Pre-order just came in this afternoon from Charles Ro...
Lionel AC-12 Cab Forward #4294 from the 2021v2 catalog. Overall, very pleased with this engine! I debated ordering this or hunting for one from the 2014 release, and in the end, I'm glad I went with the new release.
Very short list of two small negatives, so I'll go ahead and knock them out...
1. The whistle steam still blows when blowing the two horns. I thought I heard that it was supposed to disable when switching to the horns.
EDIT: PROBLEM FIXED. 2. The engine does not remember which horn/whistle selection it had when cycling power.
Those aside, the list of positives are much longer...
1. Same tooling as last release, as well as the original TMCC release, which is excellent and definitely one of Lionel's best efforts. A really beautiful model. Very nice satin paint finish, too.
2. No QC issues! No loose pieces in the box or any problems, cosmetic or mechanical, at all. Excellent fit and finish the engine over. I did get it double-boxed from Charlie Ro's - I don't trust the Lionel shipping sleeve to be handled by the carrier without incurring any damage. For a $2k engine (MSRP at least), $25 to double-box was obvious insurance in my view.
3. The two sets of drivers come out of sync from the factory. A nice touch for realism and saves having to do it myself!
4. Excellent sounds - I love the two tones of six chime whistles and especially the new crew talk and random dialog.
5. The "drift chuff" sound effect is super cool and is probably the biggest feature setting this release apart from the last release, for my taste.
All-in-all, I'm very happy with this engine, despite the two issues mentioned, and would definitely recommend if you're on the fence! Don't think these will last long.