Plus DCC compatibility for the diesels is in the works. I think Lionel's waiting to see how well both the DCC and scale wheel diesels are accepted by the scale crowd before commiting to steam.
Are you kidding me? Wow! I never thought in a million years that Lionel would ever make any their locomotives more compatible with other operating systems. But I don't understand if DCC is in the works (if I understand you correctly that would mean it is not in the locomotive now) then how could Lionel be waiting to see how something is accepted if it isn't out there for people to try?
Well, if something is in the works, that means it's under development and not ready for prime time.
You are correct that it's not in the U33C's, or anything currently released. I would imagine that once a working DCC decoder is developed to Lionel's satifaction, it would become available in all the diesels released afterwards.
As I mentioned before, there has been some vocal resistance on Yahoo about Lionel entering the scale side of the market. There's is the feeling that among some that S Scale will be "toyified" and no longer be the last gallant stand of true scale model railroading. (OK, I'm being a little overly dramatic, but when my evil twin showed off the Challenger over there, it was a bloodly weekend that wound up with everybody being on moderation...)
You weren't the only person suprised. I never thought Lionel would make any ovetures to the S scale market.
Back in 2003 I talked with a rep who hinted at duplicating the Scale O stuff in S with scale wheels and Kadee pads, but that was several managment changes ago and I figured the Pacific's and Mikado's would be the only thing close to scale S from Lionel.
I think Lionel's off to a good, if not slow, start. Even if they decide the scale market isn't worth the bother (I hope not,) an expanded, well detailed Flyer line is good for S in general.
S Scale had a renaissance in the 1980's and 1990's. Hopefully, it will have a second renaissance in the 20-teens.