We hope your 2020 is off to a great start. As you no doubt have heard, TCS has been navigating the Universal WiFi Throttle project through the maze of hurdles standing between us and throttle production. The past few months have been an absolute blur! There's a lot of excitement and energy around TCS these days, in no small part due to the fact that the final case samples have been approved, and the production phase is officially underway!
I pre-ordered a UWT-100 unit. When might I expect it to ship to me?
It's still a bit early to give a precise date. Between the processes of board production, assembly, printing, testing, packaging, and shipping, there is a fair amount of wiggle room. Some stages could take longer than expected, and some might progress more quickly. Our personal goal is to have throttles ready to take with us to the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the end of January, and to begin shipping pre-ordered UWT-100 units at the same time. You can expect them in your mailboxes come February.
I didn't pre-order but very much want to get my hands on one.
We are producing many more throttle units for our first production run than were pre-ordered. This means that we will have stock available directly from the TCS web store, and from dealers that are planning to carry the UWT-100. These throttles will be available for sale once pre-order throttle units are dispatched from TCS.
We are very excited to finish this project and release the UWT-100 throttle units. TCS has received a lot of interest and helpful feedback from the model railroading community so far, and we've learned some hard lessons along the way that have grown us as individuals and as a company. Thank you for your continued patience - the production phase is on!
Stephen - Marketing Director, TCS
2-6-2T Class 10 Trench Engine
Featuring New DCC WOWSound® Chuffinity™ Technology
Quickly created narrow gauge railroads played a crucial role in bringing food, ammunition, and construction material to entrenched troops and carrying away injured soldiers from the Western Front in World War I. The Class 10 Trench 2-6-2T was one of the engines that saw service with the U.S. Army in France. When the war ended, the victorious U.S. troops turned over all the railways and equipment to the French, who adapted them to agricultural use. Bachmann’s DCC WOWSound®-equipped model is the first ever to feature Chuffinity™ technology. Featuring a ten-fold increase in the number of chuff sounds over previous WOWSteam offerings, Chuffinity™ creates amazingly diverse and realistic sounds. Coupled with intelligent load and grade sensing, chuffs will vary in character, volume, and intensity in prototypical fashion. Chuffinity™ is just part of this Trench engine-specific WOWSound® steam locomotive sound package that also features depot background and battleground sounds. Bachmann’s new DCC sound-equipped Trench engine will put you in the middle of all the action of the Great War!
Contact your local dealer or look for them wherever you buy your trains!
Despite the final leg of our throttle production being held up by our injection molding process, we have been making great strides on many other throttle-related things here at TCS.
The most exciting one is the introduction of the TCS DEPOT.
The DEPOT (Desktop Engineering Programming and Operations Tool) is a comprehensive software programming tool from TCS. As you might have gathered from the name, this is a one-stop solution for TCS decoders, throttles, and other trackside devices. Once the DEPOT is downloaded to a user's computer, it can communicate with your layout, throttles, and decoders via WiFi or USB connections, in the same way as JMRI and other model railroad software applications.
It might not look like much right now, and that's intentional. Currently, the tool can update software in UWT-100 Universal WiFi Throttle units. We're making our first beta version of the tool available to our testers and anyone else that is interested in taking a look. As we continue to develop and add to our feature set, the tool will expand and users will be able to do more with their throttles, decoders and more. You can download a copy for yourself (Windows systems only - Windows 8 or better) on our DEPOT page.
A new Behind-the-scenes recording trip video is available! In May of 2019, TCS visited SEPTA's 69th Street Transportation Center to record the Norristown High-Speed Line N5 car. The N5 was produced by Asea Brown Boveri (ABB Traction) for use on the interurban R100 (now Norristown) Line. Units were delivered in 1993 and continue to operate to this day.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is Philadelphia's regional public transportation network that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
SEPTA is currently considering an expansion of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia, PA to serve the multitude of businesses and shopping destinations there. You can learn more about the proposal and project here.
Check out other interesting videos on our Videos page.
Throughout October, TCS has taken multiple trips to the Strasburg Railroad, oldest continuously operating railroad in the US. N&W J Class steam locomotive 611 has been a “celebrity guest” at Strasburg for the last month or so, and we’ve been in the process of recording the engine for our WOWSound decoders.
On our most recent trip, we had an amazing steam experience that I feel is worth talking about. The crew set up our recording gear at the northern terminus of the Strasburg line, near the runarounds and switching spurs. On this particular day, there was a guest operator outing where regular folks paid to take the controls of the various steam locomotives and drive or fire them. There were three locomotives under steam and moving between trains at the junction - all at the same time. Where else could you experience this?
We stood between the spurs and watched and listened as these three iron horses worked around us, passing each other again and again. Each one traveled within 20 yards of us at times - it was a steam enthusiasts’ paradise! The sights and sounds were overwhelming, and very much timeless. It could have been a scene directly from the mid 1940s that we were lucky enough to experience in 2019.
This event was not open to the public, so I’d imagine that there were relatively few folks who actually got to see these three steam locomotives in action together. It was quite a rare experience and one that I will cherish for a long time.