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Choosing a command system

By Bob Keller | June 21, 2022

Learn about the control systems from Lionel, MTH, and Williams by Bachmann

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A LionChief set power supply with FasTrack terminal section

When choosing a command system, you may encounter starter sets from three current train makers: Lionel, MTH, and Williams by Bachmann.

The Bachmann sets have conventionally controlled locomotives and are operated by a traditional power supply, where speed is manipulated with a dial or lever raising or lowering track power.

A LionChief set power supply with FasTrack terminal section
Wiring the LionChief set is a simple matter of plugging the 54-watt power supply into an electrical outlet and plugging its attached cord into the included FasTrack terminal section. The handheld remote requires three AAA batteries and controls speed, direction, horn, bell, and special announcements.

Lionel LionChief sets feature locomotives that operate at a steady 18 volts with the LionChief, TrainMaster, or Legacy command-control systems. Sets include a handheld remote control for the set’s LionChief locomotive. LionChief Plus sets do this as well and offer the additional feature of running with conventional variable-voltage transformer control.

All MTH starter sets come with locomotives that can be operated either conventionally or at 18 volts with the firm’s ProtoSound command system and a wireless remote DCS control system.

Model railroading can be a great way for generations to interact or simply let you take a break from the stress of daily life. With the exceptions of a few basics like curve diameters and power supplies, there are hardly any rules.

Spend as little or as much as you want, decorate as little or as completely as you’d like, and run the trains you favor. So, if you are new to the hobby or returning after a hiatus, the water is fine, jump right on in!

Learn more

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