Not sure about the switching power supplies, but sounds like some are using them successfully (above post). Those are definitely priced right! I do use a couple of the switching supplies for things other than running trains around here and have had no problems with any of them so far. The ones I have included a plastic cover for the 120 volt terminals, as said above, not completely isolated, but much better than being fully exposed. I located them so the 120 volts is not accessible without moving something to get to it.
I have had my eye on an NCE system for a few years now. Was planning to use a Lionel Powerhouse 180. Sometime ago I compared the PH-180s specs to the NCE 'Brutus' and didn't see much (if any) difference. But I already have a few of the PH-180s, no need for an extra purchase on my end. The new catalog price for PH-180s is now up to $150, they were half that (street price) when I got mine. Not sure about street prices now, but that it will still be a big difference between those and the switching power supplies.