I didn't hear that Lionel decided to add the articulated sounds, that's pretty cool. I think I'd be tempted to just send back the sound boards for the upgrade to avoid potential shipping damage sending the whole locomotive.
Wish we all had that option. Must be nice to be in the in crowd. Oh well, it will work out I'm sure. I wish it was as easy as sending a board in, but I was not given the option. The packaging is good and it is a solid engine without a bunch of details hanging by a wire. Should be fine.