Train Shows Like or Dislike?

1714 views
30 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • 176 posts
Train Shows Like or Dislike?
Posted by alank on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:12 AM

Yesterday was a beautiful winter day where the sun was out and air was cool.   For a couple of weeks I knew there would be a Train Show, but I kept telling myself I wasn't going to go.   See I don't like train shows.   I on the inside say I don't like train shows, but at the same time can't stay away from trains.   I have had toy and model trains all of my life.  I also like the real trains as that is where I say our hobby starts, it is in the blood as my grandfather was a railroader, as was his father and other members of the family.

    Now there seems to be a lot of interest in trains.   The show was well attended.    It isn't the admission price to the event that bothers me, it is the walk in the park.

    In our neck of the woods, there isn't the hobby shop anymore.   For so long in my youth you could have the Lionel Catalog and when it was your birthday or Christmas plan for what you wanted or needed for your trains.   Then came along HO and there were new dynamics in the hobby.

    When I first started attending train shows it was making a trip down to Long Island for a Greenburg show.   For so long where we live the Lionel Trains of Postwar had disappeared.   At those early shows I was now seeing trains that were in that 1956 or 1957 catalog that I could supplement my collection with.

     As time went on train shows now got closer to home.   Catalogs were more prevalent with new trains, and the train show grew to where every table was a hook, just waiting for you to take the bait, and then it was a matter of 20s, 50s and 100s.   Many time I set out with one thing in mind and came home with something else.   Many time I would stop to talk trains with the vendor only to find they didn't want to talk, only if I was buying.

     Yesterday, I couldn't stay away.   As I entered I said to the lady taking my admission I don't like train shows.  At the end of the day I had fun.   I found an item I been looking for.   I had some nice discussions with people who like trains and the hobby, and it gave me a chance to see what others are doing with their trains.

    I probably won't go to any more train shows for a while.   It seems you can find one almost any weekend, but what I have found is you have to learn how to attend them.   Where one time it gave the appearance of the trains own you, now I for the most part am still the one to own the trains.   There isn't anything I need or want or have to have.   The trains are a hobby and I work on them as I want.   The discussions and things I read about trains hopefully help me to grow.   My train watching and chasing ghost hopefully don't waste to much of my time and bring me joy.

     What are your thoughts?  

    

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: MICH
  • 7,501 posts
Posted by sir james I on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:58 AM

I have all I need  but I never get tired of seeing a train show.

"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks

   Charter Member- Tardis Train Crew (TTC)   TCA      Detroit3railers                               Detroit Historical society Glancy Modular trains

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • 460 posts
Posted by arkady on Monday, March 20, 2017 12:18 PM

"I probably won't go to any more train shows for a while.   It seems you can find one almost any weekend..."

I'm truly happy for you, that wherever you live, you have train shows so often.  Where I live, there's one twice a year, and that's it.

In my town, we don't have the luxury of growing blase about train shows.  I look forward to each one, and attend them regularly.  I very much enjoy seeing what the vendors have to offer.  Very often, I find things that I didn't even know I wanted (that's how I got interested in Marx collecting).  It's always a rewarding experience.

Perhaps for some, familiarity really does breed contempt.  As for me, I'm already looking forward to the October show.

 

 

 

  • Member since
    October, 2010
  • 88 posts
Posted by scrambler81 on Monday, March 20, 2017 6:37 PM

I love train shows, and go to just about every one I can find. December through early April there are a whole bunch of them within 90 minutes of home. Even if I don't buy much, I love strolling the aisles, seeing what is out there. I went to a Greenberg show last week, and all I really bought was some tools and a nice print for my wall. An unusual haul for me, but no matter, I still had fun.

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,654 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, March 20, 2017 7:05 PM

I go when I'm able.  That depends mostly on 2 things.  #1 I have cash, which is rare.  #2 It's at a small enough venue that I can walk it for an hour.  So I'm always appreciative of the time I can spend at them even if I only have ten bucks over and above the admission charge to spend.

Beyond the monetary and mobility considerations, I also try to evaluate the possibilities of finding something I may be looking for.  This past year I was very fortunate.  In July I was able to attend the big flea market at Hartville, Ohio and found a fully serviced KW.  In October I bought a 2035 at Ohio Station Outlets in Lodi.  And the crown to it all came by attending two TCA shows which allowed me to put a few great post-war cars behind that loco.  For me it was a rare year indeed especially since the two big ticket items came from unexpected venues.  Did I do better than I might have if I bought those items on Ebay?  Hard to say.  But there's one way that the internet can't compete.  At a retail store, flea market or train show I can take it home today.  So I'll always go, if I'm able.

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • 176 posts
Posted by alank on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:13 AM

We do have good access to train shows.  In our community there are 2 each year, which is one of the ones I went to the other day.  It is a good train show.   A half hour to hour away puts you in contact with other train shows, also good train shows and sometimes the same vendors.   Two hours and I am in Springfield MA, or the other direction Long Island.   I don't know if it is familiaraity or too much of a good thing.   Some shows I enjoy and others I don't.  I have to be careful with what I bring home, and I don't like the grab mentality.   Springfield is a beautiful train show.   When I first went there people who had been there before told me if I saw something I liked I had to buy it right then.  It wouldn't be there when I went back.   I am not a impulse buyer or have to have, but believe me they were right.   I tried it my way.   Another thing is in the early years of going to the shows you could count on parts vendors being there.   That has changed, sometimes they are there and other times they are not.   We have lost a couple of good parts vendors as they are getting older and out of the business.    That was one of the nice things growing Lionel Postwar, we had a Lionel Service Center in our town, and there was another near where my father worked in another community.

After that said, I deleted the rest. I was a little wordy writing this.

 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 4 posts
Posted by CJ Meyers on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:24 AM

TCA York meets I always have fun at, no matter if I have money or not, and look forward to attending the October meet every year. Have no intention of not going even if I've 'maxed out' my train aquisition. Have always been suprised on what I've found there. I always leave with something in my bag.

Greenburg shows are pretty good. I've found one or two "I'll never find THAT" items at Greenburg.

Local small shows are always nice, usually combined with something else to do besides attending the show. I attend an annual small show at Ocean City NJ near Christmas time. Gets you in a proper festive mood. Show is small, sometimes I'll buy something many times not, but I can go up on the boardwalk and eat pizza, curley fries, get fudge etc. Makes for a nice pre-Chrismas family outing.

I attended one WGH show. Will never attend another........

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 6,335 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6:08 PM

I like train shows!  A lot!  If there's one within a two-hour drive I'll always try to attend.  They're fun, and like Becky says you never know what you'll find, in my case usually something I didn't know I needed!

Case in point:  Last Sunday I attended a local show and came away with a vintage Williams Jersey Central Trainmaster for $75.  Darn near as new.  Lubed it up when I got home and it runs and pulls like mad!  It should, it's got motors the size of tomato paste cans!  Doesn't have a horn or bell sounds, no "honk-honk-ding-ding"  but I'll take care of that presently.  Money well spent.  Whoo-hooo!

And of course, the shows aren't just trains.  There's books, videos, railroadiana, precision tools, apparel, and lots of other neat stuff.  If you're really lucky there's vendors with hot pretzels and /or ice cream waffles!

I used to attend a lot of gun shows too, but train shows are more relaxing.  Nobody's worried about raids.

I had to update the post.  I had a rotten day on the job, and when I got home I took two shots of "Makers Mark" 113 proof bourbon which Lady Firestorm got me for Christmas.  I feel so much better now!

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,654 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6:46 PM

Firelock76
train shows are more relaxing. Nobody's worried about raids.

Laugh

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    March, 2009
  • 9,247 posts
Posted by Sir Madog on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 8:41 AM

I have given up going to train shows for a number of reasons.

The nearest one for me to go to is roughly an hour (by car) or 45 minutes (by train) away from my place. I have to cash out $ 30 for the return ticket or the same amount for gas and parking. Entrance is another $12, so that´s a total of $42 for a show displaying the usual fare of boring and look alike German style layouts, one or two outstanding layouts from Belgium or the UK, the typical, crudely scenicked LGB layout and a rather childish, but popular Lego layout. Add to that dealers charging ridiculous prices for trains and accessories I am not interested in and you see why I prefer to invest the same amount into something new for my layout.

That used to be very much different, but since a couple of years, the train show is a part of a general hobby show emphasizing on R/C planes, trucks and boats, which seem to attract more vendors than trains. The vtrain part seems to attract more visitors, but why should those responsible for the show care about visitors? They draw their income from the vendors.

Ulrich     

People of my age don´t tan, they simply rust!


  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • 76 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 11:19 PM

Train shows are great ! I usually don't have money to spend, so I usually only go every 2or 3 years. But I always find great deals, and things I never even knew existed. I work in multiple scales, so the chances of finding a useful item at bargain prices are very good. Wish I could go more often. I never go away empty handed !

Paul

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:53 AM

I love going to train shows.  Now that my middle son is into Lionel trains, we go together to almost every show in the area.

Even when I don't find anything (rare) I just love looking at all the trains in all the scales.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    October, 2010
  • 88 posts
Posted by scrambler81 on Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:58 PM

CJ Meyers

Local small shows are always nice, usually combined with something else to do besides attending the show. I attend an annual small show at Ocean City NJ near Christmas time. Gets you in a proper festive mood. Show is small, sometimes I'll buy something many times not, but I can go up on the boardwalk and eat pizza, curley fries, get fudge etc. Makes for a nice pre-Chrismas family outing.

I attended one WGH show. Will never attend another........

 

 I never miss the Ocean City show. This past Christmas was kind of a bummer, since they had to move it off the boardwalk due to some construction. The Music Pier is a great spot for a show. 

 There was a guy there selling one of the reissued tinplate sets, and I just kept staring at it, walking away and walking back. I wanted it something fierce, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. It was stupid. I was a week away from my annual bonus check, so I knew dang well I could afford it, but since that money wasn't in yet, I just wouldn't spend it. I'll never see a deal like that again, and I've been kicking myself ever since.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 4 posts
Posted by CJ Meyers on Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:58 PM
Agree Music Pier is a great spot for that venue. Always enjoy seeing the South Jersey S Gaugers layout.
  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 6,335 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:26 PM

That local show I mentioned?  We may be seeing a turn-around.  This time I wasn't "The Kid" at 63!  A number of young familys in attendance.

And Scrambler, don't feel bad, we all "zone out" at one time or another.  Back in the 80's I was at the Allentown Gun Show and there was the two-volume set of "My Experiences In The World War"  by General John J. Pershing, and SIGNED by the same, and the seller wanted only $50 for the set.  I've been kicking myself for thirty years for passing that one by!

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,654 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:33 PM

I have an autographed copy of "I Owe Russia $1,200" by Bob Hope.  Smile, Wink & Grin  OK...not the same thing...

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: South Carolina
  • 8,848 posts
Posted by rtraincollector on Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:20 PM

If I remember at end of April I will let you know. I've only been to one and it was a 1/2 A#$ one put together in columbia, S.C. by someone who really didn't know what they where doing. the dealers there where great but most where just some trying to get in front of people instead of getting a product or service out. No real major company repersentive just a couple of parts guys and some folks trying to sell what they had they didn't want. 

  Charter member of Tardis Train Crew (TTC)

http://rtssite.shutterfly.com/

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • 1,522 posts
Posted by cwburfle on Friday, March 24, 2017 4:36 AM

No real major company repersentive just a couple of parts guys and some folks trying to sell what they had they didn't want

 

That's is what train shows were back in my early days of being into trains. No manufacturers reps. No retail establishments.
That is the sort of meet I prefer.
When I attend York, I do not stop at any of the manufacturers displays.

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Crystal Lake, IL
  • 7,849 posts
Posted by cnw1995 on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:38 AM

I love them. I love browsing. You never know what you might find. I like talking to the folks who are open to talking (and not busy selling or buying). My favorite is the monthly meet at the DuPage County fairgrounds and the annual High Railer gathering at Harper College. There is usually more HO than O, more Lego than anything but I don't mind.  I usually end up not buying much for still have fun. Like Penny, i also like flea markets too.

Doug Murphy 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...' Henry V.

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 6,335 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, March 25, 2017 2:14 PM

Flea markets/antique shows can be pretty good as well.  I made some good scores at the DC Big Flea in Chantilly VA over the years, one being a K-Line Hershey Train set, complete, for $85, and a year or two later an MTH 4-4-0 "Texas" for $90, plus a few K-Line Heinz pickle cars. (I LOVE pickles!)

CJ mentioned the "World's Greatest Hobby on Tour" shows.  They've come to my area of Virginia, well close, Hampton Roads, twice.  The first time was about six years ago and the show was outstanding.  They came back last year and quite honestly it wasn't as good, although I did pick up an MTH "General" at a decent price.  If they come back again I MAY try them a third time but if it's no better than the last one that'll be it.  H-R's about a two hour drive from where I live and while I don't mind the drive the other motorists in the H-R area are nuts!  NASCAR wanna-be's I guess. Or something.

Greenberg's comes to Virginia often but how good the show is seems to depend on the time of year.  The December shows are usually very good, other times of the year can be hit-or-miss.  The show this past February was kind of blah, the only things I got were some magazines and a Jersey Central sweatshirt, can't have too many of those!

I was lucky enough to be up in New Jersey twice on weekends when the Greenberg show was running in Edison.  Both times the shows were outstanding, at least in my opinion.

  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • 76 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, March 26, 2017 12:16 PM

They have some good ones here in the L.A. Area. I like the ones they have at the L.A. County fairgrounds. They've got the giant G layout outside, which is always fun. I like all the great layouts inside, too. Always the same pattern for me ; shop, watch trains. Great deals !

Paul

  • Member since
    August, 2004
  • From: St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 2,073 posts
Posted by Boyd on Monday, March 27, 2017 1:06 AM

A train show is the most fun thing I can think of doing standing up. Too bad my health problems limit my budget and thus my show attendance. There are around a dozen train shows in Minneapolis/St.Paul every year so we are not lacking. 

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • 46 posts
Posted by olson185 on Monday, March 27, 2017 9:33 PM

I'm not too surprised to see there doesn't seem to be any train shows on Long Island (or NYC) this year.  There are several club open houses and exhibits but no shows or swap meets.

Years ago I went to a show in Rochester, NY that was really nice.  There were product demo booths, layouts, etc.  I'd love to go to any like that but I think I'd have to drive 2-1/2 to 3 hrs. to Philadelphia, Poughkeepsie, or some place in CT or NJ.  Definitely an overnight trip.

The swap meet in Minneapolis, MN (couple decades ago) was nice; primarily because it was a 5 min. bicycle ride from my apt.  I wouldn't mind going to a swap if it wasn't more than 20 mins. away.

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Lake Worth FL
  • 4,004 posts
Posted by phillyreading on Thursday, March 30, 2017 12:55 PM

I go to train shows mainly in West Palm Beach or Pompano FL area. These shows are not that large in hall size but still decent for the local area.

If I am on vacation up north I like to go to Hamburg PA train show, been there twice. Usually you can find almost anything at the Hamburg PA show, especially parts for some of the older Lionel engines.

I have been threw York PA a couple of times and it is too crowded in my opinion, too many highways up there to make a mistake and end up 4 to 16 miles away from where you want to be. 

Lee Fritz

Interested in southest Pennsylvania railroads; Reading & Northern, Reading Company, Reading Lines, Philadelphia & Reading.
  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 6,335 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 5:33 PM

I sure most everone knows about this, but...

If you go to the masthead on the CTT website and click on "Resources" you can find a listing of train shows in different parts of the country.  Very handy if you're traveling to different areas, and it's quite accurate.

  • Member since
    October, 2010
  • 88 posts
Posted by scrambler81 on Friday, March 31, 2017 1:53 PM

This weekend is the Delaware Train Show in New Castle. Always a nice show, but I am a little concerned to see it is being called a "Train and slot car" show. I like slot cars, but not if it means fewer tables of trains.

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 6,335 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, March 31, 2017 5:16 PM

scrambler81

This weekend is the Delaware Train Show in New Castle. Always a nice show, but I am a little concerned to see it is being called a "Train and slot car" show. I like slot cars, but not if it means fewer tables of trains.

 

Hey, you won't know unless you go....

Too bad it's outside my two-hour driving limit, I'd go myself.

  • Member since
    January, 2008
  • From: Near Altoona Pa.
  • 1,045 posts
Posted by Banks on Sunday, April 02, 2017 2:32 PM

Love train shows.

Been going for over 30 years. There are several within 1 1/2 hours that I attend each year.  Plus I've been to York several times.

Many times I buy nothing but I enjoy seeing all there is to see. And there are the friends I've made that I talk with. Not only about trains but our kids politics or whatever comes up.

Even went to a few shows at the beach if the local show coincides with our annual beach trip

Got to admit that the faces have changed.  The one's that were really old when I started are no longer there and of course the younger ones have aged. A good thing is that there are starting to be some young faces behind the tables as well.

 

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

I may not have every thing I desire but the LORD has come through with what I need

  

  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • 76 posts
Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, April 02, 2017 3:23 PM

Yes, train shows are fun ! I don't go enough to be tired of them, but we see all the different scale layouts, and they are all great ! Artwork, and dedication of the builders. Fun stuff ! Plus, many of the great train stores I used to frequent have closed. Train shows are a great place to shop around ! 

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,654 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, April 02, 2017 6:18 PM

And some, like the local TCA show coming up in May I hope to go to, are strategically placed to give you something to do with that tax refund you just got!  Laugh

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

Search the Community