Thank you for the detailed update and indeed, your note confirmed what I suspected was going on. From the get go, the ME Rails looked like an ambitious project and the first round showed keen attention to detail. I certainly appreciate what you are doing for the AFOL community, that doing this is a labor of love (as Steve B once put it, custom train kits was the best $2/hr he ever made) and I recognize that nothing like this is simple. So I understand the delays. I still think you should have led with the curves since wider radi is what is going to get the AFOLs attention, even if that had meant postponing the initial release.
I see that the only rails you currently have available specify, "Please note, these are NOT designed for use with 9V systems". Will that be addressed with the new manufacturer? The half track packs I purchased included a recommendation to use metallic tape to improve conductivity at the rail joints. Since I inserted them between 9v track, I didn't have any conductivity problems (the 9v track has springy tabs to make a connection).
One problem I have with 9v track is that on large loops there is significant power drops when pulling heavy trains (at each rail joint the drop is p=R*i^2). It would be great if an AFOL targeted track system could reduce the average resistance per unit distance in the track (perhaps via multiple power drops, which is also feasible with 9v).
I echo this sentiment 100%. There was a lot of flurry in the lead up to the release of the ME Rails, then two years of silence. Even if things are going slower than expected, it would be nice to have quarterly updates and a clear link to them from the ME Rails page to let the AFOL community know that you are still working on it.
I hope there is enough demand to keep both ME and BBB selling track (and that only a friendly competition develops). Certainly providing the geometries that the AFOLs crave will help business. Both ME and BBB might want to do a kickstarter like pledge system that includes estimated retail prices (or look at what is on cuusoo). That way you do not invest heavily in a piece that winds up being too expensive for the consumers.
Oh, and looking far ahead, when it comes time to developing switches, please keep both manual and remote controlled operation in mind (you don't have to build the remotes, just make sure the switches are friendly to PF additions). I would encourage you to solicit input from the community here and elsewhere, there are a lot of us who have banged away at the problem with conventional lego switches.