Trains on our layout are able to run using the Lionel Train Master Cab Control system (TMCC), Lionel Legacy, and Mike's Train House (MTH) Digitral Command System (DCS), simultaneously and on the same tracks. The trains are controlled either by handheld remote controls or smartphones with WiFi apps, enabling club members to walk around the layout and follow their train. We use contant 18-volt AC "bricks" to power the tracks instead of transformers. Rollers under the locomotives pick up the power from the middle rail.
The Lionel TMCC and Legacy Command Base systems receive informatiion from the Remote Control and send analog signals through the outer two rails of the tracks to control the engines. However, the Legacy Command Base remembers information about the layout enabling the Cab-2 Remote Controller to display road names and engine numbers on the LED screen. From either an iCab App in a smartphone or a Cab handheld remote the Lionel TMCC or Legacy system signals go to the TMCC or Legacy base and then to the locomotive.
With the MTH DCS system, commands such as speed, direction and sounds are sent as radio signals from the handheld remote to a Track Interfact Unit (TIU) that translates those signals into digital information that is sent through the center rail and picked uip by a receiver in the appropriate locomotive. For example, it tells that locomotive to go 37 scale miles per hour, blow the whistle, smoke more heavily, or play crew sounds. DCS equipped locomotives can also send signal back to the handheld remote to let the operator know what its doing.