I don't know if this qualifies, but I remember as a kid in the 1980s having a controller which talked to little circuit boards onboard the trains themselves, allowing multiple trains to be independently controlled on the same track. I can't remember the name of that product, but I do remember it was a cheaper alternative to the Hornby Zero 1 system (Wikipedia entry). That system was replaced by a digital one, Digital Command Control in the 1990s, which according to Wikipedia was an open standard!
I seem to remember that you could have multiple controllers connected to the same piece of track, in fact the controllers could be bolted together for just this application, to my mind taking this even closer to the patent.
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