I will say what Lionel has done with the LC sets is pretty exciting too. The remote was a big draw for the kids as well but Thomas got them to the table.
I can say this for the LC set, it ran non stop for 2 days with kids running full speed forward, reverse, and forward again. The remote was dropped 4 or 5 times to a hard tile floor and the set just kept on running. I was very impressed.