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I own one of the FlyerChief Polar Express sets. It currently runs via remote or bluetooth on DC 2 rail FasTrack. I also have a Legacy NS SD70ACe, and an older Southern GP9.
Question 1: If I get a Legacy Command set and a proper transformer, can I run the Legacy SD on the track I currently own?
Question 2: Is there any way to run the FlyerChief via the Legacy remote?
Question 3: Could I run my Southern Geep with the other 2 at the same time?
Question 4: How difficult would it be to outfit the Southern Geep to run via Command (Legacy or FlyerChief)?

I know, lots of questions. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around FlyerChief vs. Legacy, and the best way to control the locos that I own. I'm sure it would be easier to purchase all Flyerchief, or Legacy, or conventional. It's just that I am quite partial to these locos (sentimentality and such). Thanks in advance for any advice/help.

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Both Legacy and FlyerChief operate with constant voltage on the track. The Legacy engine ignores the FlyerChief commands and vice versa. Both can run on the same track in command mode independently responding only to their own signals.

All the engines you have will work in conventional mode with a transformer, but each will run in response to the track voltage, not independently.

The difficulty of converting a Lionel AF Geep depends on which motor it has. All recent production Lionel AF use DC can motors. I send mine to a professional to convert but many of the more skilled operators here do it themselves. Interoperability of Legacy and FlyerChief with the same remote is not currently possible in S gauge although it can be done in O gauge using Bluetooth. The reason is that the newer FlyerChief engines have Bluetooth but no S gauge Legacy engines have Bluetooth. Lionel made a decision to include DCC capability in S gauge rather than Bluetooth. In any event any engine you convert will be TMCC which needs a Legacy controller (or a conventional transformer), there is no Bluetooth option with TMCC.

Both Legacy/TMCC and FlyerChief can be run from an iPhone using an App, but they are separate apps so you need to toggle between them. In S gauge this requires an LCS WiFi module for pairing with the iPhones.

Tom -- I am curious about your last paragraph.  I have the new Flyerchief Berk that has bluetooth capability and I run it from the LionChief app on my iPhone (great fun).  I also have the Mikado and Pacific that Flyonel issued in the early aughts - which I think are TMCC.  So these can be run from some sort of bluetooth app - or is it a WiFi app(?) - that would let me control them from my iPhone or iPad??  Full functionality?  That'd be cool...

In terms of the OP question, there is also a control board made by Bluerail.  Some folks here on OGR have used it for converting to pure battery power (i.e., "dead rail"), but if I understand it, these boards can also be used with track power, but they allow control via bluetooth.  What I don't remember off the top is whether these boards are installed in place of other control systems like TMCC or Legacy or whether they have some sort of complementary interaction.  Obviously for an older Flyer loco, there isn't anything to replace - other than the open frame motor with a DC can motor.  In fact, I just checked their website, here; and they indeed do have track power boards that are pretty cheap -- $70 each or two for $130.  If they would work for a couple of my older Flyer locos, I might just pop for a couple of them and check 'em out.  The bluetooth control app mounts on an iPhone.  Hmmmm...


The Light Pacific's and Mikado's from 2005 through about 2009 are TMCC. They do not have Bluetooth. Any Legacy or TMCC engine can be run using the iCab app on an iPhone. The iCab app costs $50, it is a different app than the one for FlyerChief engines. That is why I made the comment about having to toggle between two apps to run both kinds of engines at the same time. This app works through the Legacy 990 base and LCS WiFi module. It is not direct to the engine like the FlyerChief Bluetooth Berk.

I have read about Bluerail but do not use it. It seems to be evolving with continued development. Originally it required removing the Legacy system, I am not sure if that is still true.

Tom - first, thanks for the above.  I did some more poking about on the Bluerail site(s) and am confused about what they do and don't offer, besides the controller that patches in to the DCC systems and the dead rail stuff.  So my previous link and remarks may not be valid (I may be a victim of a quick Google search that turned up a link to a site that's OBE - not clear to me why its useful to a product seller to not take down an outdated site...).  I've sent them an email and I'll let you (anyone interested) know what I find out.

If your Southern GP has a can motor, it might be a candidate for a TMCC mini commander board. Removal of the current PCB  and installation of the mini cmdr would give you direction and lighting via the handheld Legacy controller and that's about it.  Sound would require the addition of a TMCC railsounds board and speaker and it is a little tight in that shell.

Thanks to all for responding!

Tom, I honestly don't know enough about motors (yet) to tell you what the Geep is running, but here is a diagram from Lionel:
A/F GP-7-9-20 Units - Pictorial Diagram
Of course, I'm an Android user, though I have the LionChief app that will run the Polar Express unit. I haven't tried the Legacy unit yet.

Rich, I'll look up the Blue Rail info, thank you!

All, I spoke with a friend that works for Lionel. He spoke to Dave Olson about the Geep, and he replied:
"We make the GP in FlyerChief, so he could get a LCP1 board from service and make it FlyerChief like his Polar Express engine. If he wants TMCC, he would need to upgrade the engine with Electric Rail Road boards. I would suggest a cruise commander M. and if he wanted sounds, he would need the sound commander, though I don’t know if it’ll all fit in such a small engine."

So that's another option, I suppose. I just don't know enough yet about rigging the setup, but I'm reading daily.

The attached drawings are for the DC can motor engines, hopefully that is what you have.

The iCab app is iPhone only, Lionel has never released an Android version. Fitting TMCC, Cruise, Railsounds and a speaker in the Geep can be done but it requires some custom wok. Those boards have never been miniaturized. It would be easier and not much more money to park the old Geep and buy a new FlyerChief Geep.

Having muddied the water with my previous comment about Bluerail (and my confusion...), I think I can clarify it a bit as I did get an email response from Blue rail.  Here's the link he sent me: which shows several boards.  If you want to supply AC track power, then there is a 2 amp board with an AC to DC converter included, for $105.  There's also a 5 amp board for $140. You select between DCC and not DCC with a jumper.  In the latter case, it looks to me like the board then provides motor control (speed and direction) and some capability for controlling lights.  The boards talk to a bluetooth-based control app that can be used on an iPhone/iPad (no mention of an android device). It does look to me like there are some speed control setting parameters that can be adjusted via some settings (independent of using DCC I think).  Again, my read of the website leaves me a bit uncertain.

I note that these boards are capable of being used with a DCC system, so I guess one could think about upgrading later.  I'm no expert on DCC.

There have been several recent (and learned) discussions about using bluerail/deadrail systems here on OGR, e.g.:

- Rich

The Southern GP is a can motor. On car Tuvesons' site there is a link to a TMCC installed Flyonel SD9. The SD9 is the same body and chassis as a GP. The TMCC board displayed in the photos is the old style TMCC board which was on the large side. The newer mini commander would probably be a much easier fit along with the newer railsounds board if required and there is no programming switch needed.  Machining is probably limited to a few drill and taps for screws to anchor the brackets made to support the PCBs. It is better left to the experts to install and that's not free. PCB costs are around $170 for both plus labor. This would allow you to operate the TMCC locos with the legacy controller.

Another option is to purchase a newer Flyerchief GP and install the Southern shell. There will need to be some modifications as the mounting points are probably different. The Flyerchief motor mounting is different and the engine is a better puller than the horizontal can style as in the Southern. Cost would probably be in the ballpark as a TMCC install.  This would allow you to operate the loco with the Flyerchief remote or whatever Flyerchief is compatible with.

Another option is to use a Lionel Powermaster in conjunction with the Legacy system. This will enable you to utilize a conventional engine on the same track as a Legacy engine but not at the same time. A switch on the Powermaster allows you to control both via the hand held controller although not at  the same time. If the layout is single train only, one powermaster is required. Multiple loops requite multiple Powermasters.  Powermasters are available under $100.

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