@Bryant Dunivan 111417 posted:
My thought is that they found the Verandah and Acela tooling and decided to go with the extra schemes.
I think that they have always had the Acela tooling and have been looking for an opportunity to "recycle" it in what is now Lionel's time-honored way. Veranda might be different, as I agitated with Lionel a few years back to reissue it in die cast, got nowhere, but I and others renewed efforts last year, which Lionel seems to have listened to. The Veranda was Korean-built, not Chinese, and that might have made the tooling more accessible.
I wonder where it will be built this time? I have not been totally happy with the Vietnamese products they've put out lately (small parts falling off, especially on the UP Excursion cars). But these have not included any engines.