Rustie86, on 26 February 2012 - 08:12 PM, said:
I have been thinking that the best way to expand the train line is to issue smaller sets that feature an industry or small freight operation. Each set would have four straight rails, one freight car, a minifigure or two, and a loading structure and/or vehicle.
This was the norm with 90's 9V sets, and if you do a bit of searching, you'll find some absolutely excellent products - from carriage 'washes', to maintenance vehicles, snowblowers and more. However, during that period the 'Train' line was considered a separate theme from 'Town', so it obviously garnered it's own line of products, whereas today, the Train products have been merged into the City theme, hence the slimming down.
It's also worth noting that Lego products today have a larger emphasis on narrative and combination. In contrast, the 'Train' products from 15 years ago were very much counterparts of real life and encouraged you to use your imagination more.
This is why I can't see the Train related sets being expanded beyond their current paradigm, because they have to balance out with the quantity of other City sets. Products such as 'Emerald Night' and the 'Maersk' train are just Creator Exclusives , which is what TLG labels products that don't fall into any particular theme.
I've found the best way to build a train system these days is to simply buy the separate models from sets on eBay at a fraction of the price, and do without all the other models that you don't want. For example, I loved the little red cargo truck from 7939, so I bought several of them fairly cheaply as many people sell them in their original numbered bags with stickers and instructions. I saved myself masses of money in the process, too!
Edited by tom-cat, 26 February 2012 - 09:15 PM.