This is a downsized B&O No. 5! Yes, it is standard gauge. Joe built this from scratch.
I'm trying to convince Joe to quit his day job and build trains full time.
Here's the thing that got me interested in 2 7/8 and this really captivating new standard gauge item: there are prototypes that reflect these models.
There's a couple of great books from Arcadia Publishing on New Haven, New London and Hartford Streetcars. I strongly recommend going out to Amazon and grabbing a few of these books.
I'd scan in the pics however they are copyrighted material and I know I'd receive a letter from an attorney after I hit the blogger "publish" button. Suffice to say, many of the work trolleys and the very early trolleys that carried freight look exactly like 2 7/8. Matter of fact (and I have said this before), it's kind of shocking how close Lionel came in the early days to a very strong reproduction of the actual real trains in CT.
Lionel wasn't in Connecticut! Actually, they were in Bridgeport for some time and JLC spent a good amount of time in Connecticut. The talent was here to build trains and Bridgeport is a port. I know from reading various opinions from 2 7/8 gauge experts like Louis Hertz that much of the "why" of 2 7/8 may have been lost to antiquity. I do know that I am glad guys like Joe are still bending metal and making some intriguing toys for those of us that never got to see the real thing....