I'm not sure why anyone is surprised by the no sound and smoke situation. Lionelacknowledged this when they did the "soft" announcement at the TCA Museum during York week.
The adding of sound in a car is new, but I can't imagine anyone legitimately thought Lionel was going to change their mind and decide it was possible to put sound in the engines themselves when they said it would not happen only less than a month ago.
I may go for a set of the 2 main engines and a few cars. We'll see. The only negative with the adding of sounds in the car, is now one will not be interior detailed, since it obviously has to hide the electronics.
A big part of the attraction to items like this for me (Heritage Series - BFOC, John Bull, etc.) is the details on the pieces. Having one look out of place due to the sound electronics being hidden inside is a compromise I'll have to think about.