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The Full Story

About Train Control Systems

Train Control Systems was conceptualized in the late 1980's by current president and CEO John W. Forsythe, a blue-collar electronics maintenance worker for Bethlehem Steel Co. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the time. While still working full-time, building a family of five, and building his own house, John dedicated what was left of his spare time to developing his vision of the future for model train control.

Originally inspired by "CTC-16," John began work on his own "train control system" using his college degree in electronics and self-taught knowledge of programming code. The prototype system featured a UART-based bi-directional communication system with tons of features such as up to 16 million addresses, braking, lighting functions, infrared wireless throttles, and much more! While decoders and command station were fully-functional, with features light-years ahead of its time in 1992, this system was never brought to market, and was superseded by the adoption of DCC by the NMRA in the mid 1990's. With this new emergence, the trajectory of development for TCS shifted to DCC decoders, with John working tirelessly until 1999 when TCS debuted the very first decoder, the "AEM7" - the predecessor to the DP2X. This decoder was the first in the industry to offer an 8-pin interface directly integrated into the decoder itself - an idea which no other manufacturer at the time was capable of or had ever considered.

This concept of critical thinking and problem solving lead TCS to continuing to be an industry leader in innovation and technology. For example, TCS was the first DCC decoder manufacturer to offer "Dither" motor control in the year 2000. Dither offered superior motor control for decoders, particularly at slow speeds. While initially laughed off as a joke by other manufacturers, the results were clear to customers: Glass-smooth motor control and precise low-speed creeping never before seen in any DCC decoder. This feature alone was one which set TCS apart from the competition in the early years, and cemented the company as a real contender in the DCC market, even as a late-comer.

Not to be outdone by anyone but ourselves, TCS later introduced "Back EMF" on the complete product line of decoders in July of 2007. Back EMF once again improved motor control of TCS decoders, and opened up the possibility for many new and exciting possibilities for features, many of which are staple features today such as the unparalleled realism of chuff intensity found in WOWSteam decoders and load-based auto-notching in WOWDiesel decoders.

Though the focus of the company had shifted towards products such as mobile decoders, WOWSound, and Keep Alive®, there continued to be a void in the TCS product line - a DCC command system. That was true until February of 2020, when TCS began shipping the UWT-100, a WiFi-based throttle with universal system compatibility. The UWT-100 was a massive success, followed soon thereafter by the UWT-50 in 2021. Then finally, after nearly forty years in the making, the CS-105 Command Station hit the market in October 2022. With the completion of the CS-105, the saga of dedication and hard work came to its long-anticipated climax.

But we're not done yet! We hope you will continue to join us on our journey into the future where endless possibility awaits, limited only by the depths of imagination!



Our mission has been and will continue to be a dedication to customer satisfaction. We aim to not only meet, but exceed the expectations of our customers for features and support.

TCS products are designed to be top-quality in every possible way, from form and fit to hardware performance and reliability. Every detail is scrutinized during the development and production process in order to guarantee a quality product.

Our products are all designed and manufactured in the USA with an eye for detail not found elsewhere but real locomotives.


TCS is dedicated to continuous improvement and the delivery of the cutting-edge technologies and techniques for our DCC products.

Complacency and content are not words found in our work ethic. Where other manufacturers may be comfortable offering the same products for years and years, we are working hard to deliver next-gen products and technologies.

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