That's a fair enough question. I'll share a bit of the "why" VSC is recreating a route depicting yet another era yet modeled, this time the early 50s.
First off, let me say right up front that modern railroading has much to commend it. I can most certainly understand why it has a following. Though I prefer railroading I have seen in the past (or never had the chance to see), after seeing abandoned rights of way scattered all about where I live, then I will say it again that as far as this boy is concerned: ANY railroading is better than NO railroading at all.
But why doesn't VSC do a modern route?
Yup, fair question, but a hefty one.
I think it has to do with a word I've termed in the dateless past. The word is: "Railroady".
Though the locomotives of today are more fuel efficient, more powerful... more everything... than first generation diesels, or of course, our beloved steam engines... that's the just it: Today's railroading has gotten coldly efficient and just lacks the aura of railroading past.
The trends of America have shifted. Transportation has changed. Our US industrial base has changed... even our US culture has radically changed. It was inevitable that railroading change.
And change they did.
No doubt their changes are what is best for their bottom line in todays transportation market. Along the way, however, the heart and soul of railroading has been surgically removed with indifferent effeciency.
Not so as you go back in time. As you time travel back, with each decade that is retrieved, more and more gets added to the transportation scene, the American scene, the "railroad" scene. And what a scene that railroad scene was. It was a scene filled with cinder ballast, 90lb rail, clickety-clack trains rattling by on jointed rail, semaphores, train order stations, small towns with railroad service, large train yards with mulitple railroads utilizing it, to mention a few elements.
Train movements were seemingly everywhere: Mainline traffic, passenger traffic, local freights, "Red Ball" freights, transfer runs, drag freights... the list goes on!
It was railroading moving along lines that had things called "Depots" beside the rails. Depots that were still in the railroad business. It was railroading on turntables, in roundhouses, and divisional engine shops that bustled with activity. It was a scene that, once happened upon, immediately shouted "RAILROAD!".
I say it was a scene having that "railroady" look.
Let me offer one picture that perhaps illustrates what I'm saying. The picture is of a prototype scene that will be represented on VSC's upcoming Lehigh & New England route.
You're looking at "Hainesburg Junction".
Haineburg Junction was merely a "place". Not a thriving metropolis, not a manufacturing center.
No, it was a railroad place. Its only reason for existance was to transfer goods. Goods aboard 40' boxcars and 36' hoppers, and other such railroad cars.
It was here, at Hainesburg Jct, that the Lehigh & New England entered New York Susquehanna & Western trackage. It was here, at Hainesburg Jct, that the Lehigh & New England and the New York Susquehanna & Western exchanged freight in an almost forgotten railroad operation called "interchange". You see, it takes OTHER railroads to have interchange... when there is only one railroad in the region as in today's "modern" scene, "interchange" becomes a moot point. Another signant of "railroady". But I digress.
In the picture below, you have several things happening in what could otherwise be termed No Place, USA.
To wit: On the old mainline, the NYSW employee-turned-photographer is standing atop his train that will soon be leaving, having picked up a sizable cut of interchange from the LNE.
Entering the small, but busy, LNE interchange yard is yet ANOTHER NYSW train with tonnage for the LNE. If you'll look close, you'll see the cars of what would be an LNE train that is ALSO switching the area.
And as frosting on the cake, overhead on the stately Paulins Kill viaduct we see the Lackawanna's crack passenger train "Phoebe Snow" making time toward New York City on their double track mainline.
This, friend, is "railroady". The train order station, the small bustling yard, the plentitude of train traffic, cuts of cars here, semaphore there, first generation Alco's, cinder ballast... it's got it.
But that's the way it was in late in 1950, the date of this picture.
Now, care to compare this same scene to what appears here "today"?
The only enduring emblem as a memorial to this scene is the Paulins Kill viaduct. Yet, even that, is now silent... for no trains of any type travel across it any more.
Why doesn't VSC model a modern route?
I think you now have just a bit more insight as to "why" VSC doesn't.
Let's go railroading...