sends commands to your Legacy Base. In turn, the Base talks to locomotives using a one-way radio signal, we call “TrackLink.”

LCS works in parallel to TrackLink, adding a wired network of optional control modules. Spread across your layout, these LCS modules operate switches, lighting, accessories and track power blocks. LCS is bidirectional, meaning modules can send and receive commands. They can also send commands back through TrackLink.

And that’s where it all comes together. Since LCS can send commands back through TrackLink, LCS can operate your locomotives as well as your layout. For example, a module like SensorTrack™ can make a loco to blow a grade-crossing signal as it passes. And the LCS WiFi module connects devices like an Apple iPad™ to your layout so you can easily operate switches, locos and more.

Speaking of WiFi...

The two most common ways to run an LCS system are with Lionel hand-held remotes alone, or a combination of CAB remotes plus WiFi devices such as an Apple iPad™. The LCS WiFi module and Lionel’s free iPad LCS App are not required for LCS—they just make it more fun!

To run LCS using only CAB remotes, you need a Lionel command base. This could be either the Cab/Base-1L, or for full functionality, the LEGACY 990 base with Cab-2 remote. Then, when you’re ready to combine the power of your hand-held remotes with the flexibility of the LCS App, add the LCS WiFi module and download the free LCS App for your iPad™.


Now you’re ready for action. Pick features from the table on What Do I Need? to see which LCS modules are appropriate for your layout. Check out the full-blown LCS example system diagram, but remember—LCS is modular. Start with just the components you need today, knowing you can expand your LCS system as your layout grows.

Additional Resources

Click for an LCS Overview video