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The only thing that is likely to get MTH's attention is this: if we simply stop buying their products. We are essentially being forced to use a phone or tablet if we want to run DCS. If the orders start to dwindle and they start choking on their inventory, my guess is they would find a way to continue producing a designated remote. Someone once told me that men are just little boys with money; as long as that money keeps flowing to MTH, they have zero incentive to listen to what anyone says.

Its an interesting idea but you are making an assumption that MTH (or what ever is left of MTH) can make a remote, they just don't want to. I think it is far more likely that this much reduced "MTH" can't make a remote because they no longer can make or support them.  So buying or not buying their locomotives will not sway them one way or another on the remotes.  You can't persuade them to do what they are incapable of doing.

@MartyE posted:

You sure about that?  Because I’m not.

You should be sure that Lionel will support it. There is absolutely NO evidence they won't support remotes. As Landsteiner noted, " Lionel has the additional advantage that they are trying to remain in business as an ongoing full train line concern."

Lionel and MTH are in two very different places now. Lionel is remaining a full line Train Company, with a real hand held remotes ( 3 of them), twice a year catalogs and a full line of trains from S-scale, HO, traditional O gauge, Scooby Doo and Disney, and then all the way to O-72 scale Vision Line locomotives. MTH has shrunk, sold off much of their tooling and building, they no longer offer a remote and will no longer offer any traditional catalogs. MTH and Lionel are no longer peers in the market place. So what happens to MTH does not mean it will also happen to Lionel.

The hobby will be OK.

@H1000 posted:

Where is the "BOTH / EITHER" option for question 1?

The new WTIU does work with the DCS remote, just not wirelessly.

None of my friends want to be "plugged in" to run trains. Of our 2 rail friends most went with NCE and a few Digitrax, all but 1 avoided Lenz because they don't have a true wireless remote and he now regrets it.

IIRC being "Corded" to one TIU eliminates the ability to run in multiple TIU's "Super" mode correct?

In addition to the parts issue, I wonder if the DCS developers aren't hoping to attract a younger crowd to the hobby; they're more likely accustomed to blue tooth and iPhones than most of us are. But, if that's the case, I question the logic. If the papers are to be believed, most are saddled with debt, have little disposable income, and probably have little or no interest in model trains.

As for myself, I have both DCS and Legacy, but with only one PS 3 locomotive (my PS 2 bi-polar won't fit through the lift bridge), I think I will keep the DCS, but keep my eyes open for a Lionel replacement for the MTH SW-1.

You should be sure that Lionel will support it. There is absolutely NO evidence they won't support remotes. As Landsteiner noted, " Lionel has the additional advantage that they are trying to remain in business as an ongoing full train line concern."

Lionel and MTH are in two very different places now. Lionel is remaining a full line Train Company, with a real hand held remotes ( 3 of them), twice a year catalogs and a full line of trains from S-scale, HO, traditional O gauge, Scooby Doo and Disney, and then all the way to O-72 scale Vision Line locomotives. MTH has shrunk, sold off much of their tooling and building, they no longer offer a remote and will no longer offer any traditional catalogs. MTH and Lionel are no longer peers in the market place. So what happens to MTH does not mean it will also happen to Lionel.

The hobby will be OK.

No one is questioning the hobby, and no one is questioning the solvency (currently) of Lionel either.  The fact that Atlas and ScaleTrains.com bought up parts of MTH is promising for the industry overall IMHO.

The electronics market is changing though, in that things are consolidating and there is more vertical integration in tech products.  Look at Apple with their custom silicon in the iPhone and soon their Macs too.  What this means is there less “general purpose” processors to pick from.  

And it’s not that there are none, but if a small company like the former MTH or Lionel picks a platform to build out quite a technically complicated system like Legacy or DCS, and that platform loses industry support, well—it can be quite expensive to switch to something else lock stock and barrel.  One thing’s for certain, they aren’t going to roll their own silicon like Apple, Microsoft, or FANG.

There might even come a time when through-hole products are sort of a “well here’s what’s left” sort of situation, because let’s face it, we eat the table scraps of whatever is left over from the big tech players.  If they don’t need the parts, and no one is requesting them in large numbers, the manufacturers aren’t going to make them.  Take a look at a computer motherboard from the mid 80s, the late 90s, and then today’s and the differences are stark.

Last edited by rplst8

"One thing’s for certain, they aren’t going to roll their own silicon like Apple, Microsoft, or FANG."

I'm pretty certain Lionel didn't roll their own for LionChief, LionChief+, etc.  They likely used off the shelf technology from the radio control car/airplane/drone industry.  Drones aren't enormously different from trains and that's a robust pipeline of OEM remote control technology from what I can see.  What is interesting and revealing is that MTH developed essentially one system over the last quarter century and tweaked that system. Lionel has developed TMCC, Legacy, LC, LC+ and LC +2.0.  And they make remotes that cost $40, not $150, as well as the high priced spread.  If Lionel can do it and enclose a remote in every set, why couldn't MTH have done something similar? The answer is they chose not to, for whatever reasons, and perhaps now they do not have the resources/motivation to do so.

But predicting that what happened to MTH is going to happen to Lionel is taking ouija board reliance to an unwarranted level .  That's not the way things have turned out previously,  and there's no reason the future of Lionel has to recapitulate that of MTH.  One of the things some folks thought was a strength of MTH, the reliance on one passionate and committed leader has turned out to be a long term weakness. One of the things some folks thought was a weakness of Lionel, the corporate entity, turns out to be a long term strength.  They don't rely on a sole proprietor to keep the show going.

Way back during one of the OGR York show-and-tell gatherings, when MTH first raised the topic of having to hunt down supplies of discontinued electronic components necessary for DCS remotes, after the presentation broke up, I went over to the Lionel booth and asked one of the higher-ups present whether or not Legacy was staring at that same potential problem. The answer was "Yes". Owing to a different architecture, their chicken has yet to come to roost, but as has been pointed out by those with actual experience sourcing electronic parts, that day will come eventually. Nobody will know when that is, until the manufacturer of some necessary component announces it's EOL.

---PCJ

Last edited by RailRide
@RailRide posted:

Way back during one of the OGR York show-and-tell gatherings, when MTH first raised the topic of having to hunt down supplies of discontinued electronic components necessary for DCS remotes, after the presentation broke up, I went over to the Lionel booth and asked one of the higher-ups present whether or not Legacy was staring at that same potential problem. The answer was "Yes". Owing to a different architecture, their chicken has yet to come to roost, but as has been pointed out by those with actual experience sourcing electronic parts, that day will come eventually. Nobody will know when that is, until the manufacturer of some necessary component announces it's EOL.

---PCJ

I think your first sentence says it all: “way back during one of the OGR York shows..”

“way back” does not equal “Lionel is going to give up remotes too”

As someone pointed out, every Lionel ready to run train set has a hand held remote. On top of that, Lionel has two additional hand held remotes. Remotes at Lionel are not going away.

This is a current MTH problem, not a Lionel problem.

@Landsteiner posted:

I'm pretty certain Lionel didn't roll their own for LionChief, LionChief+, etc.  They likely used off the shelf technology from the radio control car/airplane/drone industry.  Drones aren't enormously different from trains and that's a robust pipeline of OEM remote control technology from what I can see.  What is interesting and revealing is that MTH developed essentially one system over the last quarter century and tweaked that system. Lionel has developed TMCC, Legacy, LC, LC+ and LC +2.0.  And they make remotes that cost $40, not $150, as well as the high priced spread.  If Lionel can do it and enclose a remote in every set, why couldn't MTH have done something similar? The answer is they chose not to, for whatever reasons, and perhaps now they do not have the resources/motivation to do so.

I never said they made their own processor or radio control parts.  Your proving my point though, that companies at the Lionel and MTH level that get into tech will be forced to go where the tech industry goes.  

But predicting that what happened to MTH is going to happen to Lionel is taking ouija board reliance to an unwarranted level .  That's not the way things have turned out previously,  and there's no reason the future of Lionel has to recapitulate that of MTH.  One of the things some folks thought was a strength of MTH, the reliance on one passionate and committed leader has turned out to be a long term weakness. One of the things some folks thought was a weakness of Lionel, the corporate entity, turns out to be a long term strength.  They don't rely on a sole proprietor to keep the show going.

It’s not just Lionel that I’m predicting for, but rather anyone who doesn’t have the market heft of the tech giants.  I’m not saying I like the way it’s going, or that I like the phone/tablet app more than the remote.  I’m saying that non-tech companies have no choice but to use commodity hardware—and the industry is moving on.

I want to thank those who stayed on topic or directed others to do the same.

I am keeping a running count.  I am in contact with someone (Who I shall NOT identify--who can make it happen)  who says another run is a possibility.  However, issues unrelated to production, business matters, etc., must pass.

This person added that: "I too believe the demand is there."  BUT, It would be valuable to know precisely the number of product.  This person requested I report the figures gathered.  Please do NOT NOT NOT launch into a treatise that I must read to figure out if the answer is "hidden" in a mass of text.  Just answer number of remotes and TIUs PLEASE

I respectfully request PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE that we stay on topic.  If another run would be made in the future,  How many TIU's and Remotes would you order?

Highly Respectfully,

This is a current MTH problem, not a Lionel problem.

It is a past MTH problem, they’ve already moved past the remote, it’s a future Lionel problem because they either need to redesign, retool, and produce another hardware remote or use software and the phone manufacturers to do it for them.

Don’t get me wrong I prefer the remote to a smart device any day but I personally see a day without a Legacy hardware remote. If Lionel goes in that direction people will still buy their trains just like they’re scooping up the “last” runs of MTH products.

As everyone pointed out, none of us have a crystal ball so at this point it’s wait and see. Maybe you’re right. ICab certainly wasn’t a big hit but then again Lionel was and is still selling Legacy.

I'd be in for 1 TIU and 2 remotes.

Trying to stay on topic here. I'm 56, so technically among the youngest of the baby boom generation, and would love to be able to squeeze at least 15 and, ideally, 20-25 good years out of my investment in 6 DCS engines.  These are all recent purchases as I have more TMCC, some upgrades with ERR, and even an LC+ engine on my roster. No issue moving back to LC+2 if for new purchases in the future, but I'm happy to contribute to the cause of keeping DCS viable.

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