There's a growing trend in standard gauge. There's something about this gauge that lends itself to creativity.
I collect pretty much anything. Well, anything that is prewar and predominantly standard gauge.
What I am seeing is that there is a growing group of people that want something different. Something besides the 200 and 500 series Lionel freights that have graced our pikes for the last 80 some odd years. Something besides the graceful 400E or the capricious and noisy 10E's and 8E's.
This article (to the left) is from the mid-70's TTOS bulletin.
McCoy, Forney, Rich Art, Randall and so on are names these collectors know. Al Merris and Templin are two more. Even collectors in the 1970's new something was up (hence this two page, well done article).
Standard gauge lends itself to modeling a little better than other gauges. We can take more liberties with scale, color and general accuracy and really nobody cares. It's the sounds, the color and general granduer of the trains that we find so damned appealing. I don't know any collector that will say no to a McCoy circus set or an Al Merris Steeple Cab. Maybe it's the wonderful Voltamp trolleys that John Davanzo just put out. Or the Rich Art Cascade or McKeen trolley. Whatever the reason, these items are becoming desirable.
I believe the reason they are desirable is because they represent a unique vision that can't be duplicated by reproducing old Lionel or Flyer gear.
Maybe this is a reaction to all of the heavily replicated O gauge hitting the marketplace. How many GG1's in O gauge can anyone have? In standard gauge, a Forney GG1 is a WHOLE lot different than a JAD GG1.
Friends and people we meet make toy collecting fun but I have to say these eclectic manufacturers appeal to the creativity in all of us.