First off, "to each his own", but anytime I see a thread come up with the focus on "fantasy" stuff, I have to wonder about the motivation behind it all.
Thomas was/is a kid's show; after it goes away, will there still be any sort of demand for trains based on it? Maybe, but not from kids: it'll be from adults who either remember the show, or think their kids/grandkids will like it, or from those who will buy any Lionel release.
Similar(?) with the "Polar Express". When the book first came out, we bought it for our then young son, and reading it each year was akin to reading the "Visit From St. Nick." He never expressed an interest in a model version, and didn't particularly like the movie. If (or when) the book and movie luster wears thin, who then will be snatching up any future releases? The same type of folks who buy the Thomas stuff, I'd wager.
We also see a thread discussing the application of a 15th anniversary logo on what are after all, "fantasy" PE cars. Sure, this logo could have been placed elsewhere, but does it matter on an item which has no basis in reality?
As someone posted earlier, a 2x4 with trucks in the "appropriate" paint scheme would no doubt sell; as long as it has that "Lionel" brand.
I imagine it can be frustrating for those who focus on prototype models to see (dwindling) resources being used for these "pretend" roads...collecting for its own sake is great, but should not come at the expense of others who want models of "real" trains, right?
Okay, you can kick me off the site now!
Mark in Oregon