LUGNET has neen buzzing with the news of two new LEGO Train sets which will be offered later this year (see this thread and this thread). I have known about the forthcoming IR trains for quite some time – close to 18 months I guess, maybe a bit longer. I am one of the Train people invited by Jake McKee to provide feedback to LEGO regarding some of the things they had in the works for Trains (the others being Steve Barie, Huw Millington, Ben Fleskes, and Holger Matthes).
When the news leaked to LUGNET we (the feedback group) found ourselves in an awkward position. We couldn’t comment on the new trains because we were under NDA! We have seen several pictures of the trains recently and unfortunately, haven’t been able to share them yet. I am hoping to get some nice images for ILTCO but to date, have only been able to get one.
I have mixed feelings on the new trains. The prospect of adding IR control to trains is very intriguing but I feel it comes at to high of a cost. The loss of powered rails and the reliance on batteries for power is, IMNSHO, a huge mistake. I believe the primary reason LEGO Trains don’t sell wel is because they are so hard to buy, not because there is anything wrong with them functionally. But, it appears that LEGO feels the market being served by Play Mobile is one they can go after and make money in. I am skeptical. I spoke with one of the specialized retailers near where I live who carries a large line of Play Mobile. He told me he doesn’t sell but 2-3 Play Mobile RC Trains in a year.
18 months ago I wrote a 10 page long document which outlined my feedback on what was then the proposed IR train idea (although by the time the feedback group was exposed to it, it was pretty much of a done deal). I would really like to publish the document as I think many Train fans would find it interesting. I may be able to publush portions of it but probably not the whole thing. I am working with Jake to see what I can share.