Here is some data suggesting why some changes to York were thought necessary:
York Statistics - Apr 2008: 14,567 total registrations
York Statistics - Apr 2015: 10,987 total registrations
That's a 25% drop in registrations. You can believe TCA has been looking for ways to reverse that trend ...
No fighting he numbers, but the EDTCA (as well as the TCA in general) may need to adapt to a smaller audience/membership the way retail giants are learning to deal with the fact that brick-and-mortar stores aren't always cutting it nowadays.
When Circuit City called it quits a few years ago, another company HH Gregg tried a go of it with a subset of Circuit City locations. But I recently noticed HH Gregg has decided to close all of its stores in PA, with one nearby location already liquidating everything in the store. A few days ago, I saw the list of 138 JC Penny stores closing this year, and two of them locally in southeastern PA are at very high-profile locations: Willow Grove Park Mall and King of Prussia Mall. Admittedly, malls have been known for being expensive real estate, but they also bring lots of foot traffic. So to close two such high-profile stores in the Philly area is really saying something.
Online/Internet shopping has been very disruptive to the traditional retail business model, and we're seeing the same thing in our little corner of the world. True, the TCA is also losing a piece of its membership due to aging demographics. But folks simply don't "need" York in the same way they did years/decades ago. I still love to visit York, but there's no denying that I could just as easily make a ton of train purchases throughout the year online at dealer websites, or here on the forum buy/sell board, or eBay (among other auction sites as well). Our own forum sponsors run special discount sales multiple times throughout the year, so it appears that there's ALWAYS a sale going on at one time or another. And there are only so many trains that one can buy.
I give the EDTCA lots of kudos for trying to adapt in these challenging times. But if their latest efforts don't achieve the desired results, we might be looking at York eventually becoming a once-a-year event.