More info from LEGO about the future of LEGO Trains [News]

Following up on their announcement a couple months ago, the LEGO Group has asked Ambassadors to pass this message along to all you LEGO Train fans out there:

Dear all,

As promised in the first communication from the 1st of October we, are informing you of decisions regarding the development of the new LEGO Power Functions train system. Using all the valuable feedback we received from the AFOL community, we have now reached some basic decisions about the scope of the future train system.

We are still working on the details of the new Power Functions train system; however, there are certain features that have been decided. Some of these features are a new designed remote control with speed regulator, a new size rechargeable battery box with a built in speed regulator and finally we are exploring and seriously considering new track geometries thanks to the use of plastic rails. As you know, this has been one of the most requested features from the AFOL community over the years.

In late April 2007 we arranged a workshop for a group of 5 AFOLs involved in the LEGO train community, and they worked on some of the possible solutions and defined the basic needs for a new LEGO Power Functions train system along with the LEGO design and engineering team. In this workshop it became clear what sort of elements and features to include in the new train system. The result of this workshop was the design of prototype elements. Detailed decisions about the specifications of the elements are still in discussion and will be for the next couple of months.

We wish to continue the cooperation with the AFOL community in the development of the Power Functions train system and in late November we had another workshop where we built on the experiences from the first workshop. In the November workshop there were ten fans from around the world: Denmark, USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and United Kingdom. The idea was that the AFOLs and the LEGO team would build with the prototypes in order to determine what additional features to include, what to add to the concept and, finally refining it. This ensures that the new Power Functions train system gets input from the AFOL community and also ensures the features are as close as possible to what is requested by the AFOL community.

However, please keep in mind that the new train system first and foremost should be suitable for the use of children, and therefore it is consequently being tested by children as well as AFOLs. There is an established budget for the initial development so while we would like to address all needs that are expressed; there is a high likelihood that we will be unable to address all needs.

You will be updated on the results of the workshop and the continued development of the train system early in 2008. We continue to value and appreciate your feedback and suggestions with regards to this project.

Richard Stollery,
Head of LEGO Community Development

Feel free to comment here and I’ll pass along your thoughts to LEGO.

10 comments on “More info from LEGO about the future of LEGO Trains [News]

  1. Preda

    Well,this does not tell me that much…even though I love the train system we already have and besides the fact that I don’t like that remote control stuff about trains,I never had any of them,but I was considering to get some trains for my collection.This might change my thoughts about Lego trains…but I guess I have to wait until they announce the new features,I hope that there will be a system that makes it possible to independently control more than just one train at a time on the same railtrack like it is possible with professional model railways,that would be damn awesome :)

  2. wunztwice

    My main concern in dealing with LEGO trains is where the power comes from.

    More succinctly, I like to know that I won’t have to recharge some battery pack 30 minutes into running them. This has always been the downfall of RC cars for me, and I don’t want to have to wait 4 hours to recharge a battery that lasts an 8th of that time.

    I have also never found rechargeable batteries that last as long as the old LEGO train motors that ran from the track. This means even LESS value for what I am buying.

    Just some thoughts.

  3. David

    I agree, I wish Lego would release a system that I can just plug into the wall and have it work that way. What is wrong with wires? Are people going to be using the train away from outlets?

    Also I like the way trains move now, where you move the little gage back and forth. I do not want to hit a button to move the speed faster and faster.

  4. eric grant

    My understanding about why they won’t do a plug-in system (anymore) is that in North America, anything that plugs in has to be marked as “for 8 years and older” and that cuts down on the huge part of their market.

  5. David

    Well couldn’t they make a remote that could be wireless, but if the batteries die they can have a wire remote to power the train. That way it could be ages 5 and up and still be wired and wireless.

    Of course the train itself would be wireless and batteries, but that’s not shocking. Plastic track is cheaper and it makes sense. How long do the RC trains last and how long do 4.5V last?

  6. Pingback: The Brothers Brick - LEGO Blog » Blog Archive » Save RC trains! Oh wait…

  7. Brent

    Anyone know if the new Power Functions will have a version of the Holiday or Hobby Train? I’ve wanted both, but I can wait until later if there will be new versions…otherwise, I’ve got to get cracking on S@H.

  8. UltimateBricker

    “I think they are onsale for a reason, they want to get rid of the 9V stuff and start fresh in 2009.”

    Wow where’d you come up with that conclusion Sherlock?

  9. Kenny

    Its almost 2010 and I just received some power functions stuff from S@H. So far I like the stuff. I like the prices most of all they seem very reasonable. I also like the fact that the RC controllers are dual channel so that I can run lights independent of the speed. This was something that annoyed me about 9v trains. I had been using a separate battery box to keep my lights on at all speeds but this was not the ideal solution. I also like the fact that new lights are LED with low power draw. I haven’t purchased the rechargeable battery yet but if it is anything like my mind storm battery it will be nice to have hours of use and short recharge times. I look forward to the new models. I hope they have all kinds in the works.

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