In FlyerChief I purchased an Erie Berksire. When the Legacy versions were released I bought an Erie and a Nickle Plate. The Legacy engines are more detailed, larger set of sounds, 200 speed steps, and cost a lot more. Only worth buying the Legacy version if you run your layout using the Legacy control system.
That is a well made video. It reminded me of another difference between the FlyerChief and Legacy versions. The FlyerChief has 2 chuffs/revolution, just like the Gilbert steam engines. The 2 chuff versions sound ok at higher speeds. The Legacy versions with 4 chuffs/revolution, same as real engines, sound great at very low speeds and tend to act as a mental speed limiter. I run my Legacy engines between 20 and 50SMPH, unlike Gilbert engines that never run as low as 50SMPH.
Not sure if everyone noticed that the layout was built with GarGraves flex track and Gilbert turnouts. The flex track made for a nicely operating track system with smooth curves and natural easements.
The product number depends on which roadname and number you want. For example, the Pere Marquette is available in two road numbers. 44022 is #1225 and 44023 is #1223. Yes, the engine includes its own remote. It will also run conventional without the remote. It will also run from the LionChieff App on a cell phone and it has Bluetooth.
I found the coupler would not fire at 12.5V, otherwise the engine ran fine. I kept the track voltage at 14V for 100% reliable operation. I had the version 1 of the Berk. Maybe the version 2 has other differences beside the sound sets and BT.
When you begin using the engines regularly I think you will find the couplers are the first to stop working as the voltage is lowered. At 12.5V the couplers would not fire. At 13.5V they fired about 90% of the time and that 10% no response rate was annoying. At 14V everything works 100% of the time. I was looking for a lower voltage because of all the cars with incandescent bulbs on the layout.
44020 NP and 44023 Pere Marquette are each $289.99. 44021 NP and 44022 Pere Marquette are each $269.99. They were all $369.99 in the 2020 AF catalog. The only difference is the cab number. Perhaps there is more stock left of the numbers that are $20 less expensive.
There is a long history of complaints about Lionel quality, mostly by O gaugers. In the Lionel S gauge world there have been far fewer product issues. The Polar Express sets have one issue in 100% of the passenger cars. The wiring is too stiff, too short and not actually soldered to the truck pickup. With use, the wires pull loose and the car lighting does not work. The fix is well documented and requires nothing from Lionel. No other passenger cars have this problem. The issue with the Polar Express engine missing axle bearings seems related to when they were manufactured. Some are ok, some are not.
Another issue, design related, affects the second release of the Legacy SD70ACe diesels. The truck design was modified from the first release and the new trucks have axle springs that are too small of a gauge to pass current reliably. Carl Tuveson came up with a fix to replace the Lionel springs with thicker American Models springs. Carl modified two of my engines, this mostly solved the issue but not quite 100%. Looking at the trucks I decided to pack the spring pocket with a silver conductive grease. This must be done with great care because the insulators are less than 1mm thick and it is easy to bridge the insulators with the conductive grease creating a permanent short circuit. I did this to all of my new SD70's and they now run perfect.
All Lionel AF freight and passenger cars made prior to 2019 have wheel sets gauged 1/10" too narrow. If they are used on Gilbert track they run perfect. To use them on track with crossings and scale wing rails they must be regauged. Its easy, get a pair of snap ring pliers to spread the wheels until a dime just fits between them. With practice it takes about 10 seconds/axle. Beginning in 2019 the wheels are all correctly gauged.
The most pervasive repair issue in S gauge is the poor quality fan driven smoke units. With some operating time at least 50% have fan failures, about 10% have heater failures. The replacement is not hard and replacement units are readily available. The motors and electronics seem very reliable. Stock up on traction tires, seems like every week I need to replace a tire on one of my engines. I have about 50 TMCC/Legacy engines and pull long trains up grades which puts more stress on the rubber tires. Fortunately replacing the tires is easy.
The only issue with American Models engines is cracking gears in the gear towers on their diesels. The replacements are readily available but rebuilding the gear tower is tricky.
All said and considering the complexity of the modern engines, I feel the product is in good shape when delivered.
Buy a couple 5 digit Gilbert engines with the two position reverse units or any knuckle coupler diesel and it will be apparent Gilbert had more design and quality issues than the modern Lionel engines.
That engine needs more smoke fluid. The right way to initially fill it is 25 drops, let is soak in for 5 minutes, run it for 5 minutes then add 10 more drops. It will put out clouds of smoke. Any time it sits overnight or longer add 10 drops before running it. It will need more smoke fluid after 20 minutes of running, never let the wick get dry.
It is impressive how well the engine and cars track on that highly irregular track that is not fastened down.
The new Legacy Base3 will also run FlyerChief engines using a Cab2, or an iPhone or iPad paired with the Base3. This is a significant Legacy advancement, for the first time Legacy/TMCC and FlyerChief engines can be operated with the same remote. Lionel will be releasing a new Cab3 app as well.
It is nice that Lionel is bringing all their control systems into a common environment.