You make a lot of excellent points in your thoughtful post. There is one area, however, in which I respectfully disagree. When a manufacturer like Lionel produces a new engine that is available in numerous road names, in addition to special runs, and one of those engines fails right out of the box because of a motherboard failure (or any other major defect), it is unconscionable that it would not produce replacements for the defective board. I had exactly that issue recently regarding a Legacy engine.
Allegheny was spot on in his post regarding this issue. And it is simply not realistic to think that customers are going to buy two engines as an insurance policy in the event one fails. It's never going to happen unless perhaps someone is super wealthy.