From the LEGO Group:
As promised in the second communication from the 6th of December last year, we will give you the latest information and decisions regarding the development of the new train system based on LEGO Power Functions.
We are still working on the final details and doing a lot of testing of the new Power Functions elements; however, we are again able to give you some more details.
First - we will not change the gauge of the rails so there is no need to be afraid that the L gauge will disappear.
On the rechargeable battery box we have been working to get the best compromise between size and power. It has been decided that we will use a powerful Lithium Polymer battery and the size of the box will be 4 studs by 8 studs long by 4 (bricks) high - this should fit in most trains. The already existing standard LEGO transformer will be used to recharge and be the power supply.
The existing Power Functions RC receiver already has integrated speed control. To enable the use of this we will make a newly designed RC handset with speed control capability.
All the above new train related Power Functions items as well as the current battery train motor (with cross axles and wheels) will be available separately through LEGO Shop@Home before the summer of 2009.
As you know we arranged a train workshop in November 2007 where ten AFOLs from around the world: Denmark, USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands Germany, and Untied Kingdom participated, built with the prototype elements and also looked into ideas and possibilities for new train designs using the Power Functions elements . Based on the outcome of this workshop and all the other fantastic input we got from the AFOL community over the last six months, our designers worked on the first train set using the new Power Functions system. This set will be truly aimed at the AFOL community to acknowledge the importance of the adult LEGO hobbyists in the LEGO train world.
This communication will be the last one regarding the transition from the 9V train system into the new Power Functions train system, Due to all the very valuable AFOL feedback we are far down the road with the development of the new elements and also the new train set. We appreciate all your efforts through this transition which we expect to be fully executed in 2009.
Stay tuned for the new LEGO train system coming in 2009.
Head of LEGO Community Development