The TCA Eastern Division's York Meet is one of the year's most spectacular events for model railroaders and manufacturers alike. We certainly enjoyed our time there last week, and managed to see all the latest news and reveals coming from Lionel's impressive booth.
If you couldn't make it out to the show or just want a recap of the great new products Lionel revealed this week, take a look at their recap below. It sure includes some big news and incredible trains!
News From York
This past week marked the 44th annual fall gathering for the TCA Eastern Division’s “York Meet.” Twice a year we and other manufacturers debut some of our new products at these events and this fall Lionel had several big announcements to make. So if you didn’t make it to York, or if you just didn’t get enough of the new stuff, here are our highlights:
Vision Big Boy
For those who have been waiting and wondering if there would be any more ground-breaking Vision Line products, as you can see we’ve been working on something BIG! Our new Vision Line Big Boy will be featured in the 2014 Signature Catalog but you can get a sneak peek right now. Like other Vision Line engines, this model brings never-before-seen features to the market.
For the Big Boy this includes a special dual-smoke stack which will mimic the dual chuffs from the Big Boy’s paired driver sets. In addition to the twin smoke units for the stack, the Big Boy also features whistle steam and a blowdown effect. That’s four smoke units in one boiler!
Also new on the Big Boy, an amazing depleting coal load effect. As the engine runs, the coal load slowly drops into the center of the tender just like the prototype. Even better, this effect is controlled through the LEGACY system and the speed of the coal depletion is based on how hard the engine is working. It may take 15 minutes – it may take 45 – it all depends on how hard you run your engine. You can keep tabs on the coal and water with the new sensor tracks as well. When the coal gets low, simply refill it. You’ll hear the sound of coal dropping into the tender as the load slowly piles back up.
Speaking of sounds, the Big Boy will have three speakers; two in the tender and one in the boiler. This will provide the most realistic sound quality and placement possible on the locomotive.
There will be many more features on these engines of course. Look for more details in the 2014 Signature Catalog and future updates here on our blog!
LionChief Plus Locomotives
While we know you all love to see how we’ll push the envelope with our new VISION features, we also recognize that the cost of this technology is more than many can spend to enjoy this hobby. Our new LionChief Plus locomotives offer exciting new technology at a much lower price point.
As the name implies, these locomotives use the LionChief Remote control system you’ve seen on our new Ready-to-Run sets, but with additional features. Just like the remote sets, these locomotives can be operated using the included remote control on any layout, whether it is powered by a wall-pack, conventional transformer, TMCC or LEGACY. Now with the flip of a switch, you can control the engine with your conventional transformer like any other conventional engine as well.
In addition to the conventional control option, these locomotives feature fan-driven smoke, amazing sound and a working electro-coupler! (The electro-coupler feature is only available when using the LionChief Remote control at this time.) We introduced five new models at York with prototypes on hand. These include the semi-scale Mikado, Hudson and Pacific and an RS-3 and GP-7. Each locomotive will be available in several roadnames and like the sets, each engine will have its own radio frequency so you can run multiple locomotives on the same track without interference.
Look for more information on this exciting new product as we get closer to release in 2014.
LCS Sensor Track and LCS Control System
With our display layout now updated with the new sensor tracks and the new LCS control modules, we also demonstrated the exciting possibilities soon to be available with both of these new technologies.
The Sensor Track will work with your LEGACY locomotives to activate a wide variety of features on the engine or on the layout. You can use the sensor track to report back fuel levels on the locomotive, automatically blow the whistle or horn, stop the train and many many more functions. There are 8 pre-programmed actions and you can even create your own for a virtually unlimited variety.
The Sensor Track is just one part of the inclusive Layout Control System that you can use to put all of the features of the layout at your fingertips. LCS is completely customizable to your needs. There are modules to control switches, accessories and power blocks. These modules will allow you to control your entire layout from not only your LEGACY cab but also up to 15 wireless devices with the addition of the optional Wi-Fi module.
We know there is a lot to take in and think about with LCS, so we’ll present more detailed features on all of the components here on the blog in the near future. For more information right now, check out our lcs site.
As exciting as the new trains are, they barely compare to the great Sensor Track features being shown off in the diagram above. It truly puts an unparalleled level of control right at your fingertips, and will make for some of the most dynamic and compelling layouts we've ever seen from Lionel railroaders.
And then there's the Vision Line Big Boy. It is a super train. Not only is it one of the biggest and most visually stunning model trains ever, it's also going to be loaded with tons of never-before-seen features. I love the "living" coal load that matches the engine's effort as it physically depletes. The four smoke units are impressive, and the pair of speakers will create an amazing level of sound quality and detail. This is an amazing piece.
These weren't the only reveals Lionel had at the show, but they were definitely the most exciting. We'll return with updates on even more trains to show off in our next recap of Lionel at the Fall 2013 York Meet.