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Lionel Trains Releases Legacy Protocol to Bring Hobbyists Together

Lionel Trains Releases Legacy Protocol to Bring Hobbyists Together

Manufacturer-Agnostic System Integrates Mobile Devices, Opens Access to Developers

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 The WiFi specification is available through the LCS Partner program.

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