I'm not sure why you'd avoid them.  The Lionel IR link for their steam is very reliable, certainly not a major cause for concern.  Just because there is an occasional issue with a feature, that's hardly reason to avoid the product.  Using that logic, we wouldn't be buying any of the model train products!

Not to wander off - but Fora are made for that, in truth - I dislike the non-wire tethers as they marry you to a fixed-length drawbar, short of a more-bother-than-you-would-like cut/paste revision project. And almost all factory drawbars on 3RO steamers are too long to Olympic broad jump too long. Painful to see, sometimes. Yes, I know why they are unrealistically long, but for those of us with 072 curves and better, we could use some shorter, not-as-incorrect drawbars. A wire tether and a metal drawbar can allow you make this better with a drill and a bit. (Also, the MTH "wireless" tethers are not wireless - they just have flat, circuit board wires.)

Which brings me to this comment above:

"i like the lack of a thick "scale" WIRE coming from  the engine into the tender."

Steam locos can be connected to their tenders by all sorts of pipes, hoses, stokers, cables, and so forth. The traditional wire tether was a missed modeling opportunity, it seems to me. Its execution tended toward the clunky, though the slim Weaver and Williams types on their brass locos was quite unobtrusive.

Wire tethers are also no mystery to understand or fix.

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