I'm new at this and have a modest 4x8 layout and 4 trains.  All Lionel starter sets.  I'm so new I bought a new Lionel Legacy locomotive (it was on sale) with no way to operate it.    I thought it would come with a remote like the rest of my trains.  

I since learned I must have a legacy control thing to make it go.  To be honest the power pak will cost more than my entire layout.  But its a nice train and I'd like to have it in operation, so I'll go ahead and buy the controller.  My question is will this controller talk to my starter trains?  


Original Post

Answer to your questions depends on providing us more information.  Who manufactured your "starter" sets and what electronics does each engine possess?  If you can find it, it might be easier to just provide each engine's Product Number.

If I had to answer based on the data you provided, I would say probably not.

The other thing you should be aware of is that "legacy controller" package (about $350.00) does not include an actual power-pack.  You will have to buy another transformer or power supply, probably costing minimally between $100 and $200.


Last edited by PRR1950

I believe all legacy engines can run conventional with just a transformer. Also, you didn’t give a product number... by any chance does the engine have Bluetooth??? If so, you can download the LionChief app and run it from a smartphone or tablet (IOS - don’t know about Android).

The other issue is the type of power supply you are currently using.  Legacy engines need an AC power supply.  Lionel LC and LC+ engines operate with either an AC or DC power source.  

You will begin to realize how much cash it takes to have a really nice layout with trains to match. I guess that's why you see so many more folks in H.O........Cheaper and less space needed. But nothing can compare to the big beautiful O gauge trains...Enjoy your new engine!

What is the Lionel product number? @Apples55 is correct, if it has bluetooth then you just need a smart phone or tablet and you are good to go.

The Cab 1L system would be your best bet. You can access most of the features of your Legacy engine . Its easier to operate and less expensive than the full blown Legacy. Shop around for the best price. The Cab 1L will open up a whole new world for you and you can even pick up older less expensive TMCC engines and run them too. Welcome to the joy of O guage railroading. Have fun.


All of my trains are Lionel.  They are LionChiefs that come in the new Lionel start sets.   I have 4 sets I bought over the months.  I'm not a guy who worries about the details, I know most look at my trains as toys, but its what I like, and they do all that I'm interested in.  Its just a 4x8 layout that is powered by whatever came in the box.  They're not much, but I like them and enjoy watching them.

My new Lionel is a CSX is a SD60M.  It doesn't have Bluetooth.  I just assumed all Legacy stuff had their own remote and Bluetooth, for the money they cost.  Learned a hard lesson.  It will power up if I put it on the track, but I have no way to talk to it, it just sits there with the lights on 

I'm not sure what to do now.  Content with my toy locomotives, I didn't plan on any Legacy equipment.  But I wanted a CSX, and the lionchief unit in the 2020 catalog, on a hunch, is not going to be delivered to well after Jan 2021.  I mean it takes a year when everything is normal, with this covid thing who knows.  So when I saw this CSX at a good price, I pulled the trigger.

I'm not even sure if I do get it powered up, it will run on my 4x8 layout, this locomotive looks a lot longer then my others.

If I do get the fancy controller will the power unit that came with my train set work it?

Thanks for any advice.

> You need to give the actual product number of the items so these guys can help you. Too many variations.

> What power supply are you trying to use, the product # ?


Is your SD60M the CSX #8703? or #8783?   While they are Legacy, neither of them has Bluetooth.

They both can be operated conventionally, from even a basic transformer.



Here goes - most Legacy from late 2017 to present are equipped with Bluetooth, so yours must be an earlier model - perhaps 6-84407(8) or earlier.

Lionel starter sets typically come with a DC power wall pack and I assume this is what you have and your Legacy engine will not run off this - so no.

1. You can run your Legacy CSX conventionally, with a standard AC transformer, but that will require you to upgrade your power system going to the track to an AC transformer that typically has bell, whistle and direction buttons. Your 4 starter sets will also run off AC power, so this is a viable alternative, although you will not be able to access all of Legacy features on your engine. An entry level AC transformer, such as a Lionel CW-80 or MTH Z-1000 should be available new for around $100-$120 and used for less.

2. You can purchase the Legacy #990 control system (the "fancy controller"), which will operate your CSX engine with full functionality, but costs new in the neighborhood of $350.00. You will also need to upgrade the power to an AC transformer, so it's not an inexpensive solution. However, it will give you the option in the future to expand and acquire other Legacy engines. You could also purchase an earlier version of Legacy, such as a Cab1L system which will cost slightly less and give you most but not all the Legacy features on your engine. The Legacy or Cab1L remote that comes with their systems will not operate your 4 starter sets. However, you can operate them both on the same track at the same time (with an AC transformer) by juggling remotes.

3. You can also purchase a Lionel universal remote which will run up to 3 of your starter sets and, at least get rid of a couple of remotes.

4. If your engine is one of the above model numbers, it is rated for O-36 curves and above, so if your layout has smaller diameter curves (such as O-31 or smaller) it may not get around the track. One of the desirable features of Legacy engines is that they generally have much more detail and a larger, more scale appearance and size than a Lionchief starter set.

It's too bad the seller didn't advise you about the system requirements for the Legacy engine.

As a last resort, you could always sell the Legacy engine and buy a Lionchief Plus CSX diesel engine that will run off DC power with your other starter sets and no need to upgrade or change anything.

Thanks Richie big help.  At least I know what I'm dealing with and all my options.   I'll let y'all know if I decide to sell this CSX unit, it is brand new and never been run.   By the way the number is 8783.  

@BamaRider posted:

Thanks Richie big help.  At least I know what I'm dealing with and all my options.   I'll let y'all know if I decide to sell this CSX unit, it is brand new and never been run.   By the way the number is 8783.  

Okay.   That was released in 2017.    If you have the manual, check page 6.  It explains conventional operations (i.e. no Legacy or TMCC gear)  Still need a transformer.

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