cash, credit, or both

I have plans to attend my 1st York this spring and was wondering whether I should carry cash, credit, or both? Wasn't sure if many vendors there had credit machines or not as I don't typically like carrying larger amounts of cash. Any insight would be appreciated.


Original Post

If you are planning to visit the member halls, bring cash. Few, if any table holders in the member halls take credit cards. Some take checks, others don't.
In the dealer halls the larger dealers take credit. I am not certain about the smaller ones.
I almost always pay cash, even in the dealer halls.

C.W. Burfle

Bring cash. (credit OK for many dealers, but they may alter the price if paying by CC so they don't take a hit on the fee they need to pay if you use CC)

Don't depend solely on the ATMs on site (historically they run out), though I did note there were more of them last meet, so maybe that is better now.  Can't say for sure since I've never tried to use one.


Bring more cash than you think you need. Sometimes you need it, sometimes you don't. 
I always presume that there's one or more people with more cash than I have in my pocket, so I dont worry too much about it. I typically start off with $100 bills because they make the wallet thinner, and leave whatever spare small bills that were already in there in case I need to pay to pee. 



"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

You may want to find the location of your bank in York before you go. This way, if you need a lot of cash for a unexpected purchase, you won't have to depend on the 2 on-site money machines not running out. I usually take $300., and spend about $150.. Your mileage may vary.

Joe Hohmann posted:

You may want to find the location of your bank in York before you go. This way, if you need a lot of cash for a unexpected purchase, you won't have to depend on the 2 on-site money machines not running out. I usually take $300., and spend about $150.. Your mileage may vary.

That's a good point.  One of the few benefits of having your accounts at one of the largest banks is that they likely have locations nearby.  There's a somewhat close Wells Fargo near the Weiss food market at the intersection of 30 and Roosevelt.

I noted other ATMs in I think the Silver/Blue lobby and also maybe in Purple in October.



Regarding cash: I have always brought as much money as I have budgeted to spend, mostly in larger bills.
For many years, I had no problem spending it all.
For the past few, I came home with most of it.

I have never run a balance on a credit card to buy a train.

C.W. Burfle

Most dealers (not all) will "cover" the sales tax if you pay with cash.  Take plenty of cash.  Before deciding on method of payment, negotiate a fair price and then ask if they can do better for cash.  If it's going to be the same price regardless of payment method, whip out the credit card and get the points.  

Regarding ATMs... I haven't used the ones at the meet, but I expect that there's a "convenience" charge.  Also, although I don't consider York to be particularly dangerous, I don't think I'd feel comfortable using an ATM outside of the fairgrounds.

It depends on what you are looking for. Older stuff is in the member halls. Bring cash. new/newer stuff is in the dealer halls. Credit cards are OK. CC usually cost more due to CC fees and Sales Tax.

Since it is your first time at York, Bring about twice as much as you think you need.


I bring credit cards and checks for train items and cash for food vendors.

I don't like carrying cash around with me, if a vendor will not take my card or my check, there are plenty of others that will.  There are more train items at York than I can bring home with me.  If someone won't sell to me it's off to the next vendor.  Even if I miss out on something I'd really like, it comes up again eventually.  But in 30 years of attending York Meets, I only missed out on an item once because I didn't carry cash.  But guess what?  I did get that item at a later date from another source.

But beware!  You can miss out on an item if you think about it too long.  If you see something you want, grab it, it most likely won't be there later.  Although most of my purchases happen on Saturday!


President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"


Northern Central High Railers

Tri-State HiRailers


Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

I'm putting cash back and should have a good chunk as per my budget I put together for York.  Was thinking of bringing 1 credit card for unexpected something if needed, and have planned to get new shoes several weeks prior to have them broken in where I like them. I need comfy shoes daily with all the walking I do for work. Thanks for the advice I'm sure as we get much closer I will have more questions.



I am suggesting NOT to wear new shoes. Getting to York, PA at 9:00 am on Friday back in April 2016 and going warp speed I was only able to cover three halls. I got a lot of great deals and ran out of cash more than once. You going to spend more than you budgeted for trust me.



A proud member of the Brotherhood of Carpet Layouts.  Semi permanent layout scheduled for late Spring 2017.

I always feel a little but miffed/used/taken advantage of, when, after the deal is done, someone writes a check instead of asking first. Maybe that's not right, but I expect cash when selling at a show.

You can always tell them that you don't take checks, and cancel the deal.

C.W. Burfle

Roy, I agree.

During negotiations, I always add the word "cash" to the end of the sentence when stating my bottom line on bigger ticket items.

My justification is that I usually recycle my sales income back into train purchases before the end of the meet - so a check doesn't really help me.

As others have stated, it's a different world in the member halls where you are dealing with private individuals, not businesses. IMO that is where the best deals are.

Those who limit themselves to just the dealer halls (orange and purple) may have the advantage of using their credit cards there, but they miss out on some really neat stuff. It's not all old stuff either. You see lots of like-new modern products in the member halls also.


Very simple answer.  Sit down at your kitchen table and calculate the most insane dollar figure you are willing to spend on trains at York.  Multiply that number by 2.  Take that much money in cash.  You do not want to have to stop and go get cash from an ATM or from a bank you have to locate and drive to.  Also take all the credit cards you have, just in case you run out of cash.

Leave some of the money hidden in your car.  Take a mixture of small bills 20s, 10s, 5s and 1s in a wad in your front right pocket.  Put the remainder of the cash in 50s and 100s in the left front pocket.  Pay with correct change when you are in a hurry to see the next table.  Pay with a large bill when necessary to get change for the right front pocket.   Park in a central location to most of the halls.  I like to be between the black hall and the blue hall.  As you go from hall to hall stop by the car to reload with more money.  You can also use these fleeting moments to reflect on just how crazy you are spending this much money on trains.  Or how smart and disciplined you are for controlling your spending urges.  If you run out of money, then use your credit cards to get more cash.  You can also use this time to think about how much money you have spent that you had no intention of spending.

At the end of the York show, if you took too much money then you are still just fine.  No harm done, good learning experience.  If you don't take my advice and end up wasting time trying to get money or find a bank or whatever, then you can use that as a learning experience as well.   If you find that you spent all of the cash you took, then, well, you may need some therapy and we are all here to help you.

All have pretty much said it. Bring Cash. Lots of it. Do NOT rely on the ATMs on the Fairgrounds. In my experience (about 10 years of Yorking) the ATMS are usually drained on Thursday PM and never re-stocked. You can re-deposit when you get home. 

I usually go Friday. Get there when the doors open. I make it through every hall, every aisle twice. I really don't need anything else nor is there much out there I really want. I know what I'm looking for and watch like a hawk. No screwing around - I want to make the most out of it! 

Saturday is sales day especially in the member halls. Cash talks and many have signs willing to deal, signs with 50% off everything, etc. 

I vividly recall a member in the red hall begging me to buy his MTH veranda proto 1 that he had on his table for $400 on Thursday and down in $50 increments the next 2 days. He begged me to take it for $275. We settled at $260. He just did not want to take it back to New Orleans.

He and I were both happy.

Ted Bertiger Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders Lakewood, N.J.

Dear Ted

Congrats on your fine purchase. However, I would not gamble like that when you have so many customer wanting to purchase at reasonable price.  I have read too many threads where they walked away from an item and returned and it was gone. When I saw a KW for $40 at the members hall and walked passed it. I did go back a few mins later and it was still there. I moved the handles and felt that the carbon roll was not rolling but scraping against the winding of the transformer. I purchase it on the spot and  I purchased all the parts I need to rebuild it the Orange hall.



A proud member of the Brotherhood of Carpet Layouts.  Semi permanent layout scheduled for late Spring 2017.

Extra good deals on Saturday? I'd say all bets are off with the anticipated storm of people coming from the general public.
If opening the show to the public is successful, the character of the show will not be the same, at least as far as the dealer halls are concerned.

C.W. Burfle


I was not looking in particular for a veranda having the Lionel die cast version already. It just so happened to still be there on Saturday calling my name. Usually if there is something I want and see it there, I do not hesitate as I know the outcome of snoozing at York too many times.


Ted Bertiger Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders Lakewood, N.J.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc.
33 Sheridan Road, Poland, OH 44514